A funeral service is sometimes called a “traditional” service. It simply refers to a service with a body present. It doese not matter if there will be an earth burial or cremation after the funeral. Funerals are most often held in a church or other public place and meet the religious needs of most.
A visitation is a time of gathering together to publicly express your grief. Most often, this is done at the funeral home and it gives family and friends an opportunity to share with each other and start the process towards healing. A visitation can be with or without the body present. A visitation is sometimes referred to as a “wake”, “gathering”, or “calling hours”.
Any service without a body present is referred to as a memorial service. A memorial service is most common after an immediate burial or direct cremation. Like a funeral, a memorial service can be held in a church or funeral home, however they can also be in a park or other non-traditional setting. They are not always religious services.