people and mourning concept - woman with red roses and coffin at funeral in church

5 Funeral Etiquette Rules All Guests Should Follow

In the United States, almost three million people die per year. Most loved ones are laid to rest in a funeral or memorial service.

It’s not always an easy occasion, but it’s helpful for processing grief. Different families have different ways of grieving. But there are some things you should know if you’re attending a funeral.

Read on for 5 funeral etiquette rules to follow.

1. Be on Time and Watch Where You Sit

Arrive about 10 minutes early to a funeral. If you’re expecting a huge crowd, arrive even earlier. The first few rows of seating are for the family.

If you’re unsure of where to sit, ask an usher. If you arrive during a procession, wait in the back until it’s over. Then wait for instructions from an usher about where to sit.

2. Watch What You Wear

The funeral is about the person who passed away. Don’t make it about you by wearing bright colors and statement jewelry. Always dress in a modest fashion.

For men, a black or dark-blue suit is appropriate. For women, a pantsuit, dress, or skirt are all fine. Black is no longer an obligatory funeral color when it comes to clothes. Be tasteful and you’ll do fine.

Read more about funeral attire here.

3. Wondering What to Say?

Many people feel awkward around mourning family members. It’s okay to be yourself and talk to the family. But keep comments short and sweet.

Not sure how to do that? A simple, “I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family,” will suffice. Avoid insensitive comments such as, “I’m sure she’s in a better place.”

When talking with others at the funeral, avoid telling jokes or talking too much.

4. Avoid Social Media!

In today’s world, everything is memorialized through social media. Don’t give in to temptation. Don’t take photos or post anything about the funeral on social media.

Leave your phone off and in your purse or pocket. Don’t look at your phone or talk on it at all. It’s disrespectful to be otherwise occupied during a funeral.

After the funeral is over and you’re away from the burial site, it’s okay to get a few photos of friends and relatives.

5. Don’t Take Offense

The funeral is for family, friends, and invited guests to mourn a lost loved one. Many families choose religious ceremonies. Don’t take offense at an overt show of faith if you’re not religious.

It’s not necessary for you to participate. You don’t need to feel bad for not reciting prayers aloud or taking communion if it’s offered.

Stand and sit when the family does. Listen to the service and take time to remember the deceased.

Follow Funeral Etiquette

If you’ve never been to a funeral, you’re all set with the proper funeral etiquette. Dress in conservative clothing, arrive on time, and pay attention to where you’re sitting. Be yourself and offer condolences to the family.

Avoid all social media and stay off your phone. Take time to reflect and mourn and don’t worry about what type of service you’re attending.

Do you have questions about planning a funeral? Please contact us here.