When someone you know has a loved one pass away, the funeral is a very important moment for them. It’s a time to express their love and appreciation for their belated friend or family member, as well as to honor them through communicating through the service their loved one’s personality, culture, values, and life achievements.
Attending the service is one way you can show your love and support for your friend, as well as your respect for the person who has passed away. But since it’s such an important and personal moment, you might feel a little bit of pressure to get things right. But what does that mean? What does a well-mannered funeral guest do or not do?
DO…arrive on time – or early if you can. It’s generally considered best practice to arrive at the church or funeral home about 15 minutes before the service is scheduled to begin. Take your seat quietly, and be sure to silence or turn off your cell phone.
DON’T…sit in the first few rows at the service. These are typically reserved for immediate family.
DO…be sure to sign the register book at the visitation or funeral. Write legibly and include any affiliation, if appropriate.
DON’T…press the family or your friend for details about the death, if you don’t know the cause. This is not the time, and there may be personal privacy reasons why they have withheld details.
DO…express your condolences verbally to the family at the service. Depending on your relationship, you might shake their hand or offer them a hug.
DON’T…feel like you must say the “perfect” thing, or offer platitudes that no one believes. Simply expressing your love for your friend and your appreciation for their loved one is all you need to do.
DO…follow the parking protocol after you leave the service. If the graveside service follows the funeral, our staff will help guide cars into a line and add a funeral procession flag to your car. Please keep your lights on during the processional.
We know the service is just one moment in the healing process for your friend, but it’s a critical one. Your desire to participate and your concern for their comfort will mean the world to them. We want to help your friend process their grief, and we want to help you know how to support them – whether with funeral etiquette, sending flowers, writing a meaningful condolence, or even knowing how to help them on a practical level. You can even write online condolences right here on our website.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? You can always reach out to us. We’re here to help you and your friend.