Funeral planning is not an easy task for anyone, and the person charged with planning a funeral may juggle the wishes of the deceased as well as the surviving family, while still considering budget, religious customs and traditions, and so much more. If you need to plan a funeral, note a few tips that might help you make some of those decisions, so the process is as easy as possible for you.
How long after a death should a funeral be held?
Some religious customs may state that a funeral be held within a day of death or within a certain timeframe, but otherwise, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when making this decision. For one thing, the surviving family may want a few days to grieve privately before needing to face others at a funeral. You may need to allow time for other family members and friends to fly in from out of town, if the person has extended family, friends abroad, and the like. You may also want to avoid planning a funeral the day of a holiday so that people don't need to disrupt their plans, or associate the holiday with a death. Otherwise, it's usually good to have the funeral very soon after someone's passing so that friends and family can say their goodbyes and pay their respects.
What if the family prefers a private funeral?
If you need to juggle the privacy of a family with a person's circle of friends and others, consider a private funeral, just for the family, and then another type of occasion for everyone else. A wake is like a funeral that may not include the remains of the deceased, but photos, eulogies from friends, and perhaps even a meal and refreshments. This can allow the family the privacy they want for the actual funeral and burial, while still allowing others to pay their respects.
What if you cannot involve a person's remains at a funeral?
In some cases, a medical examiner may need to retain the remains of a deceased person, if they died under mysterious circumstances or if a crime was involved. A person may also already be cremated before a funeral could be planned. In those types of cases, work with your chosen funeral director to include photographs of the deceased. If you think friends and family would expect a coffin of some sort, you might include one that is empty and closed; this would be at your discretion and the preference of the surviving family.