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Planning a Private Funeral and What to Expect

The private funeral is an invitation-only service that is not open to the public. Generally, family of the deceased, close loved ones and close friends of the deceased individual are invited to attend.

Private Funeral

This type of memorial service is a more intimate way to honor the life of your loved one. In addition, it’s important to some people to spend time with those who were most important to the deceased.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Private Funeral Service

Some of the advantages and disadvantages of the service are listed below:

Advantages

• Planning is easier as compared to larger funeral services

• Overall, it can be less expensive

• Usually, have fewer people

• More privacy, especially if this is the family custom

Disadvantages

• It lessens chances for outreach and support by the community

• Fewer people and a smaller crowd can be a con for some people

Planning a Private Funeral

There are a few steps to follow when planning a private funeral.

• Make your guest list with your family or loved ones

• The death announcement or obituary should mention that it is a private funeral

• Know your budget

• Choose your venue

• Send invitations

• Considerations regarding whether to serve a meal or small bites

Private Funeral Service Announcement

The obituary should mention that this will be a private funeral. In addition, send informal or formal invitations to those invited to the private service.

Appropriate wording examples for a private funeral service:

  1. With great love the ________________________ family asky you to join our private celebration of life of _____________________. A graveside service will be held at __________________________. We will have a small reception at our home __________________________________.
  2. The _____________________family invites you to join us in honoring the life of our beloved ____________________________. A private service and reception at our residence will be held ____________________________. If you cannot attend, please let us know. 

Private Funeral Ideas

There is flexibility in your choice of location

Location flexibility considerations:

  • You can hold a private funeral in your family home. An advantage is that you can save a lot of money by avoiding payment for a venue. Ordering favorite meals is an option, or as a potluck, or even serving appetizers or small bites.
  • A graveside service can eliminate the need for a post-funeral service reception. Instead, you can go to someone’s home or a restaurant to spend more time together. 
  • You can hold the service in a favorite public place, such as a park, a lake, or a beach. This option can be especially meaningful to invited loved ones who spent much time with the deceased at this location. 
  • You can choose to have the service at an event space or restaurant. Both places will need to be contacted beforehand to make reservations. 

Private Funeral Etiquette

Knowing what to expect is helpful.

Who Attends a Private Funeral?

A private funeral is by invitation only and usually includes close family members. Others wish to include close friends as well. 

What to Expect when Attending a Private Funeral

If you attend a private funeral:

  • Private funeral services and post-funeral gatherings tend to be shorter as compared to large funerals
  • You can expect to see family only, or a few close friends in attendance
  • Sometimes, the family may ask you to share any special memories
  • A more casual service and dress can be more casual
  • Do not ask why the family chose a private funeral

What Does It Mean to Have a Private Funeral?

Honoring the life of a deceased loved one in a more intimate private funeral can be a family custom or a personal preference. Deciding if a private funeral works best for you and your family’s needs is an entirely personal choice.

One of the most important things to plan for your funeral is the cost. Once you’ve decided what type of service you’re looking to have and whether you’d like to be buried or cremated, planning how you’ll finance it is important. Letting your loved ones know what to expect in advance takes a huge burden off of them during an already difficult time.

If you’re still thinking about how to arrange your private funeral service, Jeff Monreal Funeral Home can answer your questions and help you make a decision that’s right for you and your family. 

Learn why you should choose us to be your Funeral home.