Writing an obituary is an act of love and one final way you can publicly honor the life, legacy, and memory of your loved one. Obituaries can vary from short few-line statements posted to social media to unique and creative paragraphs published on a memorial website or in a newspaper.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Should You Include or Not Include in an Obituary for a Graveside Service?
- How to Write an Obituary for a Graveside Service
- Example Obituaries for a Graveside Service
- Where to Post or Submit an Obituary with a Graveside Service
One of the elements nearly all obituaries contain is information on service. Whether you’re planning on a public or private service, information is usually provided to let people know if they can attend and where services are located. If you’re holding a graveside service for your loved one, read on to learn what you should include in their obituary.
What Should You Include or Not Include in an Obituary for a Graveside Service?
When you’re learning how to write an obituary, you’ll discover that obituaries contain a wealth of information about the person who passed away. They also include information about services. What you include or do not include generally is up to personal preference. However, there are several things that should be included and one or two items that should be left out.
What to include
What should you include in an obituary when you’re going to hold a graveside service? First, you should include all the general information that goes in any obituary. This includes items like:
- Their name
- Date of death
- Who survived them
- Who predeceased them
- Biographical information
- Service information
The last item on that list is an important one. Including facts about services is an important piece of information that friends and family need in order to attend if they are public. So what kind of service information should you include?
- Specify the type of service (in this case, a graveside service)
- Who is invited
- Special instructions (bring an umbrella, services held under a heated popup tent, etc.)
- Special restrictions (there will be stairs, the location is on a hill, the site is wheelchair accessible, etc.)
The information you provide here will give attendees everything they need to know about coming to celebrate the life of your loved one.
What not to include
Graveside services are sometimes held for invitees and family, or family only. If this is the case, you should leave out several pieces of information related to the service in the obituary.
After mentioning that a family-only graveside service will be held, you should omit any specific information regarding the exact location or time of the service. This information should be provided privately to invited family members and friends.
How to Write an Obituary for a Graveside Service
If you’ve never written an obituary, the task might feel overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to be. Follow these few steps and you’ll have a finished obituary that would make your loved one proud.
Collect personal information
Before you start writing, gather their personal information together in one place. This includes items mentioned above such as their name, death date, names of surviving and predeceased family members, and biographical information. You should also have service information handy.
Write the opening lines
The first line or two includes the person’s name, age, cause of death (optional), and date of death. Next, you should include information about surviving relatives and those who predeceased your loved one.
Add biographical information
This section is where you can let them shine. Share important moments and details about their life including education, relationships, hobbies, and major accomplishments. Include things you think they’d want everyone to know.
Include service information
Finally, add information related to the graveside service. If it’s a family-only gathering, be sure to specify that. If the public is invited, make a note of that and include the time and location.
Conclude with special instructions
Add any special instructions related to unique graveside service ideas you’ve planned or “in lieu of flowers” instructions.
Example Obituaries for a Graveside Service
You’ll need different wording depending on the type of graveside service held. Here are four examples.
Example obituary for a loved one with a public graveside service
Alice Ann Lowe, mother, sister, and friend to all, passed away Thursday, January 4, 2021, at home surrounded by her family. She leaves behind three devoted children, Ellen, Angie, and Joyce Lowe, in addition to a much-loved sister, Sandra Miller. Alice’s parents, Robert and Betty Lowe, predeceased her by five and seven years, respectively.
Alice lived her whole life in Bozeman, Montana, and loved the community. She graduated from Bozeman High and returned after a brief period away at the University of Montana. Upon returning, she enjoyed an active life, raising her children, helping run the community center, and planning numerous events for the city.
A public graveside service is being held at Lawnview Memorial at 1:00 pm. Attendees are asked to gather at the front office by 12:45 pm where the family will begin the procession to the gravesite. The walkway is paved and wheelchair accessible. The gravesite is located just beside the walkway and is fully accessible.
Example obituary for a loved one with a family-only graveside service
Carolyn Hall passed out of this life and into glory Wednesday, July 16, 2021, after a prolonged battle with ovarian cancer. She is survived by her brother, Garret Chapman, and her best friend, Kay Hammer. She was predeceased by her parents, Mike and Cindy Chapman, and her husband, Derek Hall.
Carolyn was much loved by those who knew her and will be tremendously missed. She had a way of lighting up any room she walked into. She was known by medical staff and nurses for her fighting spirit and her ability to make staff and fellow patients smile.
A family-only graveside service will be held at Forest Hills Cemetery.
Example obituary for a loved one with a themed graveside service
Gene Alison Wilde passed away on Friday, September 9, 2021, at the age of 36. She is survived by her husband of fourteen years, Albert Wilde, her son, John Wilde, and her daughter Jennifer Wild. Her father and mother, Gloria and Kevin Stewart, also survive her. Gene was predeceased by her maternal grandparents, Ann and George Glenn, and her paternal grandfather, Bob Wilde.
Gene spent her life exploring the hills of Kentucky, gathering wild flora and fauna, and studying her finds. She was a wonderful horticulturist in her short life and never met a plant she couldn’t coax into growing. Gene loved going on long hikes with her husband and children and discovering the beauty of her native Kentucky.
A sunset graveside service is scheduled for 5:00 pm at Cedarcrest Memorial Chapel and Cemetery. Flowers will be provided to all in attendance to place on the casket at the close of the ceremony. Bare root roses from Gene’s garden will also be available to take home and plant as a living legacy to carry on her love of gardening.
Example obituary for a loved one with a graveside service and memorial service
Paul Simpson Schmidt passed away Saturday, February 18, 2021, at the age of 42 after a short battle with cancer. He is survived by his loving wife of five years, Jenny Schmidt, and their feisty Shih Tzu named Pancake. His mother, Mary Schmidt also survives him. Paul was predeceased by his father, Eric Smidt.
Paul was a proud member of the Madison Hills community and known by nearly everyone. He served on the city council and tourist commission, focusing his energies on welcoming new residents and tourists alike to the community. The community has grown tremendously thanks to his hard work.
A private graveside service will be held on Thursday, followed by a public memorial service at Madison Hills High School auditorium at 2:00 pm. All who knew Paul are encouraged to attend the memorial service. A time of open-mic sharing will occur, so feel free to bring a story to share.
Where to Post or Submit an Obituary with a Graveside Service
It used to be that the only place you could submit an obituary for publication was a newspaper. Today, however, there are several places where you can publish your loved one’s obituary.
Newspapers have historically been the most popular place to publish an obituary or death notice. Publishing obituaries in local or county newspapers still remains popular and is the preferred choice for many families to inform friends and family.
To publish an obituary in your local newspaper, you’ll need to contact the main office and inquire about deadlines and rates. Depending on the newspaper, you could be charged by the word, by the line, or by the section. The more space the obituary takes up, the more expensive it is.
While major city newspapers often charge the most, rural newspapers typically try to keep the charge on the lower side.
Online memorial website
Online memorial sites are growing in popularity thanks to the suite of options provided and the typically low cost associated with these sites. Many sites offer charge tiers related to how long your loved one’s memorial website stays active. Others charge depending on how many features you desire.
These websites offer what newspapers cannot: an unlimited space to share your loved one’s obituary and tribute. Many memorial websites allow you to post an obituary and an unlimited number of pictures and videos. They also provide a digital guest book for friends and loved ones to sign, share condolences, and upload their own photos or videos.
Online memorials pair well with social media announcements since the memorial website is easily shared on social media platforms.
Social media platforms can be an ideal place to share a short obituary notice and rapidly get the word out to as many as possible. Some platforms, like Facebook, allow you to publish a full obituary and link to a memorial website. Other platforms, however, limit you to a certain character or line limit.
Not all social media channels are ideal for posting an obituary, but they are ideal for spreading the word about a loved one’s death quickly.
Funeral home website
Many funeral homes offer obituary writing and obituary website services. Some funeral homes offer this as an add-on service for a modest fee, while others include it free of charge. Depending on the funeral home, you might be offered a simple page with a text-only option, or you could be offered a full-suite memorial website.
Many funeral home websites provide unlimited space for your loved one’s obituary text, a digital photo album, a digital guest book, and one-click purchase options to send flowers and condolence cards.
Honoring Your Loved One in Writing
An obituary provides you with an opportunity to honor your loved one’s life and legacy in writing. Not everyone who reads the obituary may be able to attend their funeral, but they will read the tribute to their life you write. Gather information, take your time, and collect your thoughts. Then, write an obituary that would make your loved one smile.