5 Tips for Proper Funeral Etiquette

Attending a funeral is something everyone has to do at one point or another, usually multiple times throughout their life. It can be stressful going to a funeral for the first time and not knowing what to expect. The last thing you want to do is offend someone or appear out of place at a funeral. Follow these 5 tips to make sure your presence is respectful and you’re being sensitive to the delicate process. 

1.What Should You Wear? 

This is usually the first question that comes to mind when you have a funeral to attend. Funerals aren’t as formal as they once were, so wearing all black isn’t necessary. You should opt for clothing that is neutral to dark-toned and a conservative style. Funerals are not the place to be showing off too much skin or wearing bold colors and patterns. 

2.What to Say 

Avoid trying to comfort those who are grieving will too many long thoughts. Instead, keep it simple and short. A traditional “I’m sorry for your loss” or “I know this must be hard for you” is sufficient. If a grieving family member wants or needs to talk more, let them come to you in their own time and offer a listening ear rather than words of advice. Ultimately, nothing you say will make them hurt less, so it’s best not to just sympathize. 

3.Should I Bring a Gift? 

You don’t need to bring anything with you to the funeral. If you want to send a gift for the family, send a funeral flower arrangement to the funeral home listed in the obituary. Some families will list an organization that you can donate money to in lieu of flowers if that’s what the deceased would want. Read the obituary and get flowers or make a donation accordingly, but you aren’t obligated to do either to attend the service. 

4.Knowing What to Expect 

Every funeral service is different depending on the family's wishes and religious preferences. Some families will give a brief description of what the service will look like at the end of the obituary, but not everyone does. You should come prepared to give your respects and go with the flow of whatever that specific service looks like. 

5. Planning Your Arrival 


Plan to arrive 10 to 20 minutes before the service is supposed to begin. This will allow time to speak with other guests and offer your condolences to the family. If you arrive late and the service has already begun, enter quietly and take a seat near the back to avoid interrupting the service.


If you need assistance planning a funeral service for a loved one in the Boston area, our team at Hamel Lydon Chapel can help. Contact us today to discuss your funeral options and begin planning the service.


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