How Long To Wait Before Arranging Funeral Service

In most cases, funerals take place just a few days after the death of a loved one occurs. But is this the proper funeral etiquette? 

Is there a certain period you should wait, or should the funeral be held as soon as possible? 

What determines the length of time between the death and a funeral, how quickly should the relatives be contacted, and the service be planned? 

We’ll discuss this all and provide an answer to the question of how long you should wait before arranging a funeral service in this post from the Neptune Society blog. 

How Long Does It Typically Take To Make Funeral Arrangements? 

Making the necessary funeral arrangements for a loved one can typically be accomplished within just 3 hours when working with an experienced and knowledgeable funeral home. By working with the funeral director, you’ll be able to find the best timeline to fit your and your family’s needs.

 While planning arrangements, make sure to take advantage of service items purchased directly from the funeral home. This is a surefire way to expedite the process further, as these items are usually ready to see and purchase on-site at the funeral home. 

But, under the funeral rule, the family has the loved ones to purchase items or caskets from any provider of their choosing. Urns, caskets, and other necessary service items do not to be purchased through the funeral home. Choose whatever service items work best for you, your family, and the spirit of your loved one. 

What Is The Average Time Between a Death And A Funeral In The United States? 

On average, American funerals take place within one week or less from the death of a loved one. With help from a funeral home like the Neptune Society, a week is often enough time to make the necessary arrangements and contact the relatives who should be in attendance. 

With today’s cutting-edge preservation methods, families have more time to prepare and get the funeral in order than they did just 50 years ago. This new technology allows families to make the necessary arrangements and pick a day for the funeral that makes sense for all parties involved. 

Thanks to modern preservation methods, funerals can be held up to two weeks after the date of death. If the body is cremated, the family can wait as long as they’d like to make the funeral perfect for honoring their loved ones. 

If your loved one is cremated, you should still aim to hold the funeral within a month of their death at the latest. Suppose burial or cremation is performed before the funeral. In that case, it can be shifted into a memorial service that is appropriate to hold at any later date when the deceased’s family feels comfortable. 

On What Days Are Funerals Typically Held? 

American funeral homes are often open seven days out of the week and allow services to be held on any day of the week. In the United States, Saturday is the most popular day for a funeral due to the 5-day work week and generally high availability among most people on Saturdays. Sundays tend to be the least busy day for funeral homes and funeral services in the United States. 

Is It Appropriate To Delay A Funeral? 

Funerals aren’t typically delayed due to the importance of the event. Most people will shift around prior obligations to attend the funeral of a loved one. But, if a loved one is coming from out of the state or country, funerals can be delayed. 

Other appropriate reasons for delay include that the death occurred out of the deceased’s home state or country, police investigations, weather events, and power outages, which are all things that are typically out of the family’s control. 

If you need to delay the funeral of your loved one, cremation is the most appropriate method to follow. Most modern preservation techniques do not allow the deceased person to be presented beyond two weeks from the day of death. 

Need Help Planning A Funeral Service? Contact The Neptune Society 

At The Neptune Society, we work with families of the deceased to plan the funeral that best honors the spirit of their loved ones. Planning a funeral is incredibly stressful for anyone involved, and our team members understand this.

However, we aim to make the funeral planning service as easy as possible so you can focus on remembering your loved one while we handle the heavy lifting. For help planning a funeral service in the United States, contact the Neptune Society today. 


The Neptune Society is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.

Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.