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1. Should I attend this funeral?
Since funerals aren’t usually an “invite-only” event, it can be difficult to decide whether or not you should attend. If you knew the deceased, it is an opportunity for you to remember their life and pay your respects. If you did not know the deceased but are close to the family, then it is a way for you to show them your support.
You should not attend a funeral if you feel that your presence will make the family uncomfortable or if it is clearly a private event.
2. What do I wear to a funeral?
Although wearing black is not a requirement for all funerals, you should opt to wear clothing that is conservative. You’ll want to appear dignified and respectful, so stay away from bright colors and patterns which can send the wrong message to the mourning family.
3. Where do I sit at a funeral?
The first and second rows of seats are typically reserved for the close family and friends of the deceased. All other attendees should sit in the remaining rows. If you arrive late, be respectful by sitting in the back as to not disturb others. Once you are seated, it is important to remain seated for the duration of the service.
4. What should I say at a funeral?
Less is more. Do not feel the pressure to overexert your condolences onto the grieving family by saying more than is necessary. A simple “I’m sorry for your loss” or “My thoughts are with you” are sufficient enough to express your support. Those who are suffering from the loss may also feel isolated. Acknowledge their pain by saying something like “This must be so hard for you,” to show that you care for them which will help them feel less isolated.
5. When should I arrive at a funeral?
A good rule of thumb is to arrive 10-20 minutes early to allow for a few moments to interact with other guests before the service begins. If you arrive late, do not walk down the center aisle to take your seat. Instead, use the side aisle to find a seat near the back as to avoid interrupting the service.
6. What if I don’t share the deceased family’s religious beliefs?
Don’t force yourself to say a prayer, or take part in a religious practice that you are not familiar with. A funeral is all about paying your respects to the deceased, which you can simply do by standing and listening to the ceremony that’s taking place in front of you.
7. Should I bring a gift?
Gifting a bouquet of sympathy flowers is an ideal way to express your condolences, and would be much appreciated by the family. You can either bring a bouquet with you to the funeral or can choose to have them delivered to the funeral home beforehand. In addition, you can also send flowers to the residence where the post-funeral reception will take place.
Other thoughtful gift ideas include sending the family’s home a gift basket. If you’re close to the family, consider bringing over a homemade meal to their home. Suffering a loss is already a lot to handle, and chances are, the family or spouse of the deceased would appreciate the extra help. If you aren’t close to the family, but still want to share your condolences, a thoughtful card is a great way to comfort them.

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