When planning a funeral service, you might feel a little stressed about determining which day of the week to hold it. It may seem like having the funeral on a Saturday or Sunday is an obvious choice. Still, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of having a funeral on the weekend before committing to it.
It is possible to have a funeral on a Saturday or Sunday in the United States, although this option is likely more costly than having the funeral on a weekday. Additionally, waiting until the weekend may be against some religions, depending on the day of death.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about having a funeral on a Saturday or Sunday in the United States. This way, you can determine if this is the right choice for you and your departed loved one.
Can You Have a Funeral on a Weekend in the US?
You can have a funeral on the weekend in the United States, but it will most likely be more expensive than a weekday service. Still, the added cost may be worth it if it means more people can attend.
Weekend funerals are not uncommon in the United States, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. Most people work Monday through Friday and may not be able to take time off of work to attend a funeral. If you have a funeral on the weekend, you’re more likely to accommodate everyone who wants to come.
This is especially true if the departed had many loved ones who live far away. Most people can take a weekend off to fly to a different state to attend a funeral, but this isn’t realistic for many midweek funerals.
However, it is important to note that a weekend funeral tends to be more expensive than a weekday funeral. Many people want a service on a weekend so more people can come, which drives up the cost. Additionally, many cemeteries and funeral homes are closed on weekends and would therefore need to make an exception for the service.
Pros and Cons of Having a Funeral on a Weekend
Let’s look at the pros and cons of having a funeral service on the weekend, so I can help you decide if you’re on the fence about the decision.
- More people will be able to come. Not everyone can take time off work to attend a funeral service, and most people are on a typical work week schedule in the United States, which means they have Saturdays and Sundays off. Therefore, one of the primary draws of having a funeral on the weekend is that more people will be able to attend.
- You can choose the time of day. Most people who have funeral services on workdays have to have the service in the afternoon or evening so more people can attend after they get off work. If you choose to have the service on the weekend, you can have it in the morning.
- You can make it a full-day affair. If you’re planning on having a funeral reception after the service, it may be easier to have the funeral on the weekend, so you don’t have to rush through the reception due to the late hour. For more information on planning a funeral reception, I suggest reading my step-by-step guide.
- Some religions forbid it. If the departed was religious, you will have to consider this before deciding to have the funeral service on the weekend. For example, Catholics tend to believe that Sundays should be reserved for worship, and Jewish people recognize Saturday as the Sabbath and don’t believe in anyone working on this day.
- It may be more expensive. Many people want the funeral service for their loved ones on the weekend so more people can attend. Therefore, some funeral homes increase the price for a weekend funeral than a funeral held on any other day of the week. Additionally, some commercial companies, such as caterers and floral shops, have a premium charge for weekend services.
- The venue may be booked. Again, the popularity of weekend funerals may make planning your service more difficult. More popular venues are likely to fill up quickly for the weekend, so you might be out of luck when finding a time slot for the service of your loved one.
- The wait for the weekend might be too long. If your loved one dies on a Sunday night or a Monday, it may be too taxing to wait to hold the funeral service for the following weekend, especially if you’re not having the body embalmed. Furthermore, some religions require a quicker turnaround for the service.
- Religious personnel are busy on weekends. If you want a priest or minister present for the funeral service, you might be out of luck on weekends. This religious personnel is, understandably, busy on weekends due to their regular schedule of religious services, especially Sundays.
- Some cemeteries are closed on weekends. It isn’t unusual for a cemetery to be closed on weekends. In this case, you would have to pay to have someone to work overtime and come in on the weekend to accommodate the burial. The cemetery’s opening hours are one important factor to consider when choosing a cemetery; for more suggestions, I recommend reading my guide on choosing a cemetery.
- The funeral reception will likely be more expensive. Many people choose to have a funeral reception directly after a service, so loved ones can gather and remember the loved one in a more informal setting. These events are often catered and take place in a public area, and the fees for catering or renting the spaces are likely higher on the weekend than on a weekday.
Ultimately, whether or not to have a funeral on the weekend is up to the wishes of the departed and their family. There are pros and cons to having a service on a weekday and a weekend, so there is no wrong decision.
How Long Should You Wait To Have a Funeral?
