Plan for post-funeral memorial services

Most often after a funeral service, the surviving family will conduct one or more additional memorial services.

This gives them the opportunity to conduct additional religious or cultural traditions, as well as spend time with friends and family.

Typically, these types of events:

  • Occur after the body has been buried or cremated
  • Memorializes the deceased without the body present
  • Can be guided by religious customs, but is often more secular
  • Can take place anywhere, or anywhere of personal significance, such as a person's home, restaurant, event venue, or bar

While there are only a few types of funeral service due to its connection to final disposition, there are many different ways to conduct memorial services.

Ultimately, the surviving family is free to remember the deceased however they see fit.

See below for additional ideas.

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There are numerous types of memorial ceremonies that can be held to pay tribute to the deceased after the funeral. Except in the case of cremation, the deceased's remains are not present for a memorial ceremony.


  • A period for family and friends to give their condolences to the bereaved
  • Common for food and drinks to be brought and served
  • May be a single day or a period of time (up to a week)

Celebration of Life

  • Occurs anytime after a funeral
  • An optimistic gathering to remember the life of the deceased
  • Lots of variability and options in how this is organized

Scattering Ceremony

  • Occurs anytime after a cremation
  • A ceremony where a surviving family scatters the ashes of the deceased, rather than bury them or keep them in an urn
  • Typically takes place at a location special to the deceased or surviving family

Faith-based Commemorations

  • The faith and traditions of the deceased and their family might require memorial ceremonies at specific days following the death
  • Periods of mourning
  • Specific prayer rituals to be performed

Though it may seem like an inconsequential act, there are actually many rules for how to spread a deceased person's ashes.

Although you have the right to do what you want with ashes on your own private property, this is not true of other locations.

Additionally, it's important to note that:

  • You must get permission from all private property location owners before spreading ashes
  • It is legal to spread ashes at sea, so long as this is done three or more nautical miles from shore, but all materials, including urns, must be biodegradable
  • Spreading ashes at rivers, lakes, and ponds requires permission from the relevant governing agency
  • You might need to get a permit in some states or federally managed areas, such as a national or state park

To ensure you're not in violation of the law, review local scattering laws near you

Major religions and their memorial services, traditions and customs


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