Losing a loved one is rarely easy. The same can be said for attending a funeral. While funerals are now often seen as a celebration of life, there can be some uncertainty about what to expect when attending your first traditional service. From what to wear to what to say, this guide goes over everything funeral guests should know.
Here’s What to Expect at a Traditional Funeral
Black or dark clothing is traditionally worn during memorial services, though this isn’t a strict requirement in modern times.
- Women: Opt for a nice dress, or pair a dark-colored blouse with trousers or a modest skirt. Hemlines should be kept around knee length or longer.
- Men: You can’t go wrong with a dark suit or buttoned shirt and slacks. Tops should be tucked in, with long sleeves and a collar. A tie is optional.
When in doubt, play it safe with a conservative outfit. Avoid bright colors, jeans, flip flops, or athletic gear.
Funeral attendees often arrive early to speak with other guests and offer their condolences, though this isn’t a requirement. Aim to arrive at least 15 minutes before the official start time. If you are participating in the service, you should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early to go over any instructions with the funeral director.
Try not to be late, as walking in mid-ceremony can be disruptive and often disrespectful to mourners. If you will need to leave early, plan a subtle exit by sitting towards the back.
Every funeral is different, and the tone can vary from somber to celebratory. Take your cues from other guests—are they sitting quietly as they wait for the service to begin? Keep greetings to a minimum and find your seat quickly. However, if there’s a lot of chatter going on, feel free to join in on the conversation.
While not expected, a thoughtful gift can be a kind way to offer condolences. These do not need to be expensive, and can be as simple as a handwritten note and card. Unless the family specifically requests they be omitted, flowers can be a beautiful and simple way to express sympathy. A home-cooked meal that is easy to heat up and serve may also be appreciated.
For guidance on what to expect with the passing of a loved one, turn to Leeward Funeral Home in Pearl City, HI. With a strong focus on grief support, their compassionate staff can help design a funeral or memorial service to celebrate a loved one’s life. For more details about their funeral planning, visit them online or give them a call today at (808) 455-1041.