The Golden Rules of Funeral Etiquette: You Don’t Always Have to Wear Black

February 02, 2018

When a loved one passes away, it can be difficult for everyone. It’s important to take some time to celebrate their life and remember them through a funeral. However, many people have different ideas of what is appropriate at services like this.

These five golden rules of funeral etiquette can help keep you from accidentally offending someone while you’re trying to pay your respects.

You don’t always have to wear black—but it might be a good idea.

Traditionally, you should wear black to funerals, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the family wants you to wear the person’s favorite color or something that reminds you of the person. If you’re not certain, it’s probably a good idea to stick to black. Regardless of what you’re wearing though, it should be clean and neat.

Don’t walk down the center aisle.

If you arrive early, you’re probably safe to walk down the center aisle. However, if you’re right on time or late, avoid it. Sometimes it’s hard to know when the service has started and you wouldn’t want to interrupt it. It’s usually a safer option to walk down the outside aisle to find your seat to avoid interrupting anything. And of course, try to arrive on time.

Gifts are not required but are probably appreciated.

Many people gift a bouquet of sympathy flowers when they attend a funeral. It can be arranged to be delivered before the funeral if you prefer. While the family might appreciate that, some families request that you do not gift flowers and instead make a donation. Other families might appreciate a basket or a homemade meal. Your relationship with the deceased and their family should help you know what to bring.

If you don’t share religious beliefs, you can still attend.

Most funerals are set up to allow people close to the deceased to pay their respects. You should be able to do that without participating in a religious practice that is not the same as yours. Be respectful of the family’s practices, but you aren’t obligated to say any prayers or take part in the practices.

Regarding smartphone and camera usage.

Throughout the service, your phone should be on silent. Not vibrate—silent. Phones that vibrate can cause as much noise as phones that are ringing. If you don’t want to bother changing the settings, it’s a good option to just turn your phone off entirely. It is also best to leave your camera at home. Funerals are a time for the family and friends to mourn, they shouldn’t have to worry about their photos being taken.

In other news, this 3-year-old went missing from her home in Arizona. Luckily, she was found the next morning with the family dog curled up next to her. Read the story here.

Next: Missing Arizona 3-Year-Old Found With Family DogJan 30, 2018