Funeral Etiquette

Funeral Etiquette for Immediate Family Members

Notifying Family, Loved Ones, and Friends

In regards to funeral etiquette, the immediate family should receive notification first, preferably in-person or by telephone, followed by the closest relatives and friends. Be sure to provide the name and address of the funeral home for the delivery of funeral flowers. The funeral or memorial services details can be relayed later when available.

Appropriate Attire

Though it is no longer necessary to dress in black, do show respect when picking out your funeral attire. Conservative suits or dress-clothes, in dark, respectful colors are most appropriate according to funeral etiquette. It is advisable to avoid floral or busy patterns.

Visitation Hours

Upon learning of a death, it is customary for intimate friends of the family to visit the family either at their residence or funeral home. It would probably be more comfortable for all concerned to meet at the funeral home because they are prepared for visitors. Each family should decide the number of family members needed during calling hours. It is also not necessary for family members to engage in long conversations; a simple “Thank you, it means so much to have friends like you at this time,” is adequate. If the casket is open during calling hours, some visitors may want to bid farewell to the deceased. Although sometimes a visitor will request that a family member accompany them to view the body, it is not a requirement.

During the Service

Modern funeral services are usually brief and last approximately 30 minutes.

At the Cemetery

The graveside service tends to be brief. Customarily, once the commitment ritual is complete and the casket has been lowered to ground level, the family typically departs.  Caskets are then placed in a vault, interred, and the funeral flowers are placed on the grave.

Immediately After the Service

Immediately after the funeral, the family sometimes invites the attendees to join them for food or a reception at their home or designated place. This gives everyone a chance to talk and provides some time to relax and refresh. Sometimes friends or church members will take it upon themselves to prepare food ahead of time and relieve the family of this task

After the Funeral

For several days after the service, the family should be permitted to rest and have time to handle the myriad details that accompany such an occasion. While some families enjoy the diversion of visits and calls from friends and family, others prefer complete privacy. It is not inconsiderate to cut short calls at this time.

Other Funeral Etiquette Guides

Funeral Etiquette for Distant Relatives and Friends

Famous Funeral Poems

Funeral Poems of Sympathy

Sympathy Cards

Sympathy Card Comments

Sympathy Quotes

Thank You Notes

Wording for Condolence Cards: