Funeral Home Vs Mortuary: What’s the Difference?

Funeral homes and mortuaries are two terms that are often used interchangeably. Both services offer a wide range of practical, emotional and financial help to families affected by the tragic death of someone close. 

It is not uncommon for people to wonder if one service is better than the other, or if they are even different at all. But there are also several key differences between them that one should be aware of before choosing one over another.

Funeral Home Vs Mortuary

What is a Funeral Home?

A funeral home is a place where people can go to get help with the planning and logistics of their loved one’s death. 

Funeral homes are typically located in or near towns, and often have a set of rooms for viewing bodies before burial or cremation. Funeral homes may also provide services related to writing an eulogy, embalming or caskets.

There are many different types of funeral homes,some specialize in one type of service, while others offer more than one kind of service. 

Some funeral homes offer multiple options related to how they handle deaths, including cremation and traditional burials at cemetery grounds. 

Other funeral homes will only handle traditional burials if they’re used as part of a religious tradition, since cremation is not an option for many faiths.

What is a Mortuary?

A mortuary is a facility where bodies are prepared for burial or cremation after they have died. This may include embalming, an autopsy, and other processes.

The body of a deceased person is sometimes transported to a mortuary for viewing by relatives and friends, or to be cared for as part of the funeral ceremony.

Main Differences 

  • Funeral planning

The funeral planning process is where these two providers most significantly diverge. The organization and arranging of the funeral or memorial ceremony is a specialty of funeral homes. 

They help you with the planning, and many of them actually host the events at their venue.

Mortuaries take care of cremation, body preparation, and transportation, but they generally lack the room or time for planning. 

When planning a service or memorial, a professional funeral director is essential.

  • Grief support

Licensed funeral directors work in funeral homes, therefore they are qualified to offer bereavement and emotional assistance. It’s never easy to lose a loved one. 

When planning a funeral, there are a lot of practical details to take care of, but you also want to feel emotionally understood and supported.

Funeral homes are more attentive to their clients’ requirements and might provide grieving assistance. They are able to provide support in trying family settings and are skilled at navigating various dynamics.

On the other side, those who already have access to bereavement counseling elsewhere would benefit more from a mortuary service.

  • Environment and appearance

A funeral home’s appearance and a mortuary’s are very different from one another. Funeral homes are made with the clients in mind, making tranquil, calming rooms for individuals who have just suffered a loss.

However, mortuaries aren’t made to put people at rest. They are more direct and center on getting the deceased ready for their last resting places. 

You shouldn’t anticipate luxurious, rich surroundings, even though they may nevertheless give clients limited places.


While the terms funeral home and mortuary are often used interchangeably, they aren’t one in the same. 

The role of each of these institutions is extremely different and shouldn’t be confused with one another because it could land you in some serious trouble in the end.