If you've never planned a funeral service before, there are plenty of questions you may need to ask. One of the most common queries is how long a funeral service should be. Most venues will offer set booking slots, usually of one hour, and many people find it hard to decide how long to book in case they run over or have too much time.
There's no right answer when it comes to the length of a funeral service, but there are some things you can do to get a clearer idea.
Find Out How Many People Want to Speak
The first thing you'll need to think about is how many people wish to speak. Even at a small funeral, you may find that lots of people want to give readings or share their memories. Contact those attending and ask who wants to speak and approximately how long their reading will take.
Consider How Many Are Coming and How Able They Are
Even if you don't have many people speaking, you may need to think about booking a longer service if you expect lots of people to attend, especially if many of them aren't as strong as they used to be. It can take a long time for larger groups to get seated, and you'll also want to leave everyone enough time to pay their individual respects before leaving the venue. If there are lots of older people who take time getting around, it might be nice to book a longer service to ensure you're not worried about running over your booking simply getting everyone comfortable.
Think About the Wishes of the Deceased
Sometimes the individual wishes of the deceased will impact how long a funeral service will last. In some cases, this will happen because the deceased requested a very simple service. However, it's also common for religious services to take longer, especially if you're also having readings from family and friends. If the deceased was religious, allowing time for the proper rites is important. They may also have other wishes, such as the reading of a prepared goodbye or the playing of certain songs.
Discuss the Matter with Your Funeral Director
In most cases, your funeral director will be the best person to talk to. They'll be able to discuss what you need from a service and then put everything in order to gauge the amount of time that should be necessary from the venue. This is one reason why talking to a funeral director before deciding any service specifics is so important.