Dos and Don’ts While Attending a Funeral

In the U.S. a funeral service takes place after 3 to 5 days of the death. Mostly the funeral takes place either in a church or a funeral home. It is really tough to cope with a death in a family and to plan a funeral. So, when you get a funeral invitation, you must try to attend the same as a mark of respect for the dead. Also the family grieving the loss of a loved one will appreciate the presence of those who were close to the deceased.

While attending a funeral you need to act in a very sensitive and emotional manner. In no way your behavior should upset the family members of the deceased. You must be aware of the funeral etiquettes and must follow them. There are certain rules to be followed when someone passes away and especially while attending the funeral.

Some of the rules are:


  • Always attend a funeral service in person. This is the time when the family of the deceased needs your presence as it brings some comfort to them. Also people always remember those who were with them during a sad time.
  • You must always dress in a conservative manner while attending a funeral. Your dress code shows your respect towards the deceased and how you are also part of the grieving process.
  • You must express your sincere condolences directly to the immediate family members of the deceased. There is nothing like you have to say something creative. Choose the words properly and try to be as humble as possible.
  • Of other people attending the funeral are sharing a story or a memory of the deceased with others, then you must also do the same. Do your best to remember the positive qualities of the deceased and avoid focusing on his negative attributes. When family members notice how people remember the deceased, it makes them feel good.
  • While attending the funeral, be on your best behavior. In no way you should speak in a loud voice or show your anger. Greet people politely and make small conversations with others present there.
  • Take flowers with you or if the family members requited to make some donations in lieu of flowers, then you must follow their wishes. You can make a donation depending upon your wish and financial status. The amount does not matter much as it is your feelings that will matter here the most.
  • You must follow the funeral customs and traditions of the family even if you don’t believe in such rituals. Here you must respect the sentiments and feeling of the family members of the deceased.
  • If any kind of favor is asked, then you must do it. Mostly family members will ask for small favors like to sing a funeral song, to read a poem or to help them in small ways.
  • Before leaving the service, you must sign the registry in an appropriate manner. Always sign the document with your first and last name, and also include your relationship to the deceased.
  • As a funeral is a solemn occasion, it is better to leave young children at home as they cannot be attentive for a long period of time. Also if something disturbs them they may start crying which can cause unnecessary disturbance.


  • Don’t wear colorful clothes for attending a funeral. Also your clothes must be accompanied by appropriate shoes. Flip-flops or high heels are not at all recommended.
  • It is not a good gesture to stand like a statue and not doing anything at all. It is important to have a small talk with close family members and make eye contact with others present there.
  • Do not talk or laugh loudly and avoid telling jokes to others. This is a serious occasion and you need to show some seriousness.
  • No matter what gossiping at this time is not at all justified. Especially gossiping about the deceased or the family members will not be welcomed by anyone at this moment.
  • Do not try to act smartly in order to draw attention to yourself. People have gathered at a funeral to show their respect towards the deceased and if you are causing disturbance in the service it will not be liked by anyone.
  • Do not talk rubbish and your conversations must strictly focus on the departed soul. Speak appropriate and choose your words properly otherwise it can hurt the sentiments of others.
  • Do not take photos of the funeral as it can be misconstrued as a violation of privacy in a funeral situation.
  • If a cremation urn is displayed at a service, you must not touch it as it could be considered disrespectful to the deceased or the family.
  • Do not eat, drink or chew gum during the funeral service.
  • Do not bring your cell phones along with you to the funeral. Before entering the venue, turn off cell phones, pagers, electronic games and other distracting items.

To conclude, the most important thing you need to keep in mind while attending a funeral is to show your support to the family who is suffering a loss. If you are not sure about how to behave or act during a funeral, just follow what others are doing. This way you will not go wrong in following the appropriate funeral etiquettes.

Some useful resources:

Leave a Reply