How Long Does It Take to Plan a Funeral: Five Things Everyone Should Know

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Do you need to plan a funeral for a loved one? Knowing the process and allocating the necessary time will help you deliver a fitting memorial event.

When a beloved family member or friend passes on, giving them a loving and memorable final farewell is a priority. Making funeral arrangements takes time and careful consideration, and amid grief, the planning can sometimes feel overwhelming. We’re here to help.

Please read on to get the information you need so about the arrangement process so you can plan a funeral that exceeds your expectations.


The planning timeframe can vary.

The time required to plan a funeral depends on the type of service and arrangements you wish to carry out. The more detailed and complex the service will be, the more time will be required for planning. On average, it takes anywhere from a couple of days to a week or more to plan and execute a traditional funeral. Memorial services and celebrations of life allow more flexibility in planning because the body is not present, which allows the service to be carried out at any time.  


Start by considering your loved one’s wishes.

Everybody approaches their own mortality differently. Some people leave a set of precise instructions detailing every element of their funeral. Others might mention passing thoughts to family members or jot some ideas down on paper. In some cases, such as sudden or accidental death, there are no instructions in place at all. Did your departed loved one have any pre-existing arrangements or wishes they want to be carried out?


Were they of a particular religion, faith, or culture?

Some religions and cultures require the body to be buried within a specified timeframe. For example, the Islamic faith dictates that the body should be buried within 24 hours of death. This is something to bear in mind when arranging funerals for those who follow certain religions or faiths. It is essential that the established traditions are closely adhered to and are not overlooked or misinterpreted. If you are uncertain about any practices that may be required for your loved one’s final farewell, ask your funeral director for advice. These professionals have a wealth of experience assisting families with various burial and funeral requests and are knowledgeable about the customs of many faiths and cultures.


There are several considerations when setting the date.

The size of the funeral party, the availability of the funeral provider, and how far people will need to travel are three important factors. If you are planning a smaller gathering with people who can easily get to the funeral, you may be to set the date sooner than a large gathering with many out-of-town guests. To a certain extent, you should try to accommodate those who are traveling across the country or from outside the country. Another factor to consider is the availability of your chosen funeral home and the director. At your first meeting with the funeral provider, you will work together to determine a realistic timeframe to coordinate funeral elements such as the method of burial, the casket or urn, flowers, readings, gravestones, and more. At this time, they will help you determine a date for your loved one’s service and assist you in orchestrating the details so that nothing is overlooked.  


Consider your loved one’s wishes and preferences.  

Work with your funeral director and rely on any pre-planning documents or wishes the departed outlined in advance. From there, it’s up to you to consider your loved one’s personality and preferences to envision a funeral service that would make them happy. If they were jazz fan, for instance, you might want to include some favorite tunes in the service, visitation, or reception, so allow time to compile the music or book a band. The same holds true for eulogies, as speakers will need time to prepare their remarks.


We hope this article about funeral planning has eased your mind about the process. Be sure to ask for support and take things in small, manageable steps, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the details.  


At Evan Smith Funeral Services, our caring, knowledgeable staff is always here to assist you with your funeral plans and to answer any questions you may have. If you need to make arrangements or need more information about funeral planning, please contact us anytime.


About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, grief counseling, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit

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