A funeral allows those close to the deceased to mourn and say their final goodbyes. However, navigating these ceremonies in a social context can often feel confusing, complex, or awkward.
This is perfectly natural. But it’s still important to understand proper etiquette so that you can show up for your loved ones respectfully and helpfully. Read about some standard rules about funeral etiquette so that you can do precisely that.
What Should I Say (Not Say) to People in Mourning?
Proper funeral etiquette starts with knowing what to say and what not to say to those in mourning. This applies to anyone attending the service. But those coming to show support for family members of the deceased should pay close attention to this component of funerary customs. Funerals are solemn affairs.
For this reason, wanting to provide comfort to family and friends in the thick of their grief is natural. But because the death of a loved one is such a sensitive matter, you should practice patience and care when expressing your condolences. Avoid cliches, like “everything happens for a reason” or “they’re in a better place.”
Instead, try sharing your favorite memory or anecdote of the dearly departed. This is a more meaningful and genuine way to show your love and gratitude for the deceased’s spirit. Of course, if you know that the family members don’t have the energy to speak with guests, it’s best to let them come to you when and if they decide they’re ready.
Is Wearing Black Always Required?
It’s no secret that black is traditionally the color worn to funerals. But just like everything else, proper clothing choices and general funeral etiquette often evolve. For this reason, many people may question if wearing black is necessary or if they can choose to wear another shade.
It’s up to the deceased’s family. Some may decide that the funeral should have a more celebratory tone and encourage guests to wear bright colors. Others may request that everyone wear the favorite color of their lost loved one.
Sometimes, those in charge of arrangements will feel that the traditional all-black attire is the most appropriate choice. The idea here is to respect the wishes of the deceased’s family and wear what they’ve asked you to wear.
How Can I Assist the Family?
Of course, when those close to you are suffering, it’s not abnormal to want to offer your assistance. And you can provide a helping hand before, during, or after the funeral service. For instance, suppose you’re notified of a loved one’s passing and ask the family if you can help with any arrangements.
Then, they ask you to assist with selecting and handing out acknowledgment cards to guests at the service. Or they might ask if you could help them with housework or cooking in the weeks after the committal service. Regardless of what it is, it’s essential to offer assistance and let the family tell you what they need. This way, you’re offering something helpful and practical during their time of need.
Understanding the proper etiquette for funerals and the loss of a loved one is essential to ensure you’re being helpful and compassionate. Hopefully, we provided some valuable insight into what you should keep in mind as you help your loved ones move through this emotionally complex process.