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What is the Chapel of Rest? 

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The loss of a loved one is never easy. When they’re taken into the care of a funeral home, you can still visit them at the chapel of rest. To make things a little clearer, we’ll explain what the chapel of rest is and what to expect when you visit. 

Wooden casket with white flowers and candles at a funeral home

What is the chapel of rest? 

A chapel of rest is a room or building, usually attached or housed within a funeral home, where you may visit and pay respects to your loved one before their funeral. 

What to expect at a chapel of rest 

Each chapel of rest will vary between funeral homes, but there are several general features to expect. There will usually be a table or stand for the coffin or casket. This is known as a catafalque. There will be seating for you to spend time peacefully with your loved one. A chapel of rest either has no windows or windows covered with thick curtains for additional privacy. 

Should I visit the chapel of rest? 

There is no obligation to visit the chapel of rest if you don’t want to or feel unable to. The chapel of rest is there to allow mourners to visit and say goodbye to their loved ones, if they wish to. However, others prefer not to visit. If you’re unsure about whether you’d like to visit the chapel of rest, it may help to speak with your funeral director, who can advise you.  

If you do decide that you’d like to visit the chapel of rest, contacting your funeral director to arrange a suitable time and date to visit is the first step. They can also advise you about whether a visit would be distressing or harmful – for example, if the death was due to a potentially infectious disease. 

Who can visit a chapel of rest? 

You might be wondering if there are any restrictions on who can visit a chapel of rest. There are no legal restrictions on who can attend, much like a funeral. However, this will ultimately be at the discretion of the deceased’s family or those arranging the funeral, so you should always speak with them first before visiting. You should also contact the funeral home beforehand to arrange a suitable visiting time. 

Etiquette for visiting a chapel of rest 

What to wear to a chapel of rest 

This will depend on whether the family of the deceased have specified a dress code or if there are any religious requirements specified. If these don’t apply, then there is no formal dress code to follow. 

Can I speak at a chapel of rest? 

Yes, you can speak at the chapel of rest. Some mourners use this as an opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones or tell them how they feel. There are no strict rules on what you can or cannot say, but you should always be respectful to the other people in the room by considering your volume, tone of voice, and wording. 

Can I take photographs? 

There is no restriction against taking photographs in a chapel of rest, but you should always check with the family of the deceased and the funeral organisers first to ensure you don’t cause offense. 

Compassionate and respectful funeral services in Bristol 

Arranging a funeral can be a daunting task, especially whilst you’re grieving for a loved one. Additional considerations such as deciding whether to visit the chapel of rest can seem overwhelming. If you have any questions about visiting a loved one before the funeral or about the funeral process itself, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our caring and helpful team.  

To learn more about our funeral packages or book an appointment at our funeral home in Bristol, call us on 0117 956 4796 or email at

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