A funeral service is of great value for those who are mourning the loss of a person. It is during this very service that the family members, close friends and associates come together and share their love, respect, grief and appreciation for the deceased’s life. By planning a funeral service, family members of the deceased take that first step towards realizing the loss in their lives and how they are going to adjust in future. So, when someone known to you dies, you need to attend his or her funeral service.
Initially most funeral services tend to be solemn in nature, but the trend had changed a lot in recent times. Today, people prefer a more celebratory mood during funerals. However, regardless of the nature of the funeral services, you need to follow certain etiquettes every time. It is true that the accepted customs and traditions during a funeral service have changed a lot over time. But no matter what importance is always given to courtesy.
Here is a list of certain etiquettes observed at funeral services in the USA:
Once you know the location and time assigned for the funeral service, you need to make efforts to reach ten to fifteen minutes before the service is scheduled to begin. Take your seat in the middle or back and leave the first few rows for the family members and close friends of the deceased. Sit quietly wait for the family of the deceased to arrive. Trying to make conversation with other guests present there does not look good. If you arrive late, there enter quietly and move towards the back row. Try to be as quite as possible to avoid disrupting the service.
Participate in the service:
A funeral service is conducted by a clergyman, priest, minister or a designated speaker. When you are attending a funeral service you need to take active participation during the ceremony. Simple gestures such as standing during prayers and singing during any group songs can show your respect towards the deceased. Even if you belong to a different religion or culture you need to show respect to the culture, custom and tradition followed by the family of the deceased.
Express your sympathy:
It is very common to find people at a loss for words when trying to console the family members of the deceased. But it is important offer your own words of condolence during a funeral service. Just a few simple words such as “I am really sorry for your loss” or “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help” is enough to show your sympathy towards the family members of the deceased. Also when someone speaks to your try to listen properly and be respectful.
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Try to find the dress code of the funeral service and choose the right dress. A lot of changes can be seen in funeral dress codes as black dress is no longer required. But if traditional black attire is requested you must wear something in black only. If the dress code is not known to you, it is better to dress conservatively by choosing a business wear or a simple dress in subdued color shades. Avoid wearing party dress or casual dress or anything in bright colors. Remember that your choice of dress reflects your respect for the deceased.
Viewing the body:
If the funeral is open casket, you must view the deceased for the last time and say your silent prayers. Do not try to rush but maintain the row and wait for your turn. If you want a family member to escort you to the casket, you just have to say. Regardless of your religious affiliation, a few moments of silence while viewing the body is always appreciated. Also respect the feelings of others and do not take more than the required time. If you are not comfortable to view the deceased if there is an open casket, you can avoid it.
Give a gift:
A gift made in memory of the deceased is regarded as a thoughtful gesture. As far as gifts are concerned it can be flowers, a donation to a charity or a commitment of service or help to the family of the deceased from your end. It is important to give a signed card along with the gift, so that later on family members know what gift was given by you. If the family has requested donation in lieu of flowers to be made to a charity, organization or a trust, you need to respect that.
Sign the register book:
Generally in a funeral service, guest sign-in book is there which helps the family member of the deceased to know who attended the service in order to write the thank-you card. Before leaving the place you need to sign the guest book. It is better to include your name, contact number and your relationship to the deceased. This will help family members to place who you are in future.
If you are making a speech during the funeral service, try to keep your voice as soft as possible. Remember that loud and boisterous speech will not be liked by those present at the service. You should also speak in a quiet voice while speaking with the family members of the deceased or any of your friends. During the service, try to keep silent for a few minutes as only the person giving the eulogy or the clergyman officiating have the right to speak at that time. Once the service is over, there will be enough time for you to speak with others present there.
Keep your gadgets off:
No matter how busy you are when attending a funeral service; keep your cell phones, pagers and other electronics e turned off throughout the service. It is rude to leave your cell phone on as it can cause disturbance during the service. It is better to leave your cell phones in the car itself or you can switch it off before entering the venue. During the service avoid checking your cell phones for messages or for checking the time.
Follow the procession order:
If the funeral service is proceeding to a secondary location such as a cemetery you need to follow the order of dismissal. The family members will follow the casket out of the church or funeral home and then the attendees are allowed to proceed in an orderly row by row method. The flow of the procession must not be disrupted by you. In fact, it will be quite rude to cut in front of the family when queuing up for the procession. For attending the graveside ceremony take your own car quickly and wait for the traffic directors to lead you. Turn on the headlights of your car so that you can be identified as part of the procession.
To conclude, always remember that the main purpose behind a funeral service is to help the family members of the deceased to get through the grieving process and say their final good-bye to the deceased. Respect the feelings of others and behave properly during the service. Inappropriate behavior can cause disruption in the service and upset the family members more than they already are.
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