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What Happens At A Funeral

What Happens at a Funeral?

Being unaware of what happens at a funeral can make the prospect of having to arrange a funeral service particularly daunting. We have outlined all of the things you need to know about funerals if you are about to attend one for the first time or are planning a service yourself.

Being unaware of what happens at a religious funeral or at a non-religious funeral can make the prospect of having to arrange a funeral service particularly daunting.

Below you should find an overview of all that happens on the day of a typical funeral here in the UK; however, if you find that you still have some lingering uncertainties at the end, then please feel free to contact Kenna And Turner Independent Funeral Directors on 0151 638 4444.

It is only to be expected that planning a funeral will be an emotional period of time for you, or your loved ones, and so understanding more about what actually goes on at a funeral will help to remove a lot of the stress when the day comes.

The information below may also be useful to inform you as to whether you’re unsure about letting a child attend a funeral or if you’re afraid of attending a funeral.

An Overview of Funerals in the United Kingdom

Broadly speaking, a funeral service is to honour the entire life of an individual who has passed away. The service will often be conducted according to the deceased’s funeral wishes (perhaps based upon their religious beliefs on funerals) or the family’s wishes.

A lot of individuals will have left information regarding what they would like to occur at their funeral service. This often includes the likes of the music that is to be played, what readings are to occur, or even what food is to be served after the service. Although, in a lot of cases, these details are decided upon through the family and the funeral director as they arrange the funeral service.

Following on from the service, the deceased will then be buried or cremated, dependent upon their personal desires prior to them passing.

What Happens on the Actual Day of a Funeral

Funerals can take a wide variety of forms depending upon religious beliefs or specific personal wishes. However, as a general rule of thumb, a Church of England or non-religious funeral will consist of the following stages:

  • The funeral procession
  • The funeral ceremony
  • The cremation or burial
  • The reception (wake)

It is common practice that the funeral director that you have hired will take care of the running of these stages, this will allow you more time throughout the day to mourn the death of your loved one and engage with other family and friends.

What is a Funeral Procession

When the day of the funeral arrives, a funeral director will move the body of your loved one from the morgue into a coffin and place the coffin into the back of a hearse.

Some people choose to have their loved one placed in a home or chapel of rest prior to the service, for people to come and pay their final respects in person.

Once finished, the coffin will then be driven slowly to the selected crematorium or church for the service to begin. The hearse which is carrying your loved one will be followed closely by a procession of vehicles, with those closest to the deceased in the frontmost vehicle.

Some funeral processions also see the funeral director personally walking at the head of the procession for a short part of the way or even all of the way to the church or crematorium.

A lot of mourners will also not attend the process, instead of arriving directly at the crematorium or church where the service will be held.

The Funeral Ceremony Will Depend Upon Whether Your Loved One is to be Cremated or Buried

Cremation Funerals

Crematoriums are able to provide services of all religious faiths, although you are also able to have a service held at a church only for your loved one to then be moved to the crematorium afterwards.

The majority of cremation funeral services being held at a crematorium or a church will last for between thirty and forty-five minutes. It will begin with the coffin being brought in by pallbearers — the pallbearers can either be employees of the funeral director or close family members.

In terms of the actual service, this can be as personal as you wish. The service may consist of poems, hymns, readings, or even photograph/video slide shows commemorating the deceased.

Furthermore, it is common practice in a lot of funeral services to be broadcast online so that people who are unable to attend in person can watch the service.

Once the service is completed, your loved one’s coffin will be covered by a curtain as their coffin is cremated. You will be able to collect their ashes a day or two following the funeral.

Burial Funerals

If your loved one is going to be buried, then the pallbearers will return the coffin to the hearse for another procession to get the coffin to the burial plot.

Once the funeral ceremony is done and the coffin has arrived at the burial plot, then the coffin will be placed on wooden planks by the grave.

A few final words and/or prayers will be shared before the coffin is lowered carefully into the grave by the pallbearers. The actual burial stage of the funeral is much shorter than the funeral service itself.

What Happens at a Wake

A wake will typically be a catered reception for friends and loved ones of the deceased to gather and share memories of the individual who has passed on. A reception/wake may be held directly after the burial or cremation, or it may occur several hours after.

Wakes can take place at almost any venue, or some people may choose to wait for a while after the funeral before having a wake — perhaps at an anniversary that was important to the deceased.

How Long Are Most Funerals?

The majority of funerals in the UK will last for approximately sixty minutes. Although, there are some religious services that can go on for days at a time.

Most crematoriums will provide, on average, forty to forty-five-minute services. Included in this will be ten minutes before and after for the close family of the deceased to greet and pay their respects.