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Funeral Etiquette

When attending a visitation or funeral, you might find yourself uncertain of what you should wear, what to say, or what to do. We have put together a short guide to the basics of funeral home etiquette to help you pay your respects with courtesy and consideration.

 

What to Wear

Try to find out the dress code before you attend, so that you can be sure you will fit in and look appropriate. If you are not sure, simply try to dress in a conservative way that shows respect for the family and other mourners. 

 

Religious & Ethnic Customs

Traditions and customs differ among various communities, ethnic groups and religions, and it is often helpful to ask beforehand about any special considerations you need to take into account. We can answer many of your questions, and can also point you toward resources that offer specific and detailed guides.

 

Emotions

A funeral is an emotional time, and grieving is a natural part of the healing process. Do not feel uncomfortable to express your emotions.

 

Greeting the Family

Upon arrival, approach the family and express your sympathy with an embrace or by offering your handshake. Do not feel that you should avoid talking about the person who has died...in fact, talking can help the grieving process to begin.

 

What to Say

Express your sympathy in your own words, however it feels right to you. Kind words about the loved one who has died are always appropriate, and a simple "I am sorry for your loss" or "My thoughts and prayers are with you" can be meaningful and comforting for the bereaved.

 

What Not to Say

Do not ask the cause of death; if the family wants to discuss it, let them bring it up. Avoid giving unsolicited advice, or making comments that might unintentionally diminish the importance of their loss.

 

Paying Respect

At a service with an open casket, it is customary to show your respect by viewing the deceased and, if you wish, spending a few moments in silent prayer. The family may escort you to the casket, or you might approach on your own. Viewing the deceased is not mandatory, however, and you should act according to what is comfortable to you.

 

How to Act

After you have offered your condolences to the family, it is perfectly appropriate to engage in quiet conversation with friends and other associates of the deceased who attend the visitation. Do not feel that you have to stay longer than you feel comfortable; your presence means a lot to the family, no matter how long or short the visit.

 

Signing the Register

Be sure to sign yourself to the register book, using your full name and address so that the family can identify you in the future. It is also helpful to add information about how you knew the deceased-through work, social clubs, school, etc. We offer traditional signature books and digital electronic registry for our guests.

 

Flowers and Gifts

Sending flowers, making a donation, or giving a memorial gift are all meaningful gestures to let the bereaved know that they are in your thoughts. The simplest of tributes can be of great comfort to the family, and can express your sympathy when words jdo not seem to be enough.

 

Turn Off Your Cellphone

This one should go without saying. If you choose to bring your phone into the funeral home, take a moment to make sure you have turned it off, especially if you are attending the funeral service.