Funeral Etiquette – How To Act Properly At A Funeral
A funeral announcement is a way of letting your family, friends and acquaintances know of the passing of a loved one. You can make it as varied as you wish. You can be very formal, by using a printed or engraved invitation to the funeral service. Alternatively, you can make it simple, by sending an email. Funeral announcements may appear in the newspaper in the obituary section.
Unless you have written the notice ahead of time, it is always difficult to compose your thoughts and write a funeral announcement while you are grieving. This list of what to include in a funeral announcement will help you to write the funeral announcement and not forget anything.
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Funeral etiquette can help make us feel less awkward and uncomfortable at a funeral. Many people feel they may say or do the wrong thing and upset the family members. Most of us do not have to deal with death on a regular basis; so the uncertainty of how to act is understandable.
Funeral Etiquette: Be On Time
First and most importantly, be on time. Being late interrupts the proceedings and leaves the impression that you didn't really care enough to leave fifteen minutes earlier.
When you first arrive the funeral director is usually handing out memorial folders and directing you to sign the memorial book. Sign the book quickly and move to your seat. Do not stand in the way of others waiting to sign, this is a solemn occasion, and the time to visit and joke around is after the service is over.
Funeral Etiquette: No Outside Food, Drinks, or Gum
Never bring food or drinks of any kind, whether you are there for the service, making arrangements or visiting. Avoid chewing gum during the funeral service.
Funeral Etiquette: Should you Bring your Children?
You should always allow children to attend the services if they want to. Children should be offered the opportunity to express their grief and will sometimes feel better if they can give a gift, be it a drawing or a note expressing their love. This behavior should be encouraged.
Try to leave infants at home, or at least sit near an exit in case the baby starts crying or fussing. The only exception is if the baby is a direct family member, but even then families will usually try to find someone to care for the baby during this time.
Funeral Etiquette: What to Wear
On movies we often see everyone dressing in black with ties and suits. Proper funeral etiquette does not demand this, but regardless we should wear our best clothes reflecting modesty and somberness. Try to be comfortable and avoid any loud prints like floral patterns or polka dots or any wild patterns that are not appropriate. Try to keep your dress simple and smart, but not overly casual.
Children should dress reflectively of the parents, in modest, somber attire, such as sold darker colors, clean and in good condition, but comfort should also be considered. It's not a good idea to make children wear uncomfortable pants or dresses to an already uncomfortable situation.
Shoes should be coordinated to your clothing and they should be comfortable. Remember you may be standing for a while especially if you are attending a graveside memorial. Women should avoid extremely high heeled shoes.
Be sure to turn off pagers, cell phones, games, or any other noise makers.
Funeral Etiquette: What to do during the Funeral Proceedings
There is no proper funeral etiquette for what to say when expressing sympathy, so most people try to be brief. A simple, "I'm sorry," or "I'm so sorry for your loss," adding that you are there for them if they need anything can usually go a long way. The bereaved family knows that little can ever be said to heal the pain, but knowing that friends and family understand their loss can help greatly. Your presence really says it all.
When the funeral service is over, do not rush for the nearest door. Follow the line of mourners past the family. You do not have to view the casket if you don't want to, but pass by the family; it's a big comfort for them to see who is attending.
If there is a funeral procession to the cemetery, fall in line and stay close to the car in front of you. When arriving at the cemetery park where you are directed to and always show patience and courtesy to all who attend.
If a gathering afterwards is planned try to attend, even if only briefly. This is the time of sharing and support for friends and loved ones.
Unfortunately proper funeral etiquette does not have hard and fast rules written in stone, but common sense will usually serve you well. When speaking to someone who is hurting, above all, just be sincere. Share fond memories. Be a good listener. Let those around you know how much you love them.