Begin Free Online Ordination

Double HeadstoneA double funeral is a single ceremony or service for two people. Such an occasion usually happens when two people die at the same time or near to each other, especially if they’re a couple or siblings. A funeral of this type can be especially appropriate, as it is also symbolic of the connection between the deceased. As with single funerals, these services require making arrangements, but there are other details you’ll need to think about when honoring the life of two people at the same time.

Securing Accommodations

One of the biggest concerns with a double funeral is finding a place that can accommodate the event. When there are two deaths, there may be considerably more attendees than normal. Some funeral homes and houses of worship may not have enough space to safely accommodate all who wish to attend. One possible compromise involves having two services back-to-back so that everyone can be present in accordance with occupancy laws.

Holding Space for Mourners

At funerals, wakes and memorial services, it’s common to allow loved ones to eulogize and share memories of the deceased. For a dual ceremony, there may be more people who want to speak. It’s important to be respectful of everyone’s time as well as make room for mourners. Account for this when coming up with the program. If more time can’t be allocated for anecdotes, consider extending the time for viewing of the body, or finding other times for people to share, including at the gravesite or at a post-ceremony repast.

Focusing on Both of the Deceased

When celebrating the lives of two people, it’s important to prioritize both those people. If a single eulogy isn’t being offered for both people, then there should be at least one for each. Some guests may have had a much closer relationship to one person than the other. If you’re doing a visual slideshow, be sure that both people are represented as much as possible. You don’t want either person to seem like an afterthought in a double funeral.

Merging Customs and Traditions

When organizing a ceremony for two people, you need to account for their individual beliefs and customs. Perhaps the couple came from different cultures or adhered to different faiths. A double funeral should be intentional and careful as to how these differences are acknowledged and incorporated. Some venues or religions may not allow for death rituals from other customs. In this situation, it may be necessary to have multiple ceremonies. It’s also important to be sensitive to the fact that loved ones of the deceased may be disconnected from or ignorant of the other person who passed.

Taking Cues

One famous example of a double funeral was that of actresses Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, who were mother and daughter. Debbie died one day after Carrie passed, and their loved ones opted to celebrate their lives with a single ceremony. According to Debbie’s son and Carrie’s brother, the two women shared a very close bond and his mother expressed wanting to be with her daughter. In this case, not only was a dual service practical, but it also honored Debbie Reynolds’ last wish.

Funerals are time-honored traditions of acknowledging the lives of the deceased and the people they’ve impacted. When two people die at the same time or near each other, a double funeral may be the best way to honor them, especially if they were united in marriage, siblinghood or some other close bond. While most funeral etiquette is generally the same for single and double services, an organizer should make special considerations, especially if there are more guests and multiple cultural and religious backgrounds involved. A double funeral should be intentional in honoring both deceased persons. 

Category: Funeral


Add Your Comment

To post a comment you must log in first.
You may alternatively login with your credentials, below.