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Tips on Etiquette

Courtesy never goes out of style.

 

Do you know what’s expected of you at a funeral?

Do you know what’s expected of you at a funeral?

At some point in everyone’s life, funeral attendance is inevitable. Knowing the proper etiquette will help you feel more comfortable in this situation. When someone you know passes away, you want to show your concern for those affected—but you may not be sure what to say or do. That feeling of unease is perfectly natural. The most important thing to remember is that the primary reason for your presence at the funeral, memorial service, or visitation is to demonstrate your sympathy and support for the family members of the deceased. While the accepted customs of dress and behavior for funerals may have changed over time, good manners are always in fashion. In this section, we’ve provided some helpful information that addresses the most common concerns people have about funeral etiquette.

What to say

What to say

It can be difficult to know what to say to the family of the deceased to express your sympathy. Start by offering your condolences. If you are comfortable, share a fond memory of the deceased. In this difficult time, sharing the joy of the deceased’s life can help comfort the bereaved. For example, “I was so sorry to hear of Mary’s passing. She was always such a wonderful friend to me."

What not to say

What not to say

Try not to make comments that minimize the loss, such as "It's probably for the best, because he was suffering so much," or "I've been in your shoes myself." Statements like these will not provide comfort to the bereaved. Wait for the family to discuss the cause of death. Do not bring it up yourself.

What to wear

What to wear

When attending a memorial service or funeral, dress in subdued colors, such as dark blues, grays, browns, and black. Be sure to dress simply and conservatively. Any jewelry should be subtle and traditional.

What to do upon arrival

What to do upon arrival

When attending a funeral or a service, it’s important to be on time. Try to enter the facility as quietly as possible. If there are no ushers present, keep in mind that the first few rows of seats are usually for the immediate family and close friends. Acquaintances should seat themselves in the middle or towards the rear of the facility.

Keep the line moving

Keep the line moving

Visitations and funerals are very emotional, especially when speaking with the family of the deceased. If there is a line to speak with the bereaved and view the casket, be conscious of keeping the line moving. After passing through the line, be sure to stand to the side to continue the conversation, or allow the family member to continue to greet guests. The family will often be more available to speak following the conclusion of the service.

Cell phone usage

Cell phone usage

Mobile devices should be turned off or silenced completely during the service. Checking your phone is noticeable and is a distraction to those who are trying to pay their respects. If you must return a message or receive a call, exit the service quietly.

Children

Children

Allowing a child to attend a memorial or funeral service can help them say goodbye to a friend or loved one. It’s important to not force a child to go, but instead, encourage them to share in this tribute with the rest of the family. Before attending, help prepare them by explaining what they might see at the service.

When to visit the bereaved

When to visit the bereaved

Upon learning of a death, it is appropriate for family and close friends to go to the home of the grieving family to offer sympathy and support. Offering to assist with child care, food preparation, receiving visitors, or service preparations can provide immense comfort during this difficult process. If you aren’t a family member or close friend, the funeral service is the best place to visit the family to offer your condolences.

Sending flowers

Sending flowers

Flowers are a wonderful way to express your sympathy to the family of the deceased and they can bring comfort at a difficult time. This meaningful gift can be enjoyed during and after the funeral service. Floral arrangements and plants can be sent to the funeral home to be present at services, or they can be sent directly to the home of the family.

How to offer help

How to offer help

Assisting with everyday tasks can ease the burden for those who have suffered a loss. Caring for pets, driving children to school, running errands, or picking up groceries are wonderful ways to assist a grieving family.

 


 

Whether you need to plan a funeral for a death that has occurred or are seeking to preplan arrangements, our staff is always available to assist you. Please contact us anytime.

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