Small Gatherings

 At a funeral or graveside service one of the most important things people gather to do is to honor and celebrate the life of the person who has died.  It is only natural to want to include all the people whose lives have been touched by your loved one in the ceremony and invite them to witness the burial.  However, to keep each other safe during the COVID-19 pandemic that is not physically possible.

At Guare & Sons, many of our families have spoken to us about the challenges of having to choose only a few people who can be present at the funeral or graveside service. What is unexpected is how rewarding they have noticed the small ceremony being.

There are many different ways to approach thinking about how to limit who you invite. It may be immediate family, or people who are local. The key shared with us by our families is to approach the decision with intention and compassion.


Who will most benefit from being physically present?

How do the people you invite represent aspects of your loved one’s life?

Who are the people who can come together and support you and each other?

What type of graveside ceremony do you want to have and what roles will the guests play? Please see our Designing a Graveside Service for tips about this.


Things to keep in mind:

Per The Vermont Department of Health, people who travel to Vermont must self-isolate for 14 days prior to interacting with community.

Social distancing regulations mean that groups that have been in isolation together may stand together, those that have not must maintain at least 6 feet of distance between them.

If you are planning on live-streaming a service, internet connections can vary widely so you may need to record the ceremony instead. 

If you simply cannot limit the number of people who want to attend consider organizing a car parade. People can decorate their cars in honor of your loved one and drive past the gravesite before returning to their homes. If you choose this option please remind people that they must stay in their cars.


Our Designing a Graveside Service page has tips for including people who can’t be physically present.

Guare & Sons, Barber & Lanier Funeral Home
Phone: (802) 223-2751
30 School Street, Montpelier, VT

© Guare & Sons, Barber & Lanier Funeral Home
Crafted with care by Frazer Consultants and TA