Saying goodbye to a loved one is never an easy process, and the manner and setting in which this service takes place will depend largely on the religion, culture and personal preferences of both the deceased and their family. As a result, it’s difficult to say with precision exactly how long it will last, since the average length of a funeral can vary greatly depending on its component parts.
As a general rule, a Catholic funeral (encompassing mass and communion) can take up to an hour, while a humanist or non-religious funeral can be significantly shorter at around 30 minutes. The most economical funeral can even be over within 15 minutes, though this is unusual.
The factors which chiefly affect the average length of a funeral are the location in which it is held, the type of service being conducted, the component parts of the service and the budget available for the funeral. When planning a funeral, it’s a good idea to talk to the funeral director or minister in charge of proceedings in order to get an approximation of how long they expect the service to last.
Component parts of a funeral
Again, it will vary depending upon the individual circumstances and preferences of the deceased, but in general, a funeral is comprised of the following component parts:
- A general greeting to the congregation of family and friends, normally delivered by a clergyman, celebrant or other appointed person
- The deceased’s obituary, including mention of all surviving family members
- A eulogy, detailing the achievements and beliefs of the deceased’s life and expressing what they meant to the bereaved
- A religious sermon (if it is a religious ceremony)
- Speeches from friends and family
- Songs, poems or other selected readings that are personal to the deceased and their loved ones
- Final commitment to the grave or crematorium
If hiring a minister or funeral director to lead proceedings, they will work closely with the bereaved family to gain an idea of the person’s life. This will allow them to create a personalised speech that is tailored to the life of the deceased.
The above itinerary is a rough guideline of what is included in most funeral services. Parts can be added or omitted without trouble, as there are no hard-and-fast rules as to what must go into a funeral.
Planning a funeral
Coping in the immediate aftermath of the loss of a loved one can be a trying time, and many people find organising the funeral too difficult to tackle alone. If you require help or advice in the planning of a loved one’s final farewell, give us a call on 01983 754 387 and we’ll do our utmost to make the process as smooth and pain-free as possible.