How Long After Death Is A Funeral?

If you’ve been to enough funerals in your lifetime, you’ll be able to observe how they compare. Every funeral is unique depending on the deceased’s culture and personal preferences. 

Most of them mirror the life and achievements of the individual you are paying your respects to and preparing to bury. 

Funerals are integral to people in nearly all countries worldwide and are also a way to celebrate a beloved’s life when they die. 

If you need to travel to one, reorganizing your schedule and personal responsibilities takes some work. Usually, family members and friends come from other states and countries, so proper planning is essential. 

For every funeral, someone gets chosen to pick the date and attend to all the tiny details required to make this celebration of life successful. 

It’s not an easy job with so many factors at play and so many decisions to make, but there is one you must make before moving forward with everything else. When should the funeral take place? 

How Long After A Person’s Death Should You Have The Funeral? 

Most people have a funeral 7 days after someone passes away to start the grieving process. They can get an extra week if the family chooses to have the body embalmed. 

Keep in mind this is only a rule of thumb, but on average, it will be the case. The reason for rushing it is that the longer you wait, the more the body decomposes, making an open casket less of a possibility. 

You don’t need to follow this rule if you intend to cremate the body because you can wait as long as you like to have a ceremony. 

But some cultures feel having an open casket is the best way to say farewell, so planning within 2 to 3 days should be on the schedule. Don’t hesitate to ask the funeral director for advice if you need it; most are glad to help and answer questions. 

When picking the exact date you want the funeral to be held, there are some questions you should ask before making a decision. Read what they are below and think carefully before finding answers for each. 

Question #1: Does The Recently Departed Have Final Wishes? 

In most cultures, individuals write their last wishes down ahead of time to prepare for the day they depart the land of the living. In most parlors, you can buy funeral insurance, so every detail is planned when you die and you don’t burden your loved ones.

Another proactive way to state your final wishes is by drawing up a will making everything you want clear. 

A will like this must be honored as much as possible. And it may not always be possible if the funeral parlors are busy at the time, but try your best to pick the day of the week the deceased wants.

Question #2: Who Can Attend? 

Everyone understands that funerals are held more to help those left behind with the grieving process than they are for the dead. 

A fruitful funeral helps everyone heal and move on with their life once the ceremony ends. It’s a terrifying thought to have to attend one, but it’s a way for you to pay respects to someone special in your life. 

Throughout the planning phase, you will have people contacting you to attend that you did not intend to invite. Before you agree, make sure the deceased did not request the funeral to be small or made a list of who they wanted to attend. 

If that’s not the case, pick the day of the week and always choose an evening slot so as many people can pay respect as possible. The busiest funerals always end up scheduled on Saturday and Sunday. 

Question #3: Will you Embalm Your Loved One? And Will The Casket Be Open? 

Answer these two questions with care. They share the same section because one is asked right after the other. 

Embalming is a technique to prepare the body before it’s ready to be buried. The moment we die, we begin this process of decomposition. Embalming does not prevent your body from decaying but decelerates the inevitable. 

You can store an embalmed body in a funeral home for 2 to 3 weeks. However, it does not change the fact you have 7 days to have an open-casket funeral. 

When you request the body to be embalmed, there are extra costs associated with this service. It’s expensive, so most people ask for it not to be done. 

If it’s not for financial reasons, specific cultures reject embalming because it’s against their religious beliefs. Whatever the issue is, if you don’t go the embalming route, have the funeral no longer than 3 days after your loved one’s death. 

Question #4: Will You Cremate The Body? 

Cremations do not affect when the funeral is held, and anyone who chooses their loved one to be cremated usually doesn’t ask for embalming services. The same 3-day rule applies if you don’t embalm the body and want an open-casket funeral. 

If it’s a closed casket funeral, you can wait longer to hold the wake and take more time to schedule the cremation. 

Question #5: Is There A Justification For Delaying The Funeral? 

All funerals have their fair share of obstacles and special requests. In addition, events may occur when scheduling one that may cause the wake date to change. Below are a few reasons why the date of a funeral might be pushed back: 

  • An important family member or friend is unable to attend the scheduled date. 
  • A funeral is held on a date that clashes with another event.
  • If there was a murder or accident, the body is needed for a more thorough autopsy.
  • Funeral home spots are full, or the planned date is over the budget.

Summing It Up 

While planning the funeral, always keep the wishes of the deceased as your priority. After this, you can consider the needs of the family and friends attending the funeral. 

Next, choose whether you will have an open or closed casket funeral quickly, so you can make preparations if you desire to cremate the body. 

Lastly, take the time to consider any critical reasons why the funeral might require a delay, but don’t change the date if you don’t have to. 

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