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Before the Funeral

Funerals can be trying occasions for the family and friends of the deceased, and whether you are a close family member or not, you might be wondering about etiquette before a funeral. For instance, wondering what to say to offer comfort to others, or if there are ways you can help. To help you understand what happens before a funeral, read our guide below.

How long after someone dies is the funeral?

Immediately after someone passes away, planning a funeral will usually seem like a daunting task that can cause distress. The thought of saying your final goodbyes to the deceased might be enough to stop you from making any arrangements.

Usually, a funeral is held between one and two weeks after a person dies. This can depend on whether there is an inquest after the death, and how long this takes, and also date availability with the funeral directors and preferred venue. Religious beliefs can also dictate when the funeral is.

Choosing the funeral date

It is possible to arrange the funeral for almost any date preferred, however it is worth knowing that they can often be more expensive on a Saturday or Sunday. This is because venues will often charge a higher fee. Most commonly, funerals take place between around 11am and 2pm, with an early-afternoon wake where a light lunch or buffet is served.

Pre-funeral services

Some people may choose to host a wake or reception before the funeral instead of after. This can sometimes be combined with a viewing, or other times there might be a viewing held before the main service, at the church or crematorium.

In the Catholic faith, a Vigil service might be held on the night before the funeral. This is a prayer service usually held either at the family home of the deceased, at the church, or at the funeral home. A priest will usually host the service, or if they are not available, a religious family member.

What to say to someone before a funeral

This question is on the minds of many people when they attend a funeral, or indeed when one of their nearest and dearest is attending a funeral. The truth is; there is no one correct thing to say. Most of the time, the family and friends of the deceased will simply appreciate the fact that you have reached out to them. Knowledge that you are thinking of them during this difficult time can provide comfort in itself. If you are struggling to find a way to put your thoughts into words, and you want to send a message but are unable to think of what to say to someone before a funeral, consider something simple;

  • “I will be thinking of you today.”
  • “Sending love and prayers to you and your family.”
  • “I hope things run smoothly today.”
  • “Thinking of you. Please call me if I can help in any way at all.”

Or, if you are attending a funeral and are at a loss to know what to say to the next of kin and close family of the deceased, sometimes actions speak louder than words. Offer a hand to hold, or a shoulder to cry on, and a firm hug when you greet and leave the funeral. Words to say to someone at a funeral could be;

  • “It was a beautiful service and a perfect goodbye.”
  • “Thank you for letting me be a part of today. Your (relation) was a great friend to me and loved by many.”
  • “Can I help you in any way at all today?”
  • “Please do reach out to me if you’d like to talk.”

Make sure you thank them for arranging the funeral, and for all their efforts in hosting at such a difficult time.

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Before the Funeral

Has Someone Passed Away?

We understand at this difficult time you need someone to guide you through it all. We’re on hand to help after someone you love dies.

Arranging a Funeral

We’ll talk you through the process and what’s involved, so that you can make the right decision both for you and your loved ones.

Pre-Paid Funeral Agreement

We’re here to help if you want to make sure your funeral is both planned and paid for in advance.

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A Few Kind Words...

“Thank you so much for the care you took of mum and help and kindness you showed us making a very sad time so much easier to bear. With very best wishes and a very big thank you.”

Claire, David & Pia Stevens

“Dear Beth,

Just a short note from all of us to say “Thank You” for all the effort that you applied to ensure that Sarah’s funeral passed so seamlessly.

If it can be described as a “Great Day” (which I know will sound odd) I mean it purely in terms of the balance between sadness and celebration was met – that also the weather was perfect, the co-ordination between service and committal was excellent, the flowers so beautiful and everyone played their part so well. It was largely down to you that it did work so well.

So a “Big Thank You”

Barry, Jemma, Matthew, Josie and William

“The family would like to thank you and the whole team at Greenwood’s for your warm and professional service. We were delighted with your attention to detail and the relaxed but respectful manner of the Attendant and Bearers on the day itself. Many of our friends commented on the ‘dignity with lightness of touch’ and said it was one of the best-organised funerals they had attended. It was certainly a very different experience from my father’s funeral twelve years ago, and we shall recommend you wholeheartedly to others.”

Carole Day and Family

Dear Chloe,

We just wanted to all thank you and the rest of Alan Greenwood team for providing excellent service for organising and conducting our mother’s funeral – The day went perfectly.

Mike

“Dear David and Hannah,
Just a quick note to say thank you so much for all your help and support over the last month or so.
The funeral was just as it should have been.
Your staff were lovely and the day went without a hitch.”

Michele & Caroline

“Thank you very much indeed for all your professionalism, support and guidance throughout the whole process involved in caring for my mother.

From the moment we met the staff at Holmwood Nursing Home until my collection of thank you notelets for my father to use I felt that everything was conducted in a most efficient and sensitive manner. I know that Clive spent a good deal of time with you and I was so pleased that we were able to have such a beautiful service very soon after the passing of our dear mother and wife. With thanks once again”

Jane Reg & Clive

“As a family we cannot thank you enough for all your care and support of us on the passing of our mum – Peggy Hart on October 19th and her funeral on October 31st. As we know from the past, you do a wonderful job and all the staff are so caring and compassionate. Carol you are a rock (dare I say Star!) as you guided us through so much and helped keep us on track.

The day went off so smoothly and well. Mum looked good and would have so enjoyed her last ride in the jag! Also she would have been pleased at Alan leading the way, as Dad – Bill thought so highly of him and always spoke of him in glowing terms when he was alive and said he was a great guy to work with.

Thank you, thank you, what more can I say. I just wish you had offices in Canada so when my time comes, I know I would be in such excellent caring hands.”

Maggie & Mike Raftery

“Just a note to say a huge thank you to yourself and the wonderful team at Send Greenwoods, they took care of us all yesterday at Les Ingram’s funeral. I’ve really valued your help and support over the last few weeks and the wonderful men yesterday went beyond their ‘call of duty’. They were certainly there at our great time of need. Please pass on my thanks to everyone. I also enclose four more donations. Many thanks again.”

Judith Hookins

“Thank you so much for the care, support, compassion and understanding you showed with helping Chris and us to plan his funeral. You made a very difficult time for us more bearable for which we are very grateful. Thank you also for enabling all Chris’s plans to come to fruition. His ‘send-off’ was exactly what he wanted. Malcolm did a brilliant job too. Thank you, Jane, With love and sincere, thank you.”

Kathy, Samantha, Rosie and all the Sayer Family

“Dear John,

Thank you for the wonderful service, support and help you offered me and the way you looked after my partner Bob, after he passed away.

From the professionalism and courtesy your team showed on that most traumatic moment – taking Bob from our house – to your kindness, and surefooted advice, the recommendation of the Celebrant, and then your kindness in coming to the cremation as well.

It’s been the hardest month or so of my life and yet I was so pleased with how the service went, the wonderful order of service you arranged and helped me with and of course the music as well. Throughout it all you treated me with respect, dignity and gave me such helpful advice. I’m not sure I would have managed well without that. Even more, I can now look back and reflect that the day went well and represented my partner and our love so well.

I think it’s important to thank people when they have done such a great job.”

Douglas

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