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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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Has Someone Passed Away?

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A Few Kind Words...

“We would like to thank you for a friendly and professional service and especially Adam who made a good job of the service, and a big thanks to Jane who was a great help and showed much kindness. We would recommend your company.”

Chris & Mike Whalen

“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

“How can we say thank you for all you did to make Robert (Bob’s) funeral so lovely? We felt you worked so hard ,with your company and the Church to make everything so nice. So once again thank you.”

Wendy Dennis & Brenda

“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

“Thank you so much for the way you took care of Loui’s funeral for us. You really went the extra mile, we are really grateful for all your help with the arrangements with Louis and Mum.”

Sheila, Kenny & Family

“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

“To all that it concerns, thank you seems hardly enough for making our Pops (William Hadaway) day very special with love and dignity from the beginning to the end you all made the day very special as well as his wishes you were there for all the family and made it a bit easier for us all to handle, couldn’t have wished for anything more. Many thanks again.”

Mark Hadaway & family

“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 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

“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

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