While funerals are held to celebrate and remember the life of the deceased, these events can be very emotionally complex and exhausting. This is especially true for those who may be attending a funeral for the first time or haven’t been to one in quite awhile. Regardless, practicing proper funeral etiquette can be a bit of challenge for everyone since there are many factors to consider…what to wear, where to sit, how long to stay, what to say, etc. To put you more at ease during this difficult process, we’ve provided a quick guide to proper funeral etiquette.
The Fundamentals of Funeral Etiquette
As we look into the basics of funeral etiquette, it’s important to remember your main role as an attendee: to provide comfort and support to the bereaved. During this time, you should always remain respectful and courteous to others around you. With that being said, here are a few fundamentals to proper funeral etiquette:
- What to wear: While black is standard color for funeral wear, it’s not required. Typically, you can wear colors of a darker hue, but it’s wise to stay away from bright, vibrant colors. You want to make sure that your clothing is conservative and doesn’t send the wrong message.
- Where to sit: Usually, the first and second row of seats are for the immediate family members of the deceased. The 3rd row and on are usually safe for other attendees to sit in. However, if you do arrive late, it’s best to quietly find a seat in the back to best avoid interrupting the service. Once you have found a seat, it’s advised that you stay there for the duration of the funeral service.
- Signing the guestbook: This factor is often overlooked by many attendees. However, signing the guestbook is an important way of showing your support and love to the grieving family. During this long and difficult day, it’s only natural for the bereaved to have a hard time recalling everyone who made an appearance which is why the guestbook is quite important. When signing the guestbook, simply write your name and your relationship to the family.
- Arrival time: You should always plan to arrive 15-20 minutes early to the funeral services. This way, you have some time to settle in and interact with the other guests.
By following these guidelines, you will be practicing proper funeral etiquette. However, one last thing to keep in mind is the way death affects each individual person. Everyone reacts to death in their own personal way and, therefore, grieves differently too. At funerals, you will find that are many teary-eyed guests, and there are also guests who are quiet and reserved. It’s important to respect each person’s grieving process and allow yourself your own.