Funeral Etiquette

Funeral Etiqutte:
Proper etiquette when attending funerals

Funeral Etiquette

While attending a funeral service, guests are expected to act a certain way to ensure everyone can properly pay their respects. When people are courteous to one another, then everyone can grieve in peace.

Below we’ve compiled some funeral etiquette tips to keep in mind.

What to Wear to a Funeral

More often than not, guests are expected to dress in black or dark, modest clothing to a funeral service. Unlike other gatherings, it is best to choose clothing that lets you blend in. Formal wear that is clean and pressed is best. Also, as long as your clothing doesn’t have bright colors or crazy patterns on it, you should be fine.

Men tend to wear dark suits or slacks along with a neutral dress shirt. Women tend to wear modest dresses, business suites, or dress pants and a sweater.

However, in some cases, the family will inform guests of an alternative dress code. Some families prefer guests to wear bright colors to celebrate the deceased’s life or to wear more casual clothing. It’s always best to read through the funeral announcement before choosing your attire.

What to Say at a Funeral

At a funeral, it is polite to pay your respects to the family of the deceased. What you say will depend on how close you were to them. For instance, if you don’t know them very well, a few kind words such as “I’m so very sorry for your loss” will suffice. However, if you were close to them, a warm embrace may offer the most comfort to them.

Don’t worry about saying a lot on the day of the funeral. The family will be unable to give you their full attention since they will be talking to other guests or will be processing their grief. Of course, sometime after the service, it is nice to reach out to the family and see how they are doing.

When speaking at a funeral, use a quiet voice. Avoid discussing topics about your own life and instead focus on saying kind words about the deceased.

What to Do at a Funeral

While at a funeral, be attentive of what’s expected of you. If the family gives any instructions, quietly follow them. The day is about them and the deceased, so guests should make things run as smoothly as possible. 

It is completely understandable if you cry. Funerals are for paying your respects to the deceased after all. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, it is okay to quietly dismiss yourself from the service so long as you don’t draw attention to yourself. 

Be sure to avoid any possible distractions. This includes turning your phone off or on silent and leaving it in your pocket or purse during the entire service. Likewise, if you have a persistent cough, bring cough drops to help.

If you have young children along, make sure to set expectations ahead of time. Let them know they are expected to be quiet and polite during the funeral. If your child becomes fussy or loud, it is best to take them outside until they calm down.

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