End of Life

How Long Should a Eulogy be in Words at a Funeral? The Ideal Eulogy Length Explained

Curious about the ideal eulogy length? We'll teach you how long should a eulogy be in words in this in-depth article.
Nathaniel Felder
3-5 minutes

Handling the eulogy part of a funeral is usually an honor for the speaker. You get to recount the life of the deceased and comfort everyone who has gathered to say their farewells. However, such an honor does not usually come at an easy price, especially if you're new to it.  This can be a great cause of stress as the funeral nears closer and closer. 

You have to learn how to face the crowd, conjure a good eulogy, determine the eulogy length, and avoid tearing up during the speech. You also want to make that moment special, heartfelt, and memorable. Generally, the task can feel overwhelming, but once you get a good grasp of what to do, everything becomes much easier. And we’re here to help you navigate one key element of the eulogy today: length.

One of the crucial aspects of giving a eulogy speech is finding the right length. You don't want to bore the audience with long talks or make it too short that it feels like you didn’t properly honor the lost life.

So, how long should a eulogy be? As a rule of thumb, 3-6 minutes is enough time to deliver your eulogy speech. However, the length may vary a little bit depending on some factors. Find out all you need to know about how long a eulogy should be and more, here in this article. First things first - what is a eulogy speech, exactly?

What is a Eulogy Speech?

If you have ever been to a funeral, you should remember the part where somebody, usually the deceased's family, talks about the life of the person who has died. That is the eulogy speech. A eulogy is one of the major parts of a funeral. It is simply a speech that you give at a funeral to honor the deceased. 

Notice the word- honor? It means you leave out the unpleasant parts of the person's life when giving the eulogy. The speech recounts memories but is also a way to comfort all the people gathered at the event. You don't want to leave the crowd wailing at the end of your speech. The aftermath of giving a eulogy should be the audience relishing the fond memories of the dead.

Ideally, a eulogy should be short, covering a few highlights of the deceased life, especially the fond memories. A good way to do that is to answer the following questions;

  • What made the person special to you?
  • What impact did they have on your life?
  • How will you remember the deceased?
  • What did they love doing?
  • What funny experience did you have with them?

A eulogy is usually given during the pre-funeral or the wake service by the priest, a family member, or a very close friend. A eulogy speech is also made at a memorial service during the remembrance of a loved one.

Why Finding the Ideal Eulogy Length is So Important

This is a question we get asked all the time - how long should a eulogy be in words? How long should a eulogy be? How long are eulogies on average? We are here to explain why finding the ideal length of a eulogy is crucial to giving a funeral speech.

Apart from curating the eulogy, it is crucial to pay attention to the delivery time because you don't want to bore the audience with long talks or make it seem like you didn't put much thought into it. Finding the ideal length of the eulogy will help you connect with the people around you and have their attention while the speech lasts. 

That said, how long are eulogies that are considered ideal? There is no perfect eulogy length. The speech can be long or brief, depending on some factors, which we will show you in the next session.

So, How Long Are Eulogies on Average? How Many Words Should a Eulogy be?

Now, to answer the internet-breaking questions- How long should a eulogy be in words? How long are eulogies? How many words should a eulogy be? How long should a eulogy be? And others like them;

Earlier, we stated that there is no perfect eulogy length. However, a eulogy should be done, within 3-6 minutes, which is about 500 to 2000 words. That is so that you can have enough time to bring up fond memories of the deceased and also not bore the people around with a lengthy speech. This is not to say the speech cannot be shorter or longer than the given range. A eulogy length may vary based on different factors. 

Below are some of the things that determine how long a eulogy should be at a funeral;

How much time you are given 

Most funerals are usually planned such that all activities on the list get allotted some time. As much as the families are for honoring their loved ones, they also like to keep it short and meaningful. Therefore, you have to make do with whatever time you are given. You can even make the speech shorter, as long as it represents the deceased well enough and comforts the family.

The wishes of the family

Sometimes, even when you exhaust the time allotted for the eulogy, the people gathered for the funeral or memorial may urge you to go on because your words are soothing. In that case, you may have to keep going for a while before ending the speech. You may even have to go beyond 10 minutes before leaving the podium.

The type of event

As stated earlier, a eulogy can be made at a funeral or memorial service. Funeral eulogies are usually shorter than memorial eulogies because there is more time to do the latter. So, if you are giving a eulogy speech at a funeral, aim at making it very brief. 

Memorial eulogies may also be short because more than one person may give the speech. The eulogy length, in this case, may be determined by the time allotted to you. However, if you are the only one giving a speech, the eulogy can be longer.

Online or physical memorial service

Sometimes, memorials are held online so that friends and families of the deceased, far and wide, can participate in the event. When you are giving a eulogy speech at a virtual memorial service, it is better to make it brief. Meetings done online are usually less lively than the ones done physically. For that reason, you should keep the eulogy short and meaningful.

Physical memorial services draw more engagement from people because the gathering is physical. That means you can connect with them better, even with a lengthy eulogy. 

Other factors that may determine how long a eulogy should be at a funeral or memorial include;

  • What you have to say about the deceased.
  • The formality of the event.
  • The atmosphere in the crowd when delivering the eulogy.
  • A change in the order of the event that may shorten the time allocated for everything.

Additional Tips for Finding the Perfect Length of Eulogy & Writing a Speech to Remember

Now that we have discussed the factors that determine how long a eulogy should be, we have some tips to help you find the perfect eulogy length and curate a memorable speech. See them below;

  • Always stay on the positive events in the life of the deceased
  • Be honest, don't insult the dead by telling untrue stories.
  • Read the mood- know when you chip in some jokes and when not to.
  • You can be emotional but try not to tear up when the speech is still underway.
  • Gather information from other friends and family of the deceased for a beautiful eulogy.
  • It is usually better to rehearse your eulogy speech before delivering it.
  • Ask about the time limit once you get the honors to deliver the eulogy.
  • In all you do, remember that a eulogy is rendered to celebrate a beautiful life. So, keep it simple, comforting, and honorable.

How Long Should Eulogy be at a Funeral in Words? Wrapping Things Up

To summarize our article on how long should a eulogy be in words?; Ideally, a eulogy should be between 500 to 2000 words or 3-6 minutes. However, it can be longer or shorter depending on factors such as the time allotted, the family's wishes, the crowd's mood, event formality, and more. Hopefully, all the tips listed above will help you find the ideal eulogy length when you are ready to curate one.

Looking for creative ways to remember a loved one? Eulogies are not the only way to honor a loved one. You can create a tribute website through Forevory to preserve the memories of your friends, lovers, families, and other important figures in your life. That gives everyone who loves such people the opportunity to grieve together from anywhere in the world.

With Forevory, you can upload an online memorial guest book, voice notes of the deceased, online memorial photos and videos, online memorial articles, online family trees, and more to keep the deceased in everyone's heart. Find out more about other Forevory features on our site to select the best ways to keep the legacy of your loved one alive.

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