Funerals are notoriously difficult and drawn-out affairs. When someone has passed away, it is often a sad day for the community as a whole as well as the family of the departed person.
It is impossible to provide a definitive answer to the question of how long funerals typically last; however, many funeral homes will tell you that the ceremony can last anywhere from two to six hours, depending on the nature of the service and various other aspects.
This post on the blog will provide you with some general information about funerals so that you are prepared for any situation, whether you are attending a funeral or hosting one. Let Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals help you select the type of funeral service that best fits your needs.
A funeral service typically lasts for about an hour, but depending on the traditions and beliefs of the deceased's community, some funerals can even last for several days.
FAQs About Funerals
Makeup should be kept simple. Foundation, a bit of blush and black eyeliner should suffice. Avoid bright lipstick, if any at all. As with clothing, you're makeup should not make you stand out.
When attending a service, be on time and enter the house of worship or location where the funeral will be held as quietly as possible. If there are no ushers, remember that the seats closer to the front should be taken by very close friends, with acquaintances seating themselves in the middle or towards the rear.
Etiquette experts say your decision to attend should primarily depend on your relationship and level of closeness with the deceased and/or their family members. But the general rule of thumb is if you can make it, you should be there—especially if you have a deep respect for the departed.
It's considered proper etiquette to pay your respects in another way if you're unable to attend the funeral. While you shouldn't feel guilty if you can't attend, you should take action to honor the deceased and their family.
Wearing dark grey or deep blue is just as appropriate as black, while brown and lighter greys are suitable for the vast majority of funeral services. However, unless specifically requested by the deceased or their family, you should avoid any bright colors such as yellows, oranges, pinks, and reds.
How Long Does A Funeral Service Last?
When booking a venue, keep in mind that certain services can last as little as twenty to thirty minutes; however, you should always allow extra time for people to enter and exit the location.
If there is a possibility that the funeral will go on for longer than expected out of an abundance of caution, you may want to consider booking a double-time slot; however, you should keep in mind that this will result in an increase in the fees charged by the crematorium and cemetery.
Some memorial services are intentionally condensed, and afterwards, attendees are given some time to share memories of the departed with one another.
The time slots for funeral services are typically allotted on an hourly basis; however, it is possible to make a request for additional time.
Certain services can last up to two hours, during which time hymns, speakers, musicians, readings, and other activities take place.
If the service is delayed beyond the allotted amount of time, some establishments will charge a late-running fee.
The length of the order of service, also known as the funeral service schedule, which is distributed as you enter the service can provide you with a rough estimate of the total length of time that the funeral will take.
This will provide specific information regarding the format of the memorial service. For instance, the service might begin with a song, then the eulogy might be read out, and then there might be several poetry readings.
If you are the one responsible for arranging the funeral, you should talk to the celebrant or minister about getting a more accurate estimate of the length of the service.
If you absolutely have to leave earlier than expected, do so in a respectful and quiet manner.
The family will understand if you are unable to attend the funeral in its entirety or if you can only make it for a portion of the service. Nevertheless, exercise discretion and try to leave at a time when there will be the least amount of commotion.
Wakes and receptions following funerals typically last for a couple of hours, but it is normal for guests to arrive and depart throughout this time, so there is no requirement for you to remain until the very end of the event.
The bereaved family will typically remain present throughout so that they can speak with guests, but they do not feel obligated to be there.
There is no set length of time for funeral visitations, during which attendees pay their respects to the deceased's family at the funeral home.
There is no set protocol for visits, but the vast majority of guests remain for at least 15 minutes, and many remain for significantly longer.
You are free to come and go as you please, and it is not required that you view the deceased person's body. Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funeral Directors are here to help make the funeral process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you and your loved ones.
How to Determine How Long a Funeral Should Last
A celebrant will assist you in planning a funeral by assisting you in setting out the details of the service and assisting you in arranging the service in the appropriate order. This will allow you to establish a clear structure and allow a specific amount of time for the service. You should now be able to estimate a time frame that is reasonably accurate using this information.
But why is it so important to have accurate information about how long a service will be provided?
It is essential to have an accurate estimate of how long the funeral service will last for a number of different reasons, including purely logistical reasons like being able to book the location and giving attendees enough time to make travel arrangements to get there and back.
Even though there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how long a funeral service ought to be, there are a number of considerations that should be given your full attention throughout the planning process because they have the potential to influence the length of the ceremony.
Factors That May Affect Funeral Service
Cultural and Religious Traditions
When organising a funeral service, it is imperative to take into account the cultural and religious requirements of the person who has passed away.
Both people's religious beliefs and their cultural backgrounds have a significant bearing on their daily lives. Therefore, it may be essential to include the religious and cultural practises and rites that are specific to their denomination or belief even after they have passed away.
In particular, the fact that many of these rituals are thought to be essential in order for the deceased to be allowed to die in peace.
As a result of the fact that the rituals performed at a funeral will be unique to each religion, the amount of time required for the service will also vary.
Funerals, unfortunately, can be expensive. As a result, it is absolutely necessary for you to keep your expenses in mind and stay within a predetermined budget while you are planning.
It is essential to talk through the proposed schedule with your celebrant before the service in order to get an accurate time frame. This is because some locations may charge additional fees if the service runs over, so it is important to keep this in mind.
The Number of Attendees
Imagine that there will be a significant number of mourners attending the funeral. If this is the case, it is likely a good idea to leave a time buffer of fifteen minutes on either side of the service. This will enable you to seat all of your guests and give them ample time to leave without going over the allotted amount of time that you have reserved the venue for.
In a similar vein, ensure that there is sufficient time built into the ceremony for mourners to express their condolences to you and other members of your family.
Your deceased loved one may, in the moments immediately preceding their passing, communicate to you, either verbally or in writing, any funeral-related wishes that they would like carried out.
Your cherished one may have wished, in addition to the conventional funeral rites, for specific songs to be played, for attendees to dress up in costumes, or even for a bespoke ceremony to be carried out.
No matter how outlandish your desires or requirements for the memorial service are, a celebrant will be able to assist you in fulfilling them. This is true even if they conflict with one another.
In the same way that a funeral is an opportunity to put your loved ones to rest and express sorrow over their passing, it is also a time to remember who they were and to celebrate the quirks that made them unique individuals.
And if that means encouraging people to show support for their favourite football team by donning the colours of that team's jersey, then by all means do that.
The Type of Funeral Service
The time it takes to cremate a body can vary, but the process typically takes about forty minutes, counting both the entrance and exit.
You could give readings or eulogies during this time, or you could just sit quietly in reflection. In most cases, the casket is not cremated immediately but rather after the mourners have left the funeral home.
Regardless of the degree to which they are personalised, burial services and cremation services are each of varying lengths.
Funeral services typically continue for a longer period of time.
If you choose to adhere to the structure of a burial that is more traditional, there may be a brief service held prior to the burial of the body, which is then followed by the burial itself.
It is possible that the former will need to include time for an open casket, performances, or other ceremonies, but this will depend on the wishes of the deceased. It is possible that you will also need to consider the amount of time necessary to travel from the location of the funeral service to the location where the body will be interred.
The wishes of the deceased, as well as those of yourself and your family, will ultimately be the most important factor in determining how long the memorial service will last.
Components of a Funeral
The funeral service will look different for each family because it is based on their traditions, their culture, and their own personal preferences. Nevertheless, they all have a few components in common that you should anticipate. These range from short to long, with some being more casual than others:
- Best wishes to you all from your family and friends
- Observation or travel to see
- The obituary for the deceased was read aloud.
- Observance of a religious rite or service
- Remarks from close friends and relatives
- Songs and poetry written in memory of a loved one who has passed away.
- The concluding remarks or the closing ceremony
- Graveside committal
It's possible that you won't need to stick around for the entirety of the components. There may be some that are restricted to only members of the immediate family. Having a general schedule of the funeral services in front of you, on the other hand, will help you understand what to anticipate.
Duration of Visitations and Viewings
Funerals are typically not just a small service by themselves. On the other hand, they are frequently accompanied by a visitation or viewing.
A visitation is an opportunity to express condolences to a grieving family while spending time with members of that family. A casket may or may not be present at the funeral service, depending on the preferences of the deceased person's family and the deceased person themselves. A visitation will last for at least a half an hour at a minimum.
A viewing is an opportunity to see the deceased's body, and it typically takes the form of a ceremony with an open casket. But once again, this is something that is dependant on the particular funeral custom. Here at Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals, we provide low-cost funeral services.
In some cultures and traditions, the event that follows the viewing is called the wake. Although these events last for a longer period of time, it is not unusual for guests to arrive and depart throughout the course of the celebration. During the entire event, which can last for several hours, only the immediate members of the family would stay.
How Long Do Receptions Last?
After the funeral, many families also opt to host a reception for their loved one. The actual funeral service, on the other hand, is almost always a solemn occasion, and it frequently includes a religious component.
A reception is typically held for those individuals who, in this trying time, would like the opportunity to spend time with their friends and family.
Immediately following the conclusion of the funeral or burial service, a reception service is typically held. It can last for up to two hours, and it typically involves eating or a meal of some kind.
Receptions can either take place in the home of a family member or in a hall specifically designated for such events.
Attendance at receptions is not always required in all cases.
Your connection to the person who passed away will determine how long you are expected to stay at the funeral. It is expected of those who were close to the deceased or who were members of the immediate family that they would remain for the majority of the duration of the reception.
Duration of Funerals Based on Type of Service
Let's take a closer look at some specific guidelines in order to provide a comprehensive response to this question. Funerals tend to follow a variety of traditions and customs.
The following is a list of common kinds of services, along with an estimate of how long each one typically lasts.
The viewing, also known as the visitation, is the first part of a Catholic funeral service; however, attendance at this part is not required.
After that, there will be a more low-key, family-oriented memorial service where friends and family are welcome to drop by, or an entire Catholic mass.
