Unspoken Funeral Etiquette Rules for Guests
Helpful Tips for Proper Guest Funeral Etiquette
When a loved one has passed away it is important to celebrate their life and legacy. Mourning, making funeral plans and attending the celebration of life ceremony is a sad and uncomfortable situation for everyone involved. However, we must remember that there are certain rules pertaining to etiquette, such as what to wear, where to sit and how to communicate with the family in mourning. AG Peters & Son, a family owned & operated funeral supplier, highlights 10 fundamental funeral etiquette rules for guests to follow. This guide will show you how to communicate properly with the grieving family, while displaying dignity & respect during the service.
10 Memorial Service Etiquette Tips & Suggestions
Keep Talk Short & Simple. It can be easy to get tongue-tied or uncomfortable around those in mourning. If you’re unsure what to say, keep it simple: “my condolences to your family” or “my thoughts are with you” are safe and thoughtful.
Avoid Insensitive Remarks. This may seem obvious, but phrases like “they’re in a better place” or “I know how you feel” are unnecessary and can come off as rude.
Don’t Ask Questions or Share Advice. Do not ask how the person died, tell the family what you would have done differently or offer medical advice.
It is Not a Fashion Show. Stick to the traditional mourning color of black, but grey, blue and eggplant are also acceptable. This is not a time for bold fashion choices, but subtle and tasteful.
No Pictures. In the age of social media, it seems nothing can happen without being posted on Facebook or Instagram. Even if you’re reconnecting with long-lost family or friends, avoid taking pictures together, especially in front of the bereaved.
Never Answer your Phone. Make sure it is on vibrate or silent. If it goes off during the funeral let it go to voicemail and return the call afterwards.
Offer Assistance, but No Empty Promises. If you’d like to offer to help the family, be specific, but don’t make empty promises. Go above simply saying “I’m here if you need me” and offer to bring the funeral flowers back to their home or drive a family member to the airport.
Pay Attention to Seating Arrangements: Certain seats will be marked as reserved for family members. You don’t want to be asked to move because you’re sitting in a bereaved family member’s seat.
Have a Speech Prepared: If you’ve been asked to make a speech, prepare one in advance and do not stray from the words you’ve written. Avoid jokes or long-winded stories that are not appropriate.
Be Patient: Remember, the funeral is just one of the first steps in the grieving process. Be patient with their timeframe to heal. Be conscious of special dates and holidays that can be especially hard to bear alone. Offer to spend time with your loved one, take them out to lunch on a shopping afternoon to the mall.