When loss strikes, the first thing we think about isn’t what we’re going to wear to the funeral, and rightly so. In order to help alleviate some questions, we’ve put together a quick etiquette guide for funerals. Please make sure to check with the family of the deceased to see if there are any special attire or other requests. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 704-637-8882.
We’ve put together a short guide to help you pay your respects with courtesy.
Try to find out the dress code before you attend, so you can be sure to dress appropriately and to the family’s wishes. However, if you aren’t sure, dress in a conservative manner that shows respect for the family and the mourners. For men, a suit and a conservative tie is usually a safe bet. Make sure to wear a belt. Women generally wear a conservative dress, skirt, or pants with a tasteful blouse. Unless specified by the family, try to stay away from bright colors. Stick to more subtle, dark colors such as dark grey, dark blue, or black.
Traditions and customs vary among different communities, ethnic groups, and religions. Ask beforehand about any special considerations.
Knowing what to say can be challenging. Express your sympathy in your own words, however it feels right to you. Kind words about the deceased are always appropriate.
At a service with an open casket, it is customary to show your respect by viewing the deceased and, if you wish, spending a few moments in silent prayer or reflection. The family may escort you to the casket, or you might approach on your own. Viewing the deceased is not mandatory, and you should do what is comfortable for you.
You may pay your respects to the family by being there, offering kind words or gestures, and, if appropriate, even just by giving a hug.
Be sure to add yourself to the register book, using your full name, so that the family can identify you in the future. It’s also helpful to add information about how you knew the deceased — through work, social clubs, school, etc.
Sending flowers, making a donation, or giving a memorial gift are all meaningful gestures to let the bereaved know that they are in your thoughts.
If you choose to bring your phone to the service, take a moment to make sure that it is off. If you are unable to turn your phone off, please make sure that it is on silent, or, at the very least, vibrate.
When visiting a cemetery, these tips will help ensure a comforting and respectful experience.
Most cemeteries have a sign posted near the entrance that lists rules specific to the property. Make sure to follow the rules, observe any floral regulations they might have set, and obey the cemetery hours.
Please do not touch any of the monuments or headstones. This is disrespectful and may damage the memorials – especially older, historical ones. Never remove anything from a gravesite, such as flowers, coins, or tributes that have been left.
If another funeral or service is occurring, give them their space and respect their privacy.
Be respectful to other mourners. Please keep your voice low when having conversations. Make sure that your phone is on silent, OR turned off.