The Proper Way to Behave at a Funeral

There is nothing we want more for our loved ones than to complete their wishes after death. This could mean a funeral with all of the flowers and details covered, or it could simply mean a small gathering for those they loved to come together and celebrate their life and memory.

However, it is still very common for our loved ones to request a full-service funeral with or without a religious institution. You don’t have to be in the dark; you can prepare online by learning about funeral etiquette from Lantern to help you prepare for your grief and the grief of your loved ones.

What is the Proper Way to Attend a Funeral?

It is helpful to know the proper etiquette when attending the funeral of your loved one. Whether you are in charge of the arrangements or not, it can be difficult to know how to manage your grief and the expectations of your friends and family.

We’ve pulled together some of the most common questions that come with attending a funeral and provided you with the answers you need to be confident in your decisions regarding the proper choices for you and your family.

Should you attend the funeral or simply send condolences? 

Sometimes it can be challenging to know if it is appropriate or not to attend a funeral. Funerals are public events, so a private invitation may not come, and you are still welcome to participate in showing your condolences and assisting in the grieving process. 

However, you should consider your relationship with the deceased and their family and make a decision on whether or not there could be awkwardness for the family if you do attend. In those cases, it is sometimes best to find an alternative way to show you care and send your condolences.

Should I attend the Burial?

It’s important to remember that not all funerals will include a public burial. This could be a private time just for close family and friends, and cremation is becoming increasingly popular. There are also certain religious ceremonies and practices for which a burial would not be a part of the funeral proceedings. It is important to know if burial will be a part of the funeral you are attending.

How will I know what to do at a wake, a memorial service, or a burial if I have never attended one?

Each of these different types of funeral services has a different structure and different ways of public grieving. Pay close attention to the family and those close to the one who has passed to know how to proceed. There are often programs to help guide you through the services and serve as a memory for your grief.

What to Wear to a Funeral Service?

For most types of funeral services, it is only appropriate to wear subdued colors like black, gray, or navy, while in other cultures and in certain religions like the Chinese or Hindus require white. It is important to research and find out if there are any religious traditions that you should follow before attending a funeral.

What should I say at a funeral?

It can be challenging to know exactly what to say at a funeral. Your best options will be thoughtful and caring comments that assist with the family’s and your own grieving. 

Consider the following topics when speaking with the family and those close to them:

  • Speak to the passions of the deceased. 
  • Give condolences on behalf of your family and others who regretfully cannot attend.
  • Offer help and assistance in the coming days. 

In conclusion, attending a funeral has its challenges both emotionally and in following the correct etiquette. Be sure you review this list of the proper ways to behave at a funeral so you can feel prepared and supported to grieve alongside others publicly. Just be sure to be polite and find out about any traditions or special ceremonies before attending.