Funeral Etiquette


  • EXPRESS YOUR CONDOLENCES. It’s not easy to come up with the words to offer sympathy.  You don’t need to be a poet. Simply saying something like, “I am sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family,” is enough.  If you can’t be at a funeral service in person, sending a card, or leaving a message on a memorial website is a perfect way to express your sympathy.
  • DRESS APPROPRAITELY. Gone are the days of dressing solely in black for a funeral, but jeans and a t-shirt may not be acceptable either.  You should be respectful and avoid any bright or flashy colors.  Wearing what you might wear for a wedding or a job interview is always appropriate. 
  • SIGN THE REGISTER BOOK. The family will keep the register book as a memento for years.  Be sure to include your full name and relationship to the deceased. Write as nicely as you can manage.
  • GIVE A GIFT. You don’t need to go overboard, after all it is the thought that counts.  Suitable gifts include; flowers, a donation to the charity of the family’s choice, or you can make a commitment of service to the family at a later date.  A commitment of service can be something as simple as cooking them dinner, or offering to clean up their house. Any of the “little things" that may be neglected while a family deals with death.  Make sure you provide a signed card so the family knows who gave the gift.
  • KEEP IN TOUCH. You may feel that the family needs their space and time to grieve, but a simple phone call or note after the funeral lets the family know you care.  With social networking, leaving a quick note is as simple as a click of a mouse.  The months following a death is when grieving friends and family need the most support.


  • KEEP YOUR CELL RINGER ON. Your cellphone ringing will be highly inappropriate and will cause a disturbance, so turn any ringers or notifications off.  Even better, leave your phone at home or in your car, a funeral is not the time to be texting or checking your messages.
  • ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO BE A DISTRACTION. Children of all ages are aware of death, and if the funeral is for someone that was close to them, they should be given the option to attend.  However, if it is not appropriate for your child to be there, or if you feel they will cause a commotion, leave them with a babysitter.
  • BE LATE. Coming into a service late can be a massive distraction. If you know you're the type to arrive late, try setting the alarm an extra half-hour early so you are sure to be prompt.