How To Maintain Proper Funeral Etiquette

Funeral directors receive many questions about funeral etiquette. It is especially difficult for those who weren't close to the family but want to share their condolences and say goodbye to a friend or colleague. Here are four tips to maintain proper funeral etiquette, regardless of who you are saying goodbye to.

You Don't Need to Wear All Black

Unless it has been specifically requested by the family or the deceased, all black isn't a requirement or expected for funerals anymore. People tend to wear darker colors, but they may be blues and purples instead. Some people will even request bright colors to say goodbye to loved ones.

It is best to err on the side of caution when arranging your outfit. If you're not sure, darker colors are better and stick to a conservative style. This is a time for people to mourn the deceased and not talk about your outfit.

Family Sit at the Front

The first couple of pews are usually reserved for family members of the deceased. This will depend on the size of the family, and those who were classed as family by the deceased. If you're just visiting and don't really know the family then step back from the first couple of rows and then seat yourself where you feel comfortable.

If you are a family member and find yourself isolated at the back, you can move forward. When there are people who are not family, you can also politely request that they move to allow you to say goodbye to your family member. Funeral directors are there to help with this if you have trouble or feel uncomfortable asking.

When the room is full and people are standing, funeral directors will also look out for those with a disability or unable to stand for long periods of time. Do give up your seat if you find there is someone unable to stand for the whole service.

Don't Worry About Greeting Everyone

You don't need to make the rounds to greet everyone at the funeral. Make sure you share your condolences to the main family members, saying hello and maybe discuss how you knew the deceased. During the wake, you can then chat to people you know.

There will be some who want to know who you are, so just remain polite and remember this is a day for people to remember the deceased. They just want to know more about the loved one's life.

As a family member, you may not be able to get to speak to everyone. You certainly don't need to get into a deep conversation with anyone. A "hello" and "thank you" is often enough. 

Try talking to a funeral home, such as Michels & Lundquist Funeral Home, for more information.