A traditional funeral is open to most, although the majority of guests will have received a personal invitation. There are, generally, only a few prerequisites for attending, and it's just a case of the attendee knowing the deceased and wishing to pay their final respects. So why might some families opt to have a smaller, private funeral?
Private funeral services can be the same as a traditional funeral. The classification has nothing to do with the content of the service, and it is more about who is invited. In other words, a private funeral is strictly invite-only, with those invited often being limited to close friends and family. But why would you and your family opt to commemorate a loved one with a private funeral?
Your Loved One
Consider the loved one you're actually farewelling. Did they have a vast social circle encompassing extended family, colleagues, and casual acquaintances? Or were they more reserved with their social interactions, limiting their social circle to a small number of trusted friends and family members? Sometimes a large funeral isn't an accurate representation of the deceased.
A Personal Connection
Limiting attendance to those who had an authentic personal connection with the deceased may seem like the most fitting funeral for your loved one. And of course, fewer attendees also means the funeral is less expensive to stage, which can be another factor.
Given the deliberately reduced attendance, a private funeral may take place at a private residence. There are no hard and fast rules, so you may still wish to hold the service at a church, or at a funeral home. No matter where the private funeral is held, those who were not invited may later express their disappointment to you.
There will almost certainly be mourners who will be saddened that they didn't receive an invitation. You can simply acknowledge that not everyone who wanted to attend was given the opportunity, but that you and other family members thought a smaller, more private affair was the most appropriate outcome. Having said that, the chosen style of funeral is at the discretion of you and your family, and you shouldn't feel obliged to justify your choices to another party.
Ultimately, deciding to have a private funeral may feel like the most suitable way to farewell your beloved family member. You're under no obligation to have an expansive guest list. If your loved one didn't regularly see these people during their lifetime, it could be suggested that their attendance at the funeral isn't especially relevant.
For more information about private funeral services, contact a local funeral home.