Funerals can be as unique or as traditional as desired, and at Alan Greenwood & Sons we can help you plan all the minor details every step of the way. Most funerals tend to follow the same general schedule throughout the day, from the procession to the wake. To give you an idea of what to expect, here is a rough itinerary.
Itinerary of the Funeral Day
The funeral procession
Usually, the funeral procession will start at the home of the deceased. Your chosen hearse will arrive at the specified time, with the coffin already inside. Loved ones who will travel in the procession in your chosen vehicles, behind the hearse, will be collected from this same place. The route to the funeral service will have already been properly planned by the Funeral Director, making sure the quickest and simplest route is taken. The funeral procession will typically travel at 20mph, and the Funeral Director will usually get out of the vehicle and lead on foot upon arrival at the venue.
Arriving at the funeral
When the procession has arrived at the church or crematorium the Funeral Director will liaise with the service officiator to make sure everything is in order. If you have requested pallbearers, they will remove the coffin from the hearse, and prepare to enter the venue. If you have your own pallbearers, they will be instructed on the best way to do this by the Funeral Director.
Funerals can differ in the order in which people enter the church or crematorium. Sometimes everyone will follow the pallbearers, and other times guests are asked to be seated before the hearse arrives, with only immediate family members of the deceased following the coffin. Either way, the first few rows of seats are reserved for specified close friends and family.
The funeral service
This will largely depend on whether the funeral is being held at a church or a crematorium. In churches, the service will usually last around one hour, however at a crematorium it can be around 30 minutes. The officiator at either venue will lead the service, although chosen attendees are often asked to read poems or passages, and a eulogy. The officiator can do all of this if preferred, including reading a eulogy that has been prepared by a loved one. At the end of the service, in a church the pallbearers will take the coffin out of the church to take it to the burial ground or cremation venue. At the end of a crematorium service, the coffin will be enclosed by curtains before cremation begins.
The committal service
Many people choose to have a committal service after a church funeral ceremony, which will either take place at the burial ground or crematorium. Depending on the whereabouts of the venue, the coffin might be placed in the hearse, once again followed by the procession and other guests. If you are staying at the same venue, the Funeral Director will walk with you.
The committal service usually involves readings and/or poems, and after the service guests will have the opportunity to give flowers and pay final respects. The Funeral Director will be on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly and, at the appropriate time, escort the family back to their vehicles to then make their way to the wake (if there is one).
The wake/funeral reception
Most families choose to host a wake after the funeral to give friends and loved ones an opportunity to offer their best wishes and share happy memories. This part of the funeral day is entirely up to the loved ones; however the Funeral Director can offer advice at the planning stages regarding venues and caterers for example. After escorting you to the venue, at this point the Funeral Director will depart.
After the funeral
After the funeral, remember the team at Alan Greenwood & Sons are still here to give you any advice, help, and support that you may need. You can also read our tips on coping with grief and what to do with ashes.
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