What is an appropriate Funeral Etiquette?
Here is a guide on how to conduct yourself and what is generally expected when you attend a funeral service.
Should I send flowers?
Usually, most of the time this is the case. Families appreciate the sentiment. However, sometimes the deceased or their loved ones will have asked for money to be donated to a specific charity rather than spent on flowers, so it’s always best to check first. Get clarification from a family member or the funeral director.
What should I wear?
Not that long ago, if you went to a funeral in Australia the appropriate funeral etiquette was a black suit and tie for men and a black dress for women. Today’s funerals are just as heartfelt, but attitudes towards what you wear have relaxed. Unless a specific instruction around dress code has been issued, conservative attire is the safest bet. Men can still wear a black tie, but no one will mind if you choose blue instead, again it’s best to check in advance. You might find that the deceased wants the ceremony to be more of a celebration of life, and has asked mourners to wear more colourful outfits as a result.
If you are a close family member, you will be a focal point at the funeral. Be prepared potentially for people you know and don’t know to approach you, offering their condolences. Simply saying thank you is fine. Everyone knows this is a difficult time.
The Funeral Service
We get many questions about the correct funeral etiquette and conduct at the ceremony itself. Where to sit is one of the most common. The general rule of thumb is that the first few rows are reserved for close family and friends of the deceased, but every funeral is different. Ask a family member or the funeral director if you’re not sure. Also, please turn your mobile phone off during the service. If you’re asked to participate in the funeral, treat this request as an honour. A eulogy is an opportunity to tell stories about the deceased and can be of comfort to loved ones. Public speaking is difficult under normal circumstances, so it’s OK to politely decline an offer to speak if you don’t feel confident or emotionally up to it.