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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.

Funeral Cost Calculator

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A Few Kind Words...

“Lynn, Bruce and I thank you so much for the wonderful understanding and help you have given us over the past days.It has been a difficult time but made so much easier by your guidance. With your kindness, we feel we managed to say our goodbyes to ‘Roger’, ‘Dad’ and ‘Grandy’ – showing our love and thanks to him for looking after us so perfectly over the years.”

Pat Clark

“I cannot believe that a month has passed since we first met, the day after Brian died. Within a short time of our encounter, I know that an occasion I had always dreaded would be transformed into a positive, memorable occasion – and so it was!

Your warm and practical attitude, as well as highly professional advice, immediately instils confidence. Every detail of the proceedings is meticulously explained and I felt completely relaxed. Thank you Jess for making everything work so well. You are a remarkable lady with a definite vocation and I wish you all the very best for the future. I felt I found a real, new friend, just when I needed it most.”

Irene

“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

“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 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

“Thank you for the care and support you gave to us all at the funeral of Annette Streetley, we did appreciate you kindness as we first stepped through the door at your Claygate branch and the days following. I know Tony, Rachel & Andrew were extremely grateful”

David & Betty Wakeford

“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 Donna,

Just a little something to say thank you very much for all of your kind support during a very difficult time.

You really went above and beyond to help us and it was truly appreciated.

Thank you for helping us organise such a personal and fitting service for Margaret and everything else that you did for us.”

Bill, Sandra, Vicki and Family

“I just wanted to drop you a line to say a massive thank you for everything you have done over the last two weeks. When I walked into Alan Greenwood’s on the 5th November I didn’t know where or how I was going to organise my lovely Mum’s funeral and the thought of it horrified me, you made a daunting job so much easier and were there to guide me all the way until the day of the funeral.”

I can’t thank you enough for your kind words, thoughts and help during this very difficult time. Losing someone as precious as mum is very hard but you helped so much. Thank you for everything you have done for mum, myself and my family.”

Sue, Mundy, Luke and Faye

“Dear Jo,

Thanks so much for all you did leading up to the funeral. None of us could have got through it without your support.

Many thanks for everything you did for us, for all your help and for making a very sad day so easy. Your support has been amazing.

A huge thank you. Your dedication made saying farewell to Mum all the more bearable.”

Sue, Vicki, Clare & Richard

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