The following article is provided by Elephas Group. The following funeral etiquette tips serve as an extension of our mission to helping families grieve.
We attend funerals because we want to show our love and support for the bereaved and honour the life that was. However, we need to be aware that sometimes the love and support we intend to show, doesn’t always translate well or may not be presented in the best possible way.
We at Elephas Group have prepared this helpful list of funeral etiquette, so you can better navigate the funeral you are planning to attend. Ensuring you can show the best amount of respect and love for the deceased and the bereaved.
1. Arriving on time
Try to arrive at a time that gives you plenty of opportunity to find a seat and say your hellos. You do not want to be in a situation where you are arriving late and interrupt the service for people around you. Give yourself 15 to 20 minutes before the service to be safe.
It is customary to dress in a clean, conservative and respectful manner. Clothes could range from suits, conservative dresses and business casual wear. If a specific flashy dress or outfit is intended to honour the deceased, it’s best if the meaning is readily transparent to the bereaved and others attending.
3. Keep your devices on silent
The ringing phone is one of the most disruptive and biggest signs of disrespect one could show. Sometimes it is best to just turn the phone off completely. When you show up on time, you have more time to see that your device is off.
4. Finding a seat
It is customary for the first few rows to be reserved for immediate family and close friends. If that doesn’t describe you, then try to find a seat in the middle or further back of the service.
5. Bringing young children to funerals
Those with young children know this dilemma well. If your child is close to the deceased, it is important for them to be there. It’s important that you communicate with them before what is going to happen and how they should expect to behave.
If the child has no relationship to the deceased, and you feel your child doesn’t have the temperament to sit quietly and respectfully, perhaps it would be better to find a sitter.
Death is a hard subject to broach with young children. Read our previous Elephas Group blog post: “Discussing death with children” to better understand how to communicate and help them understand.
We want to show our love and support as best we can. Remember that the family of the deceased has met with several other people all day and have heard several condolences. Many of the greetings they hear can begin to sound cliche and insincere after a while. We need to remember that our simple presence is a show of support and that sometimes a quick kind word is all that is needed. If you are close to the bereaved or have a great story to share, then feel free to prolong the conversation.
7. Respecting others religion
If the service contains foreign religious concepts or traditions, it is always best to go with the flow. Don’t feel forced to participate in any traditions you are uncomfortable with, but do stand and listen.
8. Following the order of dismissal
At the end of a funeral, the family will follow the casket out of the funeral home or church. The attendees will then exit row by row starting from the front. In most cases, it’s best to remain standing and wait for the lead from the group.