Funeral Home Etiquette

Funeral Etiquette

Funerals can be confusing and filled with grief. We hope that these helpful tips can be of assistance to you during this difficult time.

Funeral Etiquette

The accepted customs of dress and behavior in funeral homes has changed over time, but courtesy never goes out of style. Listed below are the general guidelines regarding funeral etiquette.

Making the Most of a Difficult Time

It is important to know what religious, ethnic or personal considerations you need to take into account. It is also important to be respectful of close family members.

Offer an expression of sympathy
Sometimes we are at a loss for words when encountering something as final as death. Simply saying “I’m so sorry for your loss” is usually enough. Be respectful and listen alternatively when spoken to and offer your own words of condolence.

Find out the dress code
These days, almost anything goes, but only when you know that it is the right thing. In fact, sometimes the deceased had specified a dress code. “No Black” is a common request. If you do not know the appropriate attire then dress conservatively and avoid bright colors.

Give a gift
It does not matter if it is flowers, a donation to a charity or a commitment of service to the family at a later date. As always, “it is the thought that counts”. Always be sure to include a signed card for the family so that they know what was given and by whom.

Always Sign the register book
Include not only your name but your relationship to the deceased, address and phone number. The family may wish to reach out to you after the funeral ceremony.

Keep in touch
It is sometimes awkward for you to do so, but for most people, the grieving process does not end with a funeral. This is just the beginning of the journey to recovery and a call after the funeral is a wonderful way to show you care. Do not hesitate to use the name of the deceased in conversation with the relative and it is entirely appropriate to share funny or heartfelt stories.

There is no set time limit at the visitation
If you make a visit during the calling hours, do not feel that your stay needs to be lengthy. A brief appearance is acceptable.

Don’t be afraid to laugh
Remembering a loved one fondly can mean sharing a funny story or two. Just be mindful of the time and place. There is simply no good reason you shouldn’t talk about the deceased in a happy, positive tone.
Don’t feel that you have to view the deceased in an open casket
Act according to what is comfortable to you.
Don’t allow your children to be a disturbance
If you feel that they might be, then it may be best to leave them safely at home with a sitter. But if your children meant something to the deceased then is appropriate to bring them to the visitation.
Don’t forget to turn your cell phone off
Remember to turn off your cell phone before entering the funeral home, or feel free to leave your phone in the car. Having a cell phone ring during the service is both inopportune and rude.

For more answers about funeral home etiquette, call (217) 932-2131 or email

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