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What is a funeral committal? October 19, 2022

A funeral committal is essentially a short ceremony that either takes place immediately following the main funeral service, or it could be a ceremony that takes place slightly later in a separate location. The committal is a time to say your final goodbye to your loved one before they are buried or cremated. Someone will normally lead the ceremony, dependent on your personal choices, and can include poems, prayers, readings or simply just thoughtful reflection.

Burial committals

At a burial committal the ceremony is usually held at the gravesite and signifies the moment in which the deceased is to be buried, as they are lowered into their final resting place. In addition to chosen parts of the service, some people choose to scatter soil on top of the grave or to throw in flowers or personal effects.

If the funeral service has been held at a church with a graveyard next to it, then the committal is held at the gravesite and will be a continuation of the overall funeral service. Where the funeral takes place at a venue without a graveyard, the committal may be held at a crematorium or separate graveyard on the day of the funeral.

Cremation committals

For cremations, the committal is usually held at the crematorium, however it could take place graveside if the person has chosen to have their ashes buried. At a cremation committal, the coffin normally disappears behind a curtain or is lowered into the crematorium. Cremation committal can include exactly the same components as a burial committal.

Music can be played and there is the same opportunity to lay flowers or personal effects on the coffin. Again, the committal could form part of the overall funeral service if the funeral is being held at a crematorium, otherwise it will be moved to the crematorium after a service somewhere else.

Who should attend the committal

There are no strict guidelines on who can attend the committal but it is normally reserved to the close family and friends. There is no compulsion for the attendees of the funeral to attend the committal, especially if it is in a different location.

Many people choose to limit the attendees to a committal because of limited space, particularly around a grave side.

How to personalise the funeral committal

If the committal is a separate service, you may want to personalise it to your wishes and create a real, personal farewell. There is often at the committal as a person is lowered in to their final resting place, however the event can also be personalised with additions such as readings or music.

Another way to personalise the committal is to ceremoniously place a memento or favourite flower on the coffin at the end of the service before the coffin is buried or removed from view.

If you would like to speak to our team regarding funeral arrangements for yourself or your loved one in the Ripley or Crich areas of Derbyshire, please do not hesitate to contact us. Call us on 01773 749028 or contact us here.

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