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What is the committal at a funeral?

The funeral committal is a short ceremony that takes place at the end of the funeral service or forms a separate ceremony. The committal is the moment in which you say your final goodbye to your loved one before they are buried or cremated. An officiant will lead the ceremony, and many committal services include poems, prayers, readings or music to create a more personal moment.

Burial committals

For burials, the committal is held at the gravesite and signifies the moment in which it is time to say goodbye to your loved one, as they are lowered into their final resting place. As well as poems, readings, prayers or music forming part of the service, guests may like to scatter soil or throw flowers on to the coffin as it is being lowered into its grave.

If the whole funeral service is held at the gravesite, the committal will form part of the overall funeral service. Where the funeral takes place inside a church, or other religious or secular settings, the committal would be held as a separate service on the day of the funeral.

Cremation committals

For cremations, the committal will usually be held at the crematorium, however it could take place graveside where a person’s ashes are being buried. Where it takes place at a crematorium, the committal signals the final goodbye before the coffin is removed from view. Cremation committal words could include poems, readings or prayers, and the officiant will recite official committal words.

Music can be played and you will also have an opportunity to place a hand or flowers on the coffin as you say a final goodbye. The committal could form part of the overall funeral service if the funeral is being held at a crematorium, otherwise it will be a short separate ceremony at the crematorium after the initial service.

Who should attend the committal

There are no rules about who can attend the committal and this will depend on both the format of the funeral along with the locations you have chosen. Where the committal is part of the overall funeral service, everyone attending the funeral will be part of the committal. If the committal is taking place at a separate location to the funeral service, you may like to extend the invite to all attendees or limit it to immediate family or friends.

Current Covid-19 restrictions mean there are limits to the number of people who can attend a funeral – this will most likely influence your decision with regards to who will attend both the funeral service and committal. We have a guide on how to organise a funeral during Covid for further information.


How to personalise the funeral committal

Where the committal will take place as a separate service, you may like to think of some ways you can personalise the ceremony and create a memorable farewell for your loved one. The person officiating the committal will usually have a set dialogue they will recite as they commit a person to their final resting place, however the committal is also a nice opportunity for poems, readings or prayers to be read.

You might like to consider some pieces of music to play at the end of the committal – both when the coffin is lowered into the grave or removed from view, and when guests leave. Another way to personalise the committal is by choosing a specific type of flower, wreath or petals to place 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, please reach out to our team who will be more than happy to assist you. Either call us direct on 01525 372210 or else use our contact form.