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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.

Before the Funeral

Arranging a Funeral

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A Few Kind Words...

“Would you please pass on our thanks to the young lady who conducted the burial of Joyce Ashby last week. She was so kind to Jean my very elderly cousin especially on the ride back in the Limo taking us through Richmond Park and chatting all the way. We then went on to have a family picnic in Jean’s garden in the sunshine a lovely way to remember Joyce and the perfect day for Jean. Very many thanks from all of us in North Wales.”

Sheila, Keith & Rhoada Ashby

“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

“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

“Just a wee note to say a huge thank you for your amazing support, care and friendship when helping us to arrange my dad’s funeral. Although it was such a difficult time for us as a family, you ensured that we were so well looked after & that everything went perfectly. Our tears often turned to laughter in your company & that’s because you helped us remember the good times.

Thank you for everything from the bottom of our hearts. We would also like to thank the whole team involved in helping before, during and after my dad’s funeral. You truly are amazing, showing such dignity, compassion, care and professionalism. Thank you.”

Karen, Anna & family

“You make an extremely difficult time easier. Dad’s service was very fitting and I was so pleased to see him dressed in his uniform and hold his had one last time, Jess you did a lovely job. Thank you so so much.”

Clare

“I would like to say a big thank you for everything. I had nothing to worry about, it all went so smoothly from the day of his death to the end of the funeral and in the circumstances could not have been better. Thank you so much.

I don’t have a great deal of experience in these matters, but compared to the other funeral directors I had to deal with, Greenwoods are the tops and you personally were a pleasure to deal with, you hit absolutely the right note.”

Ann Bishop

“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

“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

“We would like to thank you very much for looking after Mum and for all the arrangements you made for her funeral last Thursday. Your professionalism, help and ready advice together with your sensitivity at such a difficult time was much appreciated by us all. Our best regards.”

Nigel, Colin Ian & Coraine Ferguson

“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

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