In the United States, funerals are most commonly held on a weekday (Monday-Friday) in the late morning or early afternoon. However, Saturday and Sunday funerals are also possible.
Despite the challenges they present, weekend funerals, including Sundays, are becoming more popular.
Below, we discuss the factors to consider when scheduling a funeral on a Sunday, as well as the benefits and challenges associated with weekend funerals.
When Funerals Be Held on Saturdays and Sundays
Historically, many religions did not allow Sunday funerals, as they conflicted with scheduled worship services. Today, though most religions allow Saturday and Sunday funerals, they must be scheduled outside of normal service times. As such, Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon funerals are the most common.
If you are interested in having a weekend funeral, it is important to discuss the weekend availability of your venues early, as not all churches, funeral homes, and cemeteries are willing to perform weekend funeral duties.
The Challenges of a Sunday Funeral
While there are undoubtedly benefits associated with scheduling a weekend funeral, there are also some challenges that must be considered, including:
- Availability of the Church:
If you are interested in having a religious funeral, or are hoping to have a pastor or priest officiate the service, their availability will likely represent the biggest constraint to your scheduling.
Both the church and pastor/priest will likely have worship services on Saturdays and Sundays. The funeral will therefore have to be scheduled around these events.
2. Cemetery Closed:
In the United States, most cemeteries are owned and operated by their municipality, meaning that the employees are city employees. Therefore, most cemeteries are typically open on weekdays during normal business hours.
If you wish to have the burial, as well as the funeral, over the weekend, you will likely be required to pay additional fees (if the cemetery is willing to open at all).
For cemeteries where weekend hours are not available, many people will have the funeral on Sunday afternoon and the burial service (for close family only) on Monday morning.
3. Availability of the Funeral Home:
Like the cemetery, most funeral homes try to work weekdays during normal business hours. However, as weekend funerals are becoming more prevalent, more funeral homes are opening their hours to include weekends and holidays.
Most funeral homes still charge higher rates for weekend services, as they are typically paying their employees overtime for weekend work.
As discussed above, weekend funerals are typically more expensive than weekday funerals. In addition to the typically higher fees charged by the funeral homes, cemeteries, and churches; many commercial companies, such as catering companies and flower shops, will also charge premium rates.
Therefore, if you’re planning a funeral on a budget, a weekend funeral may not be fiscally possible.
The Reason a Funeral Usually Takes Place on a Weekday
A funeral is the ceremony or service held after a person’s death, and usually coincides with the person’s burial or cremation. In the United States, funerals are typically held 3-7 days after the death of the deceased.
In cases where the body is not embalmed, the funeral may be as soon as 24 hours after the death. Though most people generally like to have a funeral as soon as possible following the death, it is possible to wait weeks or even months until the funeral if necessary for legal or personal reasons.
Funerals are most typically held on weekdays during normal working hours. The most common funeral times are late morning or early afternoon to allow attendees to comfortably travel to the funeral and/or go to work for part of the day.
In the United States, Mondays and Fridays are the most popular days for funerals, as these days allow friends and family from out of town to spend several days with the family of the deceased, and allow attendees to either start their weekend early or end it late.
The 3 Things to Consider When Having a Funeral on a Sunday
When picking a date and time for a funeral, there are several key questions to ask to ensure that the deceased’s family and close friends are able to attend. These questions include:
1. Are family members or close friends attending from out of town?
If you have important family members or friends traveling to the location of the funeral from out of town, it may be necessary to push back the funeral slightly or consider a weekend/bank holiday option to give them time to arrange travel.
2. Is there an upcoming event you may wish to avoid (holiday, birthday, anniversary, etc.)?
A funeral, as well as the anniversary of a funeral, is typically a morose day. It is therefore pertinent to ensure that the funeral does not coincide with holidays or important days for family members or close friends of the deceased. The last thing you want is to overshadow a typically-happy day with grief.
3. Are family members or close friends working during the proposed funeral time?
Though we hope that our employers will give us bereavement time off for the funeral of a loved one, it is not always the case. It is therefore important to pick a day that allows family members and friends to request time off from work and rearrange their schedules.
You don’t want to rush a funeral, only to have someone close to the deceased unable to attend.
Though there are challenges associated with weekend funerals, they are nonetheless becoming more popular in the United States. As the prevalence of cremations and private burials continues to rise, it is likely that the number of funerals held on weekends will continue to rise as well. For more information on planning and attending a funeral, see additional articles at https://wilsonsfuneraladvice.com/.