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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 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

“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

“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

Dear Cindy,

I just wanted to say thank you for yesterday and please thank all the gentlemen who helped us. Everything ran very smoothly and they were excellent.

I was also very happy with the service booklet and photographs.

Lyla

“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

“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

“Thank you for all your kind attention during the funeral of my husband John on the 24th May. The arrangements were so efficiently and sympathetically handled that it lifted a huge burden from my shoulders. I enclose a cheque in favour of the Alzheimer’s Society in memory of my beloved John.”

Catherine Waterman

“We just wanted to say a huge thank you for everything you did for us. You certainly made a very emotional and difficult time so much easier to bear. We are so grateful for the support you gave us and your gentle guidance along the way. Everything was perfect thanks to you and we would highly recommend you to all. With very best wishes.”

Family of Stanley Stearman

“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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