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The Dos and Don’ts of Funeral Etiquette

Funerals are often formal events, and questions surrounding funeral etiquette can create unnecessary stress. Henderson County Cremation Services of Tennessee wants to help you understand what is proper etiquette for a funeral in Lexington, Tennessee. Each funeral is an event held by a family, so the level of formality and expectations surrounding behavior can vary. However, there are some general guidelines for funeral clothing etiquette, funeral gift etiquette, and etiquette when expressing sympathy.

Funeral with a casket carried by coffin bearers

The Five Funeral Etiquette Dos

Many aspects of funeral etiquette are based on doing the right thing, like dressing appropriately and expressing your sympathy at the right time. You want to make sure you don’t commit a social faux pas by failing to do something traditionally expected at a funeral. Here are some of the key Dos of funeral etiquette.

Do Follow Funeral Clothing Etiquette

Funeral clothing etiquette is more confusing than ever. Today, not all funerals are formal events, and some even request attendees to avoid wearing black. If possible, it is wise to contact the funeral home to see if there is a specified dress code. If that is not an option, it is always safest to err on the side of dressing more formally. Wearing something conservative, yet formal enough for a wedding or job interview, is an excellent way to show your respect.

Do Express Your Sympathy to the Family

Remember that one of the purposes of a funeral is to express your condolences to those closest to the departed. In the moment, when you are bumping into old friends and sharing stories, you can forget to express your sympathy clearly. Take a moment to give your condolences to the friends and family in the receiving line.

Do Sign Your Name in the Register Book

Make sure you sign the register book when you arrive. Most funerals will have a register book you can sign to remind the family of your attendance. This is most often a memento. It may have a section for notes where you can leave a message of support and encouragement to the family.

Do Understand Funeral Gift Etiquette

Funeral gift etiquette can feel like a tricky topic. Are gifts necessary and appropriate at a funeral? In most cases, modest gifts are acceptable, like flowers, donations to charity, or a grieving basket. The key is ensuring that your gift remembers the deceased or supports the family without distracting from the ceremony.

Do Conduct Yourself Respectfully

There’s no single funeral rule on what and what not to say at a funeral service. Most of the time, you are encouraged to laugh, share old stories, and have a good time. At the same time, the event’s tone must remain respectful to those struggling with loss. Each person deals with the death of a loved one in their own way. So, have as much fun as possible while allowing others an environment where they can grieve.

The Five Funeral Etiquette Don’ts

When it comes to understanding what is proper etiquette for a funeral, it’s essential to understand what not to do. In order to maintain a respectful atmosphere and encourage a space within which everyone can grieve in their own way, we all must avoid doing certain things that could disrupt or ruin the services. Don’t do the following things at a funeral.

Don’t Let Your Cellphone Become a Distraction

As challenging as it may seem in today’s world, it is best to leave your cellphone and other electronic devices at home or in your vehicle. A funeral service is a time for you to focus on the people in your life, and these electronic distractions can compromise your ability to do that. If you need to bring your electronic device, ensure it is on silent mode. One of the worst breaches of funeral etiquette is to have a phone that makes noise during the ceremony.

Don’t Allow Children to Disrupt the Atmosphere

To be perfectly clear, children are entirely welcome at nearly all funerals. It is often an important way for them to process the sudden absence of someone in their life. However, children below a certain age struggle to understand the delicate rules of etiquette necessary at a funeral. So, be sensitive to anytime your children could be disrupting the services.

Don’t Miss the Receiving Line

Don’t miss the receiving line. In the receiving line, attendees can take a moment to pay their respects to the family of the deceased one-on-one. For those closest to the deceased, a funeral can be a whirlwind of an event, and this might be the only opportunity for you to express your condolences directly to them. Make sure you don’t miss out on the receiving line.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

A lot of etiquette rules can stress you out, making you wonder whether you’re accidentally behaving inappropriately. Don’t push yourself too much. Make a good-faith effort to show your respect and remember the departed. However, if you make a mistake, give yourself a little slack. Funerals are emotionally challenging events for everyone, and it is no time to be hard on yourself.

Don’t Forget the Good Times

Don’t forget to remember the good times. Funerals can involve a lot of tears and sadness, but remembering the departed fondly is one of the best ways to process their passing. No matter how much you miss them, take a moment to share your favorite memory with someone else. Remembering the joy you shared can put your current pain into a more meaningful context.

Contact Us to Arrange a Funeral Service Today

Henderson County Cremation Services of Tennessee is here to help you honor the memory of your loved one. Let us help you make funeral planning understandable and stress-free. We know the overwhelming changes that come with the passing of a loved one. We want to empower you to focus on yourself and your family while we plan the funeral services according to your wishes. To arrange funeral services, fill out a contact form or call us now.

Contact Us to Arrange Services for a Loved One