When attending a funeral, being aware of proper funeral etiquette will help you to navigate the event in a way that conveys respect and care. Following these etiquette guidelines will also help you feel the most comfortable and allow you to offer the most support to those grieving at the funeral you are attending.
While black is traditionally the most common color to wear to funerals, there are other options for traditional funerals. Neutral colors are also acceptable, such as gray, dark blue, or brown. Children generally do not wear black, but can wear one of these neutral, or muted colors.
You will also want to take the family’s religious and cultural customs into consideration. In certain cultures, bright colors are both acceptable and common. The family may actually request that people wear certain colors, such as the favorite color of the deceased.
In most cases, it is not appropriate to wear a hat, or athletic shoes. Jewelry and accessories should be kept minimal and tasteful. The main idea is not to wear anything that will draw a lot of attention to yourself. The way you dress for a funeral should be understated and tasteful to convey respect.
Important Notes for Arrival
It is very important to be on time and enter the funeral location quietly. If you must arrive late, it is important to wait until the processional has begun to enter. If possible, it is best to enter from the side aisles, not the center aisle. Seats toward the front are reserved for close family and friends, so this should be taken into consideration when choosing where to sit.
It is important to completely silence or turn off cell phones or devices which might make noise during the service. Phones should also remain out of sight during the service. Being present and giving eye contact to those speaking during a funeral conveys respect. Photos should not be taken during a funeral service. It is appropriate to take photos after the funeral, outside of the service, but it is important to be mindful of those grieving who may be around you.
A common question is whether to bring children to a funeral. The first thing to consider is whether the child will be comfortable attending. The child’s age and temperament should be taken into consideration. Younger children who may have trouble sitting still and staying quiet should probably not attend a funeral service. Some families choose to bring a babysitter to watch children in another room, so that they can then participate in any post-funeral activities.
Older children who attend should sit closest to those they feel most comfortable with, such as a parent who can comfort them.
Comforting the Mourning
Two rules for comforting those mourning is to acknowledge their pain, and to keep it short and simple when offering words of condolence. Show care without trying to put yourself in their shoes. People deal with grief in many different ways, so never say, “I know how you feel.” Instead, you could say, “This must be really hard.” It is also nice to share what the deceased meant to you personally. Sharing a short, fond memory can be a comfort to those grieving. It is important to take your cue from the mourning. If they are at a place where they are sharing memories, smiling, and laughing, then it would be appropriate to share light or humorous stories. If the grieving are visibly hurting, short words of comfort and support are preferable.
Flowers & Gifts
Sending flowers to the loved ones of the deceased can be a wonderful way to express sympathy. The most appropriate place to send the flowers is to the recipient’s home. Generally, the family will decide on flowers for the funeral service. There can be exceptions to this, as sometimes family appreciates additional arrangements to help beautify the church or space where the funeral is being held. If you are unsure, send them directly to the recipient’s home. Sending flowers can also be an especially nice gesture if you are unable to attend the funeral. Gifts are also a way to support the family and let them know you care. Ideas include gift baskets of food, memorial gifts, and gift cards for meal delivery services.
Check Back In
In the days, weeks, and months following a funeral, the grieving often feel alone and isolated. People slowly stop calling, bringing meals, etc. It is a nice idea to check back in after some time has passed. Perhaps a month after the service, a phone call, handwritten card, or visit can be a nice way to show support and care.
Following these guidelines for funeral etiquette will help you to honor the deceased and show respect to the mourning. At Found and Sons Funeral Chapels Cremation Service, we want to support you during this difficult time. Please reach out if you