You might choose not to have a weekend funeral because your loved one died earlier in the week, and you don’t want to delay the service for too long. Most American funerals take place within a week of death, so it isn’t unreasonable to wait until the weekend, but how long you wait largely depends on the departed’s religious beliefs.
The following table outlines the beliefs of various religions concerning when a funeral service should take place:
|When the Funeral Service is Held
|Within 24 hours of death
|Within 1-2 days of death
|Within 8 days of death
|Within 3 days of death
|As soon as possible
|As soon as possible
Additionally, how long you wait to have a funeral service depends on if you are having the departed’s body embalmed or not.
If you don’t want to have your loved one’s body embalmed, you might be under a time constraint on when you can have the service based on the laws in your state.
For example, states such as Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, and more have a 24-hour waiting period that requires the body to be buried, preserved, or embalmed within 24 hours. In this case, you might not be able to wait until the weekend to have the service if you want the body present. For more information, I recommend reading my article on if embalming is required by law.
If you don’t want the body present for the funeral, you have more flexibility regarding when the funeral service takes place. Additionally, if you choose to have the body embalmed, you have approximately two weeks to plan a service.
What Is the Best Day To Have a Funeral?
The best day to have a funeral is whichever day is easiest for you. Truly, planning a funeral is already such an overwhelming process that choosing a day of the week shouldn’t cause you any additional stress. With that being said, let’s take a look at each of the days of the week to help you determine the best option.
- Monday. Monday is a good option for having a funeral because people from out of town can take a three-day weekend and use Saturday or Sunday for travel days to get to the location of the funeral. Additionally, those taking the day off of work will likely miss less on a Monday, as everyone is getting back into the swing of things after the weekend.
- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. These middle-of-the-week days aren’t ideal for getting off work to attend a funeral, but sometimes, you don’t have a choice. Most people are willing to take whatever day is necessary off to attend the funeral service for a loved one, and most employers understand this need. Funeral services are more affordable on these days because they are less popular than weekend services.
- Friday. Friday is a good choice for a funeral service because people can take the day off of work and have a long weekend, which means they’ll have more flexibility if they’re traveling from out of town.
- Saturday. Saturdays are the most common days for funerals because almost everyone has Saturdays off work, so they can attend the service. However, because of their popularity, Saturday services tend to be more expensive.
- Sunday. Sundays, even though they are also the weekend and people usually have them off work, are the least common day to have a funeral service. This is because many people view Sundays as a day of rest; in many religions, it is forbidden to work. However, many funeral homes and religious leaders are willing to make an exception for a funeral service (and at an additional cost).
The day of the week that you choose to have a funeral also depends on when your loved one dies and if you choose to have them embalmed or not. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that not everyone who wants to come will be able to, and you won’t be able to accommodate everyone. You should do what is best for you and whatever your loved one would’ve wanted.
Before you schedule the funeral, ask the people you most want to be at the service when it is best for them. It would be a shame to schedule the funeral on a day that someone important to the loved one can’t attend. Then, try to do what you can to accommodate as many as possible, but don’t take it personally if someone can’t make it.
Additionally, I suggest avoiding scheduling the funeral on a holiday or an important anniversary. The last thing you want to remember on your wedding anniversary, for example, is the funeral of a departed loved one. Additionally, few people will want to spend their holiday at a funeral, including funeral home staff, caterers, and other working professionals you’ll need for the event. Of course, you can’t control when a loved one dies, so don’t panic if it is close to a holiday.
Many people are more than understanding about inconveniences when it comes to attending a funeral service, so there isn’t a reason to stress too much about when the service takes place. The people who can make it will, and those who can’t will send their love in a different way.
Remember that you’ll need a few days to plan the funeral, especially if the death was unexpected. The time of death and the time it takes to plan will likely influence what day of the week the service is on. For more information, I recommend reading my article on how long it takes to plan a funeral.
If you want to have a funeral on a Saturday or a Sunday to allow more people to attend, you can. However, you should know that some religions and state laws have requirements on how long one can wait after death to have a funeral service that may interfere with your wishes to have a weekend funeral. Additionally, funerals on a Saturday or Sunday will likely cost more than a funeral on a weekday.