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What to expect from a chapel viewing and how to approach it

What to expect from a chapel viewing and how to approach it

A chapel viewing is a very personal way to pay your respects to someone who has passed. They can also seem a little daunting if you don’t know what to expect.

What is a chapel viewing?

A viewing allows mourners the opportunity to share their grief and provide support to one another. It will take place before the funeral or cremation services and the body will be displayed to allow friends and family to pay their respects.

A chapel viewing is less formal than a funeral service. For many people, it allows them to have a final and lasting way to connect with their loved one in a quiet and tranquil space before the formalities of a ceremony. It will usually take place at a chapel of rest.

What to expect at a chapel of rest

A chapel viewing can be a painful experience for some people. That is entirely natural and understandable. It can help to remember why this very personal experience has become a part of funeral traditions.

Also, remember there is no requirement for you to visit and see the person who has passed. If you do not feel comfortable doing so then that is perfectly acceptable.

A viewing is a very discreet, respectful and private moment. Privacy will be maintained. Peace and quiet are absolutely fundamental. If you feel that your grief may be too much to bear, then this is completely natural, but you may wish to express it away from others. If you are hesitant, you might wish to have a chat with the funeral director first or attend with someone you feel comfortable with.

The body will have been prepared by the funeral director. The person will always be clean, neatly dressed and groomed. How this is done will depend on the wishes of the person themselves and their family, but also their religious beliefs. Almost all chapels of rest in the UK are multi-faith.

If there has been a long time between the death and the viewing, the person may have changed. The funeral director might sometimes use a covering or a veil.

There will be a stand on which the coffin is placed. Seats will be provided so that mourners can spend a little time with the person. How long you choose to spend will usually be down to you, though the chapel may have other families visiting their own loved ones after your own.

Can I take a photograph at the chapel of rest?

The taking of photographs can help some people with their grief and mourning. It could also help children process the idea of death when the idea of visiting in person is too much. However, it can also be extremely distressing for many and has the potential to cause offence.

Above all, you must have permission from the person’s next of kin and the people organising the funeral. The rule of thumb is simply not to even consider taking a photograph.

If you have any questions about the chapel viewings that we offer as part of a Far and Beyond funeral package, no matter what it may be, then please do not hesitate to contact our friendly, experienced and empathetic team.