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April 8, 2020 Beyond The Dash

Timing: What is the Best Day of the Week to Hold a Funeral?

Picking a date that works for mourners

Timing: What is the Best Day of the Week to Hold a Funeral?
The one aspect of funeral planning that cannot be prearranged is the date of the funeral. So what is the best day to mourn? (Getty)

Death doesn't work on anyone else's schedule. When a loved one passes away, those closest to them must jump into action to ensure a funeral is held in a timely manner. For these people, other responsibilities often must go on hold until the funeral has passed. 


Among the many decisions that must be made is the date of the funeral service.


Even if the deceased's arrangements were pre-planned, timing is one of the few decisions there that need to happen after death has occurred.


Infographic: What is the best day of the week to hold a funeral? (Beyond the Dash)


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Most funeral occur on weekdays


Afternoon, weekday funerals are most popular, but most funeral homes also offer weekend services. Some funeral homes and parishes do not offer weekend services. If you specifically want a weekend funeral, be sure to check that your funeral home or venue can accommodate. 


Choosing the day of a loved one's funeral is often more to do with the convenience of mourners than convention. (Getty Images)


When to hold a funeral


Many recommend holding the funeral about three days after death. Others say to give more leeway, since grieving people often need more time to plan for many things. Most would agree, however, that waiting much more than two weeks for a funeral is less than ideal.


There are no rules about when to hold a funeral, so the best day of the week is what works best for you and your loved ones. 




  • Consult with your funeral home




If you are working with a funeral director, they will be able to tell you the days of the week that are available. If you're unsure, ask your funeral director if they can hold an appointment for you until after you've had a chance to consult with your loved ones. 




  • Consider closest loved ones




Within the first few days after death, someone will have to decide which day of the week to hold the service. One of the first things to consider is the guests. 


There's no way to compare the pain of loss, but there are usually a handful of family members and close friends who should be considered when organizing a funeral. Consider the availability of the deceased person's partner, close relatives, and best friends in the planning of the funeral. 


If most of these key loved ones are unavailable on certain days, try to choose a day that accommodates. For families working 9 – 5, a weekend funeral is usually best. If the community of mourners is of retirement age, a weekday funeral may be most convenient. Leaving important people out can cause unnecessary pain, especially in grief.




  • Consider out-of-town guests




If there are guests traveling to the funeral from afar, certain days of the week may be better than others. Monday, Friday and weekend funerals are usually best for those commuting in from out of town. 




  • Remember the timing of events




For many families, a funeral is a one-day event that includes a service and reception. Some funerals are longer, with multiple events spanning days, and even months. For example, if there is a wake held the day before the service, consider the timing of the two events together as you plan.


Picking a date


When planning the date and time of a funeral, day of the week is a practical concern. The date that accommodates the most key loved ones, and your venue, is the best day for the funeral. 


Ultimately, the funeral is just the first step in a journey through bereavement. On that day, surround yourself with loved ones, and pay tribute together to a life well lived. 

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