Exercising the proper etiquette at a funeral is crucial to paying your respects, offering condolences, and showing your support to the family and friends of the dearly departed. Learn a little bit more about what proper funeral etiquette looks like in this brief guide.
Offer Condolences Respectfully
Offering condolences with respect is an important guideline for proper funeral etiquette. Traditionally, funeral guests will walk up to the close family and friends of the deceased and show their support. You can do this by shaking hands and saying a few kind words. Or you might give them a poem, a small gift, or a nod. Any of these are perfectly acceptable ways to offer your condolences.
However, it’s important to ensure you’re not overwhelming your loved ones. Don’t ask them lots of questions or spend too much time trying to chat with them. You also shouldn’t hug them unless they’re in a place to receive that sort of affection. Show sympathy and offer support with modesty and you should be fine.
Wear the Appropriate Clothing
It’s also essential to ensure that you dress appropriately for funerals. Most of the time, funeral dress codes require all-black, semi-formal attire. If that’s the case for the ceremony you’re attending, dress accordingly. That said, funerals don’t always have the same rules about what to wear.
Some people might ask you to wear their lost loved one’s favorite color. Others may prefer that funeral guests wear bright colors, or they may not be particular about what you wear. The important thing is to select your clothing based on what the family has asked for in honor of their loved one.
Show Proper Decorum
This wouldn’t be a well-balanced discussion about proper funeral etiquette if we didn’t mention the importance of showing good decorum. All this means is that you behave appropriately and with respect through the service and committal ceremonies. Silence your phone, try not to get up from your seat unless you need to, and remain quiet.
You may also choose to provide extra support to friends and family of the deceased, if appropriate. This could look like offering to take pictures for them. It might also mean helping them with food, drinks, and passing out service pamphlets. You could even offer to help them put together acknowledgement cards after the fact.
In any case, funerals are ceremonies that should be approached with the utmost respect. Hopefully, this brief guide sheds some light on proper funeral etiquette so that you can offer condolences and support in the most appropriate way.