Funeral Etiquette for Guests Attending a Funeral
Although it is often made public, a funeral is a very sensitive affair. Losing a loved one is painful, especially for the immediate family and close relatives. As a friend or colleague of the deceased, you would want to pay a visit and pay your last respect. To do so without making the bereaved feel any worse, you must understand and follow proper etiquette.
To attend the funeral or not?
A funeral is not an invite-only event unless the family decides to ask for privacy and specify those who can only join them. You may attend a funeral if you happen to know the deceased. This is your opportunity to celebrate their life, pay your respects, and offer your sympathies to the bereaved. It is also acceptable to attend a funeral even if you do not have a personal relationship with the deceased as long as you do with any member of the family. This is your way to offer support and say that you are there for them at the most trying time of their lives. If you know the deceased or the bereaved family, but if your presence may cause discomfort in the surrounding, it is best to choose not to make an appearance at all.
Can you bring the kids?
If the children are close to the person who died or to the bereaved, you may bring them to the wake, considering that they are well-behaved and respectful. Infants and toddlers, however, are discouraged to attend a funeral, unless they belong to the immediate family of the deceased.
What to wear to a funeral
Before you set off to a memorial service, there are a couple of guidelines on what to wear.
The best recourse is to choose a conservative style and colour for your outfit. Not all funerals may be a black-tie affair but it is still best that you come in your most presentable dress. Take a cue from the funeral directors in Leeds when they say that choosing an outfit for a funeral is the same when you are going to a business meeting or a job interview.
You should not wear anything too revealing, too casual, or too wild – practically anything that will draw attention to yourself.
What to bring to a funeral
Like with other occasions, guests may bring or send gifts to signify their expression of condolences. The commonly acceptable gifts to the bereaved family include a bouquet of sympathy flowers, a thoughtful card, and a charity donation.
You may also offer a homemade meal or a care gift basket if you are close to the family. Losing a loved one is truly painful and it can be too much to handle. Any form of help, kindness, or care that you extend to the grieving family will be very much appreciated.
What to say in a funeral
Suffering a loss can bring a circus of emotions. If you do not want to make the pain of losing any worse for the bereaved, you should carefully choose your words. Do not say anything more than what is necessary. An expression of your sympathy and a simple phrase to remember the dead are likely enough.
Death is a painful and sensitive topic. That’s why everyone attending a funeral needs to be watchful of their conduct.