Funeral Service Etiquette 101: The Do’s And The Don’ts

What you say or do in a funeral service can have an impact on those who are grieving. That is why it behooves you to get to know the standard and accepted funeral service etiquette so that you won’t be a nuisance when you attend one. Funerals are a part of this world and at any one time in your life, you would be called upon to attend one. You should know what is and what is not expected of you when that time comes. Here is introductory information on how you need to conduct yourself in funeral services.


The Don’ts

  1. Don’t say the usual clichés to the bereaved such as “Don’t worry, he’s in a much better place now,” or “you will be able to get over the pain in due time.” If those words come out of your mouth, it would convey your insensitivities to the sorrow that the remaining family members are undergoing.


  1. Don’t ask about the details relating to the person’s death, unless the family members volunteer relevant information about it. Certainly, you shouldn’t complain about the medical care they were provided for by the hospital or similar medical services. That should be a private thing that you shouldn’t bother with, unless you have the capability and the authority to correct the wrongs that have been done, if there are any.


  1. Don’t be compelled to wear black. Sure, black is the traditional dress to wear on a funeral or memorial service. But times are a-changing. Even funeral services are now being transformed into celebrations of life where attendees are requested to wear lighter colored clothes. However, do remember that a funeral service is not the place where you need to make a bold fashion statement. It is the departed one that should be the center of attention, not you. Certainly, overly casual wear such as collarless T-shirts, slacks, denims, flip flops and shorts are a no-no.


  1. Don’t answer a call while the service is going on. It is very inappropriate for you to answer your cell phone in a formal situation where everybody is expected to be quiet and attentive to what is going on. If you really need to take that call, just excuse yourself from the funeral service and go out of the room where you can conduct your call privately.


The Do’s

  1. Give a call to the family members within 15 minutes of learning about the death of their loved one. This would show them that you are really sincere in conveying your condolences the moment you knew about the death. And then go to the funeral parlor as soon as the body is fully prepared and ready for visitation on the funeral parlor or the church.


  1. Pay your respects to the dead in this manner:
  2. a) Once you arrive at the funeral parlor, approach the casket and stand in front of it. Of course, you need to take your turn if other people have been there before you. In that case, you can approach the family member to show your sympathies. But once you are in front of the casket, take a minute or two to say a silent prayer or your last words to the dead. You should not rush while doing this so that it wouldn’t appear that you are in a hurry. After that, you can quietly walk away to give room for other visitors, and go back and talk to the family members, if they are not busy talking with other sympathizers.

b) Sign the register, if there is one. This register usually comes with the service that is provided by the funeral               parlor. You can do this right after viewing the casket or at any time while you’re there. But you shouldn’t leave             the parlor without signing the register. The register will help the family members determine the people that                 they need to show their gratitude to after all the funeral rituals are over.


c) Just go along with the flow respectfully. There are times when the funeral service is done on the funeral parlor          or   the church. Some conduct the service at the grave site. Whichever is true in your case, there will be a funeral          procession. Just follow the flow and don’t rush things. Get your car in line with the procession and once at the              grave site, park it in the appropriate place. Some families will also host a reception after the burial. If so, just                leave quietly after the body is interred and go where the reception is to take place. The reception after the                      burial should give you ample opportunity to encourage the family members before you leave for home.