A typical funeral service lasts around an hour, although some funerals can last a number of days, subject to custom and religious beliefs.

Some services can be as short as 20-30 minutes, but remember to allow extra time for people to enter and exit when booking a venue. You might wish to look into booking a double time slot if the funeral may run over just to be on the safe side, though remember that this will cost you more in crematorium and cemetery fees. Some services are deliberately kept short, and then some time is set aside for people to share stories of the deceased.

Funeral service slots are usually allocated on an hourly basis, but it’s possible to request more time. Some services last up to two hours, with time given over to hymns, speakers, music, readings and so on. Some places charge a late running fee, in the instance that the service runs over schedule. You can get a rough idea of how long the funeral will be by the length of the order of service (funeral service schedule), which is given out as you enter the service. This will detail how the service is to be structured, for example it might start with a song, then the eulogy may be read out, and then there may be a number of poetry readings. If you are arranging the funeral, speak to your celebrant or minister for a more precise time estimate of the service.

If you need to leave early, be respectful and exit quietly. The family will understand if you cannot stay for the whole service, or can only attend a part of the funeral. Use discretion and leave at a time that will cause the least disruption.

Funeral wakes/receptions tend to last a couple of hours, but it is expected that people will come and go during this time so you do not need to stay to the very end. The bereaved family will usually stay throughout to speak to guests, but don’t feel compelled to be present.

Funeral visitations, where people visit the family at the funeral home, don’t last for a defined time period. There’s no rigid etiquette for visitations, but most people stay for at least 15 minutes and many stay longer. People can come and go freely, and you don’t necessarily have to view the body.


How long does a cremation service last?

The length of cremation services vary, but most last 30-45 minutes, accounting for entry and exit time. Within this time, the cremation service may feature a eulogy, poems, readings, and music. The coffin is not cremated immediately, and most crematoriums wait until after mourners have left.

Burial services tend to last longer. If the person is being buried then there may be one service held first, following the format of an ordinary service, and then a committal of the body into the ground where a few words are said, and this will usually take another 30 minutes. Make sure to factor in travel times between where the service was held and the cemetery or churchyard.

If you’re arranging a funeral, be sure to discuss the details of the ceremony and how this will impact the duration with your chosen funeral director.

If you’d like, you can make a free obituary for your loved one online here on Beyond as well. As well as being a thoughtful and creative way to celebrate your loved one’s memory, these pages make it easy to keep guests updated on things like the time, date and duration of the funeral service and wake. You can find out more about our free obituaries here.

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