Funeral Etiquette

If someone you know has passed, you may have been invited to attend the funeral service. If this is the first funeral you will attend, it can be helpful to have a certain amount of guidelines to follow in terms of proper funeral etiquette.  We made a list below of some proper American funeral etiquette behavior.

Funeral Etiquette  – Before the Service

After you’ve heard about the passing of someone you know,  there are a variety of different things you are able to do to show your concern and sympathy.  Sending a sympathy card to the family, visiting the home of the family, a short phone call as well as preparing some food for the grieving family. Offering condolences in these ways are all very common.

Sometimes too much can be overwhelming. You should think and even ask what would actually benefit the grieving family.  Sometimes good friends and family visit the house too frequently unannounced, talk for hours on the phone and bring too much food that ends up going to waste. This can be difficult for the grieving family. It is best to contact them, and you may ask what it is they would need at this time.

Funeral Flowers are another great way to show your condolences.  Memorial donations to different charities is also another nice way. You should pay attention to what the family wishes rather than what you think is best. For help choosing the right kind of Funeral Flowers read our article, to buy Sympathy Flowers visit out Online Florist Shop.

Often times, there will be a planned visitation at the funeral home. If you would like to go to the visitation, keep in mind that you’re reason for visiting is to support the grieving family.  Be respectful and brief.  Offers of condolences, prayers and hugs help the family during that moment.  You may view the remains or not, it is up to you. Do this after you’ve spoken with the family.


Funeral Etiquette – During the Service

Traditional solemn funeral services are as widespread in the United States as they used to be. Regardless, there is still a certain amount a etiquette required for this emotional service.  Listed below are some guidelines that should be followed:

Clothing: Wearing black clothing nowadays is not required, although keep it in good taste. Provocative and flashy is never appropriate.  At times, a family will organize a casual graveside service where casual clothing is appropriate.  Aside from circumstances such as this, it is better to steer clear of T-shirts, shorts and jeans when attending a funeral service.  So how should you think of dressing.  Think of a type of business attire instead of everyday casual.

Children: Whether your attending the funeral of a closed loved one or an acquaintance, if you have a young child, you may want to think about the disturbance he or she could cause during the service by crying.  If a child is crying loudly during a tribute or eulogy, this may be very disruptive for all who are attending, and may spark unwanted emotions in those who have a difficult time coping with their loss.  It may be best to leave them in a daycare during the service or find out in the funeral home has a cry room for toddlers or infants.

Funeral Behavior:  While each funeral is unique, some funeral celebrate a person’s life and are happy and joyous, while others tend to be solemn and formal, there are some general behaviors you will see in almost every funeral in the United States.

Generally the family of the deceased has a designated area to sit when the service begins.  When no ushers are present, find a seat behind the first 2 or 3 rows allowing room for the family to sit together at the front.

Many services have music, religious observances and or poetry. These are usually meaningful to the deceased. Pay attention and respect what is being said at that time. Don’t  talk to others during this time.  Turn off any communication devices such as cell phones, pagers. You could also mute these, although answering a text message during a eulogy would be frowned upon.

If you have not been given a funeral program or an order of service, watching the family will give you an indication of what will be happening next. The family is generally the first to leave while the pallbearers escort the body in the casket, if it is present during the service. Remain in your seat until the family has left, and or watch for the signal by the ushers to leave.

Funeral Etiquette  – After the Service

Something a bit interesting can sometimes happen towards the end of the funeral service. People close the deceased who have been quiet and grieving for days sometimes feel a sense of relief and at this time feel more relaxed and smile a bit.  However, this does not mean that others should begin talking loudly.

As the attendees start to head towards the grave site, continue to keep a respectful tone.  This is not the time for children to be running around different graves and making jokes or being loud.

Generally the burial ceremony is brief. Afterwards there may be a funeral dinner.  If you are not part of the family, it is time to say goodbye and leave, unless someone from the family has said that attendees outside the family are welcome to join.

Keep in mind that services vary all over the country. You are present to support the family who has lost a loved one. Being kind and respectful will always guide you to be well accepted in a funeral service.