Funeral Etiquette: The Do's and Don'ts of Attending a Funeral
With so many different cultures and religions, it’s nearly impossible to create a universal guide for attending a funeral service. With that being said though, we can offer advice on funeral etiquette and how to act while attending a funeral service. Generally speaking, funeral etiquette or social graces are general rules to help navigate different social situations.
For the most part, using common sense should help you through almost any situation. However, unless you have attended several funeral services, it can still be a nerve racking experience. This guide will help you understand the basic rules for appropriate funeral behavior including: what to say, how to act and what to avoid. Hopefully, the knowledge we share with you will prepare you for the funeral service and ease any concerns you may have.
What should I say?
You might find yourself struggling with the right words to say when offering condolences. The best advice we can offer is to keep it short and always be sincere. Chances are, the family will be speaking with many different people over the day so they won’t be able to give you a lot of time. There is no real rule about what you should or shouldn’t say. When in doubt, a brief expression of condolence such as, “I’m so sorry for your loss” is perfectly fine. If you feel up to it, share some short and positive stories about memories you shared with the deceased.
What shouldn’t I say?
Remember, you’re attending the funeral to say goodbye to the deceased and help support the family through their grief. Much like how there are many things you should say, there are also things you should avoid. When people are unsure about what to say, they often try to help reassure the bereaved. Saying things like “you’ll feel better soon” or “they’re in a better place now” should be avoided. The fact is, only those experiencing grief can truly understand how they feel.
Is there something I can give the family?
If you want to do something to offer your support and sympathies to the bereaved, sending flowers is always encouraged. For our firm, every service includes a Book of Memories memorial tribute site for the deceased. Within here you can send flowers to the family’s home or the funeral home, light a memorial candle, purchase a memorial tree or make a donation in the deceased’s name.
Can I bring my children to the funeral?
A funeral service is not a place for children to be playing and running around. If you bring them to the funeral home, be mindful of your children and ensure they are being respectful. Make sure that they are not running around, climbing or playing around monuments, or causing a disturbance to other visitors.
I’ll be reconnecting with extended family, any advice?
If you will be seeing extended family you haven’t seen in some time, it may be tempting to bring photographs to share. Even though the chance to reconnect may be exciting for you, remember, that you are at a funeral service and there to support the family and say goodbye. When you get the chance to finally catch up, make sure that you are not overly loud or jovial. The last thing you want is the family of the deceased to see you interacting like you’re at a party or family reunion.
Should I follow up with the family after the service?
After the funeral, it is a meaningful show of support to follow-up with the family, even if it’s in a small way. If you have not already done so, you can send the family a sympathy gift, note or card. In addition, check in with them several weeks after the service to see if there is anything they need. Even if you know they are okay, it is always best to extend the offer and continuously demonstrate your compassion for the family.
Here To Assist You
If you have any questions about funeral etiquette or how to behave a funeral service, please feel free to contact us
. A member of our staff would be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have. You can also visit the Funeral Etiquette
section of our website to learn more.