What Do I Need to Know about Funeral Etiquette?
When a loved one dies, or the loved one of someone you know, it can be difficult to know what to say and how to act. If you are not a family member or close friend of the deceased, the bereaved most likely won't have tons of time to talk to you individually. There are usually a lot of people surrounding them, so try not to feel snubbed or ignored if you don't get much of their time. They will be thankful you are there showing your support.
Etiquette Surrounding the Funeral
- Dress conservatively
- Sit as close the first few reserved rows for the family as possible
- Arrive 15 to 20 minutes before the service is scheduled to start
- If you are late, quietly sit in the back and try to draw no attention to yourself
- Participate in the ceremony when required (stand when asked to, sing along, speak when invited)
- Stay solemn and quiet unless indicated otherwise
- Leave following the seating order and right after the service
- Go to your car to wait for the funeral procession and turn on your headlights to show you are a part of it
What NOT to say
Certain statements that minimize or trivialize the feelings of the bereaved can actually make things worse and increase their pain and stress level. Here are some examples of statements to avoid saying to the bereaved.
- "I understand how you feel."
- "Time will heal all wounds."
- "He or she is better off now."
- "Try to stay busy."
- "Be sure to express your feelings."
- "You will get over it."
- "You can always have more children."
- "You will find someone else."