Attending a funeral can raise many questions about the right way to behave and the funeral etiquette practices that exist. In this guide, we will explore some of the most common tips surrounding funeral attendance, including when to send flowers, what to say, etc. Funeral Etiquette: Here are 15 Tips For Attending A Funeral.
15 Tips for Attending a Funeral
1. Who Should Attend
Funerals are typically open to all as a sign of support, but private services and COVID-19 restrictions may limit attendance. Consult a close friend or family member of the deceased for guidance on your ability to attend, as a large turnout can be a source of comfort for grieving families.
Children are very welcome at funerals, but it’s essential to consider their age and comfort. For older children, discuss their attendance and prepare them for the event. For younger kids and infants, think about their ability to stay quiet and consider having someone to help with their care during the service if needed.
3. Attending Funerals at Different Faiths
Respect the deceased at a religious funeral, regardless of your beliefs. You don’t have to partake in unfamiliar rituals; listen and be considerate of fellow mourners.
Show respect by adhering to cultural or faith-based attire for funerals, generally opting for black or dark colors. Follow any specified dress codes, but remember, your presence matters most.
5. What to Take
Enhance your comfort at a funeral by planning. Recommended items to bring may comprise tissues, money for a charity donation, a sympathy card, a personal story or memory of the deceased, etc. Also, read about what to do when someone dies and leaves a will.
6. Entering the Funeral
Traditional church funeral etiquette dictates that guests should be seated before the coffin’s arrival, while at crematoriums, attendees typically follow the coffin and chief mourners into the chapel. However, funeral traditions can vary, so it’s essential to heed the guidance of the Funeral Director on the day.
7. Where to Sit
In funeral etiquette, the initial rows are traditionally reserved for the family, while the remaining seats are open for all attendees. In larger venues, it’s advisable to avoid sitting too far back to ensure an even distribution of guests and bridge the gap between attendees and the chief mourners.
8. Funeral Service Etiquette
In the course of the funeral service, maintain a discreet and respectful demeanor:
- Arrive promptly, around ten to twenty minutes before the scheduled commencement.
- Silence or power off your phone; avoid answering calls during the service.
- Limit conversations while inside the venue.
- Refrain from consuming food or beverages during the ceremony.
- Participate as appropriate in moments requiring your involvement, like singing or standing.
9. When Should I Exit a Funeral?
Following the chief mourners’ departure, guests will exit row by row, beginning from the front and proceeding backward after the funeral service. If a committal service follows, it might be restricted to immediate family and close friends, so it’s advisable to confirm your attendance eligibility in advance, especially for burials or cremations.
10. Taking Photos at the Funeral
Respect funeral etiquette: Seek permission before taking photos, especially at sensitive events. If allowed, be discreet and avoid selfies to honor the occasion and the family’s feelings. Capture moments after the service, away from mourners, to preserve memories thoughtfully.
11. Posting on Social Media
Respectful social media etiquette during a loss means waiting for the family to announce the death before posting. Offer condolences on their posts. During the funeral service, it’s best to refrain from any social media activity to maintain sensitivity and privacy for the grieving family.
12. How to Offer Condolences
Expressing condolences to someone who has suffered a loss can be a delicate task, as you may worry about choosing the right words. Planning your comments can help you convey your sympathy effectively. Some considerate phrases to use include:
- “I’m sorry for your loss.”
- “He/she will be deeply missed.”
- “You are in my thoughts.”
- “I’m here if you need to talk.”
- “Let me know if I can help you.”
13. Should I Show My Emotions at a Funeral?
At a funeral, there’s no right or wrong way to express emotions, and everyone copes differently. Shedding tears is a natural response, so don’t hold back if needed. Keep tissues handy for comfort. If emotions become too overwhelming, it’s perfectly acceptable to step away from the service for a moment quietly.
14. Should I Send Flowers
Sending flowers is considered a thoughtful gesture. If allowed, prepare funeral flowers 48 hours before the service and deliver them to the Funeral Directors. For an intelligent alternative, send sympathy flowers directly to the family’s home with a heartfelt card, avoiding the funeral service.
15. Making Funeral Donation
Nowadays, it’s common for bereaved families to prefer charity donations instead of flowers. Traditionally, cash donations were collected at the funeral service, but there’s no fixed amount; contribute what you can.
In The End
In times of grief and remembrance, funeral etiquette becomes a poignant expression of respect and support. As we navigate this delicate terrain, let us remember the importance of custom monuments, a lasting tribute to honor the memory of our loved ones.