When someone you know passes away, one of the best ways to honor their life is by attending a funeral service or ceremony. However, it is sometimes unclear on the proper protocol for services or cemetery visits, and many people don’t know what to expect.
Understanding funeral and cemetery etiquette will help you feel more confident that your support is appropriate and welcome. The following guidelines may also help you comfort those closest to the deceased loved one.
Go. Attend the funeral service. Mourners will remember your selfless gesture. You’ll bring them comfort even if your stay is brief.
Arrive early. Sign the guest book or registry with your full name and connection to the deceased. The family may use it to send thank you cards after the service.
Dress appropriately. Conservative, darker clothing most suitably expresses grief. Refrain from bright, trendy dress and casual wear like sports or beach attire.
Observe proper seating. Sit near the front if you are a family member. Close friends sit or stand behind the family; coworkers or acquaintances further back.
Behave respectfully. Tears are normal when grieving. If you have difficulty managing your emotions, gracefully exit until you regain control. Use common courtesy and discretion. Respect the somber occasion.
Express condolences. Greet the family after the service concludes. Tell them you share their sorrow. Focus on them rather than on your grief. They will remember and appreciate your compassion.
Pay respects. Stand near the casket, urn or memorial display for a moment of silence to remember the deceased.