Using a graveside service outline can help with planning. A graveside service, sometimes called a "direct burial" in the funeral industry, provides one ceremony at the cemetery or burial site. It is officiated by a funeral celebrant, with the burial of the deceased immediately afterwards. Generally there is no visitation period and no embalming provided, making for less expenses than a traditional funeral. Using a program for the service creates a memory for the future.
Graveside Service Outline
The order of service at the graveside is brief. Several options can be included for services needing a military or civic organization recognition. The following items should be included in the service.
Opening Reading or Scripture
An opening reading of either a favorite poem or quotation is used to begin a non-religious service. In a religious service, the opening reading is a Scripture. A favorite Scripture of the deceased can be used here, or select one of the following popular passages for use.
- Psalm 23
- Psalm 62:1-2
- Psalm 46:1-3
- Revelation 21:2-4
Invocation or Moment of Silence
The reading is usually followed by a prayer in a religious service, asking for God's blessing on the service and time together, and for His comfort for the family. Some non-religious services would insert a moment of silence here to transition into the reading of the obituary.
Reading of Obituary
The obituary is given at this point in the service, acknowledging respects for the deceased and condolences for the family. In some graveside services, the obituary is printed in the program rather than read aloud. If no reading of the obituary is given, it may be replaced by an additional Scripture or quotation.
The eulogy is given at this point of the service either by the funeral celebrant or by a member of the family or a member of the clergy. The eulogy for the graveside service is brief and respectful.
A final prayer or moment of silence concludes the ceremony. A formal dismissal is usually given, allowing time for the immediate family to have their final quiet moments before the burial.
Characteristics of a Graveside Service
A graveside service features many characteristics of a traditional funeral service, but minimal and cut back. Some things to remember include:
- A visitation time or viewing is either very brief or not a part of the service.
- The funeral celebrant can be a member of the clergy, the funeral director, or a family member or friend. The service is brief and requires less time.
- Pallbearers are usually not needed. The casket is in place by the time people arrive.
- One eulogy is delivered, rather than several.
- There are fewer readings, Scriptures, and prayers than at a funeral service.
- Usually there are no flower arrangements, or at most one or two at the head and foot of the casket.
- Musicians are usually not needed, with the exception of taps played at a military service.
- Photo or video tributes are not needed, as the location does not have the facilities for them.
Graveside Service Program Template Examples
Using a program for the service creates a tangible item that can be used and cherished in the future. To prepare for using a graveside service program template, secure a single photo of the deceased. Have the dates of birth and death prepared for the front page. The obituary is usually included on the left inside page with the outline of the service on the right inside page. The funeral director can provide you with a copy of the obituary. The back page is reserved for a statement of thanks and a note concerning donations, if applicable. To download the templates, click on the image.
A Respectful Time of Remembrance
The graveside service can be a meaningful ceremony to remember the deceased loved one in a respectful manner. Using a graveside service outline and program templates to help guide those attending and preserves the features of the ceremony.