Typically a funeral service lasts around an hour. Some funerals can last a number of days, subject to one’s customs and religious beliefs.
It is worth noting that some funeral services can be only 20 to 30 minutes, and in these cases you should remember to allow extra time for people to enter and exit when one. If you are booking a service, it may be worth considering a double time slot as this can give you peace of mind on the day - this may cost more. In shorter services it is common for some time to be set aside for friends and family to share memories.
In the case that you need to leave early, make sure you are respectful and leave quietly. Families will be understanding of those who cannot stay for the whole funeral, just make sure to leave at a time that causes the least disruption.
For those organising a funeral service, slots are usually allocated on an hourly basis. Some services last longer, with time given to poems, speakers, music, and memory sharing. Be sure to check with the funeral venue for any late-running fees - just in case it runs over time. When attending a funeral, you will get an idea of the length from the order of service (funeral schedule) which are usually given out at the beginning of a service. An order of service will lay out how the funeral is structured.
Funeral wakes or receptions often last a couple of hours and it is usually expected that people come and go during this time. The bereaved family will stay throughout to speak to guests. Additionally funeral visitations, where people visit the family at the funeral home, don’t last for a defined time period. There’s no rigid etiquette for visitations, but most people stay for at least 15 minutes and many stay longer. People can come and go freely, and you don’t necessarily have to view the body.
A cremation service will vary in length. Most last 30 to 45 minutes, accounting for entry and exit time. In this time the cremation service may feature poems, readings, a eulogy, and music. Typically the coffin is not cremated immediately and most crematoriums will wait until after mourners have left.
Burial services generally last longer. If a person is being buried, there is often a service held which is then followed by the committal of the body into the ground. This usually takes another 30 minutes. Remember to factor in travel times between where the service is located and the final resting place in a cemetery or churchyard.
If you’re arranging a funeral or leaving your own funeral wishes, be sure to discuss the details of the ceremony and how this will impact the duration with your chosen funeral director. If you want to let people be aware of timings and share memories of your loved one, make them a support hub through our network of funeral directors.