Attending a funeral service is often a difficult experience, but it can be more stressful if it’s your first time in one. Being unsure of what to do or wear is normal, but understanding some of the basic rules of etiquette will help you remain respectful. Here are a few tips for honoring the deceased and their family during the event.
Funeral attire should typically be modest, black, and at least semi-formal. Avoid flashy outfits or excessive makeup and jewelry.
Some services may have special attire requests given by the family, such as wearing a specific color or service uniforms. These requests are generally given directly to those involved, but if you’re unsure, you can ask the funeral home in advance if special requests were made.
Choose proper seating.
Seating arrangements are unspoken rules of funeral services. The front rows are reserved for family members, while close friends are seated directly behind them.
Acquaintances, including coworkers or school friends, should sit closer to the back out of respect.
Try to speak to the family during services.
Unless you are part of it, don’t crowd the grieving family before the services begin. If you want to offer your condolences, you may do so at the visitation or viewing held before the funeral service.
You can speak to them if you see them greeting people as they arrive at the cemetery or funeral home, but keep it brief, quiet, and kind.
Leave early or arrive late.
You should plan to get to the funeral home in time to find a parking spot, sign in to the guest booklet, and find your seat. If you arrive late, you might delay or interrupt the service.
Once the ceremony has begun, don’t leave until it’s over, as the family could feel disrespected. The only exceptions are to quiet a crying child, go to the restroom, or if you are having a hard time maintaining your composure. If you need to leave early, keep in mind that attending the burial is typically optional.
With almost 90 years in business, Thomas Funeral Chapels in Rochester, NY, offers beautiful funeral, memorial, and burial services customized to individual needs and faiths. Their options include green burials with processes approved by the Green Council, caskets, urns, and keepsakes. View their service offerings online, or call (585) 663-3837 to speak to a compassionate funeral director.