How To Behave At A Funeral

How To Behave At A Funeral

Funerals are always a difficult thing to go to, especially if you don’t have much experience of attending, but understanding proper funeral etiquette will make sure that you are ready. With this guide, you will feel more comfortable in a tough situation and can properly show your respect to the deceased.  

What to take to a funeral

Different funerals can be very different, so make sure you read any information you have been given so you know what to expect. For most funerals, it’s a good idea to take with you:

  • Tissues
  • Flowers
  • Charity donation
  • A story or memory that you can share about the deceased
  • Sympathy card
  • Sunglasses or umbrella

If the family has arranged a wake for after the burial service or cremation then you could ask the family if there will be catering. If there won’t be, ask if they would like you to bring along a dish for everyone. 

What to wear to a funeral

Black is traditionally worn to a funeral, due to its sombre nature. Some people don’t like this and prefer people to wear bright clothing to treat the funeral as a celebration of the person's life. If you aren’t sure, ask the person who is organising the funeral so you can get it right. 

In most cases, men should usually wear a dark-coloured suit with a collared shirt, black tie, and smart shoes. Women should wear a dress or suit in a dark colour, smart shoes and a jacket. 

Guests are usually expected to dress formally. Don’t wear casual clothing, like jeans, hoodies and trainers. You should also dress for the weather, as churches and cemeteries can be cold, windy places. 

Who can attend a funeral?

A funeral service is usually open to anyone unless the family has said that the ceremony is private. The funeral service will usually be a chance for loved ones, friends, and others who knew the deceased to pay their respects. If the funeral is private or only for family, make sure to follow those rules. 

What to say at a funeral

It’s common to struggle with what to say at a funeral, but even if you find it uncomfortable to speak to the family of the deceased, it’s appropriate to say something to express your sympathy for their loss. 

You don’t need to say anything meaningful, as all you really need to do is offer a few sympathetic and kind words, or share a fond memory of the person you are saying goodbye to. You should be careful not to say anything negative or make light of the death. 

If you’re really stuck for something to say, try:

  • I’m sorry for your loss
  • They were a wonderful person and will be really missed
  • You and my family are in my thoughts and/or prayers
  • I’m here if you need anything

A funeral is difficult for everyone involved, so it’s natural to feel strange and uncomfortable. As long as you behave in an appropriate way, you’ll get through it.