A traditional, full-service funeral includes a viewing and/or visitation and formal funeral services, followed by a committal service.
The viewing, also known as the wake, is a period of visitation in which friends and relatives gather with family and friends to extend their sympathy and comfort. Typically, the viewing is held the evening before the funeral service, although many families prefer to hold the visitation the same day as the funeral service.
The funeral service itself is usually held in a chapel at the funeral home or a church chosen by the family. The service consists of scripture readings, prayers, a eulogy, possibly a sermon, music, poems or any scripts that hold meaning for the family.
Following the service, the family and friends usually proceed to the cemetery for a committal service. The committal service is a more simple ceremony at the gravesite. It may be public or private, depending on the wishes of the family. At the committal service, final good byes are said and flowers are placed on the casket.
Following the committal service or the funeral service, the family may choose to have a reception for additional fellowship amongst family and friends. This is usually held at the funeral home, church hall or family members' home.