The actual mass itself could last for a number of hours, and it is typically followed by a reception.
The funeral service at a Christian funeral typically lasts anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour. This may or may not include a visitation or viewing, and regardless of whether it does or does not, the atmosphere will most likely be relaxed.
After the service, you can anticipate a similar reception.
Traditional Hindu funerals are held typically within the first twenty-four hours after the death of the person being mourned. The period of mourning lasts for 13 days, even though the funeral and burial will take place on the very first day.
The funeral service is going to be a lively event that incorporates a number of different customs. The entire ceremony may take several hours, and it is customary for close friends and family members to pay their condolences to the bereaved family at regular intervals throughout the period of thirteen days of mourning.
At a Muslim funeral, you should plan to spend at least a couple of hours there. The funeral procession takes place very soon after the passing, and the service will last between one to three hours, followed by a visitation.
Funeral services in the Jewish religion typically last less than an hour. Typically, they begin with a visitation with the family, and then the remainder of the service is less formal, and attendance is discretionary. In addition, a casual reception at the family's home is typically held after the funeral at Jewish funerals.
There are three main rites that take place during Buddhist funeral processions, and each one lasts approximately half an hour. The length of the funeral service in its entirety is approximately two hours; however, if you are not particularly close to the family, you are not required to stay for the duration of the service.
It is essential that you keep in mind that it is possible that you will not be required to remain present for the entirety of the above-mentioned services and customs.
In most cases, only very close family members and friends will be invited to attend the funeral service in its entirety. However, because there is probably a limited amount of time for other people's families and friends, it is recommended that you keep your attendance to a minimum.
In addition, every family has their own particular way of doing things. There is no one correct answer to the question of how long a funeral service can be because many of the customs listed above are becoming more contemporary and adapting to new circumstances. Checking the schedule or itinerary for the funeral service is the most reliable way to obtain definitive information.
Duration of Graveside Committal
It would be helpful if, in addition to being aware of what to anticipate at a funeral, you also gave some thought to the graveside committal.
These are most commonly observed at Christian and Catholic funerals; however, it is not unusual for funerals to include elements from other religions.
A funeral service known as a graveside committal involves placing the deceased person's body in the grave after the service. This is traditionally a separate event that takes place after the funeral service; however, the funeral service itself may also take place at the tomb in order to combine the two traditions.
In most cases, the commitment ceremony lasts for about half an hour. The length of time needed for the ceremony may vary according to the number of prayers and eulogies that are read during the service. Plan appropriately because there will need to be sufficient time allotted for people to travel from the service to the graveside committal, which will take place at a different location than the service.
Duration of a Cremation Service
Before the body is buried, a committal service might also take place at the funeral home where the deceased was cared for. But once more, this will be determined by the deceased person's religious beliefs and wishes regarding their end-of-life care.
The length of time that a cremation service lasts can change, but it's typically between 30 and 45 minutes.
The funeral service for a burial typically lasts longer than the service for cremation, and it is customary for the casket to be lowered into the ground at some point during the ceremony.
Following the conclusion of the funeral service, the cremation of the deceased or their casket will take place.
The duration of cremation services can range anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, with the average duration falling somewhere in the middle.
During this portion of the service, the cremation ceremony may include a eulogy, poems, readings, and music.
The casket is not incinerated right away; rather, the majority of crematoriums wait until after the mourners have left before doing so.
Funeral services typically continue for a longer period of time. If the person is going to be buried, there may be one service held first, following the format of a standard service, and then there may be a committal of the body into the ground where a few words are said, which will typically take another half an hour after the first service is over.
Make sure that you take into account the travel time between the location where the service was held and the churchyard or cemetery.
If you are planning a funeral, it is imperative that you have a conversation with the funeral director that you have chosen about the specifics of the ceremony and how these will affect the length of time.
Additionally, you have the option of posting a free online obituary for a loved one here on Beyond, should you so desire.
These pages make it easy to keep guests informed about things like the time, date, and duration of the funeral service and wake. On top of being a thoughtful and creative way to celebrate the memory of a loved one, this is a wonderful way to do so.
Planning for a Funeral Service
The preceding guide should have made it clear that there is no standard procedure to follow when organising funeral services. When determining how long a funeral will last, there are a lot of moving parts to consider.
Because each memorial service is tailored specifically to the deceased and their family, its duration can never be precisely determined.
The majority of funerals last at least an hour, but this time can extend further depending on the visitation or viewing practises that take place prior to the actual funeral service itself.
In the end, the most significant factors that contribute to the length of the service are the religious rites and ceremonies that are performed. Some memorials have a more laid-back atmosphere, and attendees are free to come and go throughout the service without being noticed. Others have limitations placed on both their size and their attendance.
The best way to manage funeral costs is to pre-plan. To learn more, see our information on Prepaid Pre-Planned Funeral options.
You will, however, be able to plan appropriately and make the most of your visit now that we have provided you with a list of the potential variations that are associated with each type of service and visitation.