A Brief Introduction to Funeral Etiquette

Grieving Young Woman

If you have questions about how to behave or what to say at a funeral, you’re not alone. Many people go for long periods without attending a funeral, so questions about what to expect are normal. When you’re unsure about how to approach a funeral service, contact the funeral home . They will be able to explain what to expect. This advice will also help you better understand funeral etiquette:


Black and dark-colored clothing are traditional for funerals , but they are no longer the only acceptable things to wear. In some cases, families may request that guests dress in a way that honors their deceased loved one. If you’re not sure how to dress, remember that this is a solemn occasion and that choosing a conservative outfit is best. Opt for business or church clothes, like a suit or dress. Keep in mind that makeup and hair should also be toned down.


As a general rule of thumb, seating is distributed according the nature of the relationship with the deceased. If you are paying respects to a co-worker or acquaintance, stick to the back of the room. In some cases, there will be an usher at the funeral to assist you in finding the right seat. If you’re feeling unsure about where to sit, it is best to err on the side of caution and sit towards the back, unless you are told otherwise.


At the end of a funeral, the guests leave the room in reverse order, with those in the front following behind the casket and the rest of the seats emptying front to back. So if you are in the back of the room, you will leave last. Family of the deceased will usually remain in front of the ceremony site to thank people for attending. If there is a burial service afterwards, funeral attendees are welcome to go, unless the family has asked that it be private. However, funeral attendees are not obligated to go to the burial service.

Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward is here to ensure that all memorial services run smoothly. Contact us with questions or to find out how we can help you with funeral planning by calling (510) 471-3363. 

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