Funeral Etiquette

8 Tips to Respect Those in Bereavement

Posted by Liz Taylor Jan 10, 2017

Last weekend, we said a sad goodbye to my Grandfather and were able to celebrate his 88 wonderful years of life. I made several observations throughout the funeral – good and not-so-good.

Please keep the following etiquette tips in mind when going to a funeral:

  1. My family and I were moved when we were driving to the burial site and cars pulled over on the side of the road and stopped their vehicles (much like we do when an ambulance is speeding down the road). I never knew I was supposed to do this and we were so appreciative of the kind people behind the steering wheels paying respect to my Grandpa during the funeral procession.

  2. I teared up when I saw the floral arrangements and thoughtful cards from friends. This was a major wake up call for myself to send more flowers and handwritten notes when other friends and family members are going through a tough time or a loss. I was so touched.

  3. Wear proper attire. Though your presence is so appreciated, dressing up for the somber occasion shows respect to the family. Jeans and tennis shoes are not appropriate attire.

  4. Cracking jokes is not a good idea. Everyone has the best intentions at a funeral, but one’s way of lightening a mood can be extremely offensive to those mourning. If you can’t say anything nice, it’s okay to not say anything at all.

  5. Keep your comments to the family brief. Again, people have wonderful intentions, but be aware of the length of time you take up with family members. It’s okay to share a brief memory or story of the person you are grieving, but keep the focus on the person who has passed and not yourself.

  6. Have breath mints on hand. Funerals invite close conversations and your personal space will be limited. Make sure you are confident in your breath.

  7. Take your used tissues with you after the service. My mom and I were grossed out by the dirty Kleenex left in the pews. The church and janitor should not be responsible to clean up after you.

  8. Please remember to turn off your phone. A cell phone rang during the funeral and many commented on how inappropriate it was.




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