If someone that you know passes away, you will no doubt want to pay your respects to the deceased and attend their funeral. But attending a funeral means knowing how to act and what you should say.
You may have a lot of questions about attending a funeral. What should you wear? Can you take children with you? What should you say to the grieving family of the deceased?
Understanding the correct etiquette is essential when it comes to attending a funeral.
In this article, we’ll let you know ten things that you should know before attending a funeral.
1. What Should You Wear?
When attending a funeral you should dress in a subdued manner. Wear darker colors such as blacks, browns, and dark blues.
Make sure that your outfit is conservative. Men should wear a jacket and a tie, while women should either wear a suit or a dress.
Some funerals may have a specific dress code. Unless it is communicated otherwise, you should wear traditional, formal, and subtle clothing.
2. Arriving at the Memorial Service
When you attend a funeral or memorial service, do everything that you can to be on time. When you enter the funeral venue do so as quietly as possible.
You may be met with an usher who will let you know where to sit. If there is nobody to let you know where you should go, remember that the front rows are generally reserved for the immediate family and the deceased’s closest friends.
3. What Should You Say?
Knowing exactly what you should say to the family of the recently deceased is difficult. You will of course want to express your sympathy.
To start, offer your condolences to the family. If you feel comfortable doing so, you may also want to share a fond memory that you might have of the deceased. Make sure that the memory that you share is appropriate for the situation.
Talking with fondness about memories or the good personal qualities of the deceased will be comforting to the family during this difficult time.
4. What Should You Not Say?
There are certain things that you should avoid saying to the family of the deceased. Avoid saying anything that will minimize their loss. Don’t make any comments such as “I’ve been there myself” or “they were suffering a lot, it was probably for the best.”
Similarly, don’t bring up the cause of death. Wait for the family to mention it.
5. When Should You Visit the Deceased’s Family?
When you learn about the death of someone that you’re close to, it is appropriate for family and close friends to attend to the home of the bereaved family members to offer up support and sympathy.
The recent loss of a loved one can be an overwhelming time for any family. You should show your support by offering to help with food preparation, receiving guests, the service preparations, or child care.
By offering to help out in this difficult time you will be able to provide a great deal of comfort for the grieving family.
6. Keep Moving
Visiting the family of the deceased either at home or at the funeral service can be particularly emotional.
If there is a line to view the deceased in their casket or to speak with their closest family members, it is important that you allow the other mourners an opportunity to pay their respects too.
Keep the line moving at all times. There will be more opportunities to speak with the family at a later point.
7. Sending Flowers
It is important that you follow funeral flower ettiquette. Flowers are a fantastic way to show your sympathy to the family of the deceased. Flowers are a beautiful gift and will last for longer than the funeral service.
You can either send your flowers directly to the home of the grieving family, or you could send them to the funeral home.
At some funerals, the family may request that you make a donation to a specific charity instead of sending flowers. If the family express their wishes in this way, you should honor them by donating money instead of buying flowers.
8. Turn Off Your Cell Phone
Cell phones need to be turned off or turned onto silent during the service. Checking your phone for notifications may be distracting to those paying their respects to the deceased and it could be considered rude.
If you have an urgent call or message that you must respond to, quietly exit the service.
9. Should You Take Your Children to the Funeral?
You may wonder whether or not you should take your child to the funeral. Allowing your child to attend with you will help them to say goodbye to your lost loved one.
It is essential that you don’t force your child to attend if they don’t want to. Instead, encourage them to come along.
If you are taking your child to a funeral, you should prepare them by talking them through what will happen at the funeral and what they may see.
10. Giving Gifts
The loss of a loved one can be a heartbreaking and challenging time for a grieving family. You may want to give a gift to the family to let them know that you’re thinking of them.
Think about how draining their current situation is. Giving a gift of food will be appreciated as it will take the pressure off them while they deal with the stress of the funeral.
If there are young children in the immediate family, it can be good to think of them and give them small age-appropriate gifts such as a stuffed toy or a book.
Attending a Funeral
When it comes to attending a funeral remember to think about the immediate family of the deceased. Do everything that you can to show them that you’re thinking of them in this difficult time.
Remember that there are other mourners at the service and do everything you can to ensure you allow others to grieve and share their condolences too.
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