Most funerals happen around midday, during the week, around one or two weeks after the death, but you may have to wait if there will be an inquest into the death. When thinking about the best time for a funeral, remember that the funeral director may only have certain days or times available.

Importantly, you don’t need to accept the first date and time the funeral director offers, and you could consider another funeral director if their availability doesn’t fit your schedule. It’s best to get input from those closest to the deceased to run the date of the funeral by them. It would be really unfortunate, for example, if a family member was going in for an operation on the date of the funeral. The proposed date of the funeral may coincide with a family birthday, which is usually best to avoid.

If money is a concern, avoid weekend services and maybe consider an early morning service (around 9am) during the week, which can be somewhat cheaper. You could then hold a midday wake with light lunch snacks. It also gives people the option to take a half day off work. This option works best if everyone attending is local to the area, as others from further afield might have to drive down the night before and stay overnight.

 

How long after death does the funeral usually take place?

The time between death and a funeral is about one to two weeks. Some deaths require further investigation from the coroner, usually delaying funeral plans by five to six days, but can take longer. Some religions ask for the body to be buried as soon as possible, so these funerals happen faster.

If there are people who are planning to come to the funeral who live far away, or even abroad, it’s a good idea to let them know as far in advance as possible so that they can make travel arrangements.

 

Can I hold a funeral on the weekend or bank holiday?

Funerals on the weekend are typically £500-£1,000 more expensive, as crematoriums and cemeteries charge extra for the weekend service. Saturday mornings are the most common time for a weekend funeral, but many places will only take weekend booking by request. The person leading the service, be it a celebrant or minister, may charge a higher rate on weekends. Many will not provide weekend funeral services at all.

The cost of a funeral on a bank holiday will be around the same price as one on the weekend, around £500-£1,000 more expensive.

 

How do I let people know when the funeral will be?

If you’re telling someone about the death for the first time, it’s best to visit in person or give them a call. We have some advice about this difficult conversation here. But how do you keep all the different people who might want to attend the funeral informed about the date and the location after that?

One useful approach is to have a kind of phone tree: call a few key people, and tell them to let others know about the details for you. For example, you might want to call your loved one’s old boss, and ask them to tell anyone else at the company who might want to attend the funeral when and where it will be.

But what about those people in the community who you might not have numbers for? You might consider an obituary or death notice: this is a public announcement of a death that appears in a local newspaper or online, along with the details of the funeral for anyone who might want to attend. If you’d like, you can make an online obituary for free with Beyond, where guests can RSVP, send flowers, donate money, and share photos and memories of your loved one. Find out more here.

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