Are you about to attend a funeral and you’re uncertain about the proper funeral etiquette?
No one wants to create an uncomfortable situation during a time of grief. That’s why it’s important to understand what’s expected of anyone who attends a funeral. Regardless of how close you may have been to the departed or their family, etiquette is something everyone should follow.
We’ve put together a guide to help you act with grace during the upcoming funeral.
Wear Somber Clothing
Choosing what to wear to a funeral starts with a palette of dark colors. You’ll want to avoid any bright or vibrant colors. Instead, stick to traditional colors such as black, gray, and white.
A little bit of color isn’t a bad choice as long as it plays more of an accented role in your clothing.
As for style, you’ll want to dress up a little for the funeral. Think of it in terms of business casual and wear something you’d feel comfortable in at work. Avoid any ripped jeans or open-toed shoes as these are not proper funeral apparel and they give a sloppy presentation at such an event.
Express Your Condolences
None of us ever know what to say at a funeral, but the fact remains that you should say something to the grieving family. You don’t need to say a lot. A few kind words go a long way in sharing their sorrow.
Even if it’s difficult, it’s good to speak to the family at least once before you leave the funeral. This helps them to know that they’re not alone and that they’re surrounded by people who feel the same sadness.
If you’re unable to attend the funeral, make sure to send a condolence card in the mail to let the family know you’re thinking of them. It’s a small sentiment that can make all the difference.
Explain the Funeral to Children
Children are smart but sometimes they’re unable to grasp the severity of death. If possible, leaving them home with a babysitter is a good way to keep them from causing disruptions.
Otherwise, you’ll want to take some extra time to explain to them what their demeanor should be during the funeral. By trying to explain it to them, they’ll have an understanding of what’s expected of them.
It’s acceptable to bring a book or a toy as long as it doesn’t make a lot of noise. Even though they’re grieving, the family understands that children still need entertainment. Don’t forget to take children outside of the funeral service every once in a while, to give them a break from the somber atmosphere.
Ask About the Departed
A funeral is all about honoring and remembering the deceased person. It’s okay to ask about them or to share stories about them.
Hearing these kinds of things brings a lighter tone to the funeral. It allows people to think about something other than their grief.
Don’t hesitate to share your own stories and remember to ask about everyone else’s stories. It’s a great way to offload some stress when everyone focuses on the good memories.
Send Flowers or a Donation
There’s always been a tradition of flower arrangements at funerals. These days, some people believe that flowers are outdated and that the family never knows what to do with them afterward.
However, many professional florists believe that funeral flowers are still as important as ever, which you can read about at https://www.800florals.com/care/in-lieu-of-flowers.asp. Without beautiful arrangements, the funeral service feels empty. This is why it’s still a good idea to send a bouquet or arrangement to help fill out the ceremony.
If you’re against the idea of sending flowers and don’t know what to bring to a funeral, a great alternative is to donate in the departed’s name. The family can give you more information as to where to donate.
Sign the Register
Every funeral includes a register book. This allows people to sign their names and share any extra stories with the family. It gives you a chance to leave a small sentiment to the family that you might not have the chance for at the funeral.
It also helps the family remember who attended and to whom they need to send thank you cards.
The register will be by the family’s side as they continue to grieve. Add something meaningful, kind, or humorous to help them during that process.
Even if you’re not close to the grieving family, there are plenty of ways to help them during these difficult times.
If you see a child starting to make a fuss, offer to distract them for a bit. Offer to bring food to the funeral so that the family doesn’t need to worry about that part of the service. You can even simply offer to listen if they need someone to talk to.
These small acts of kindness are a great way to support someone in this situation, so try to find creative ways to help them.
Once the funeral is over, the family still needs to deal with their grief. Many people forget to check up on them but it’s never a good idea to ignore the family once everyone goes home.
A letter or a phone call helps the family remember that they’re not alone, even though the service is over. Try to visit the family when possible and offer to cook them dinner.
It doesn’t take much to make a big difference in the grieving process.
Following Funeral Etiquette Helps Honor the Departed
By following these rules of funeral etiquette, you’ll have no trouble paying your respects to the deceased. You’ll ensure that the focus is on the family and their grief, rather than anything else.
Keep in mind that every family is different. Some may not include some of these traditions in their funeral service. When in doubt, contact the family and ask what is acceptable.
Look through the rest of our Lifestyle section for more advice and tips on all kinds of topics that’ll help you in your everyday life.
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