Funeral Etiquette: A Simple Guide on What to Do and What to Say

5 min read

Losing a loved one is never an easy thing to go through. Everyone knows what this is like, from one experience or another. When you have someone in your life who has recently lost a family member or friend, you could find yourself struggling to find the words to say to bring them some comfort. You could even worry about saying something offensive. Revisiting some basic funeral etiquette can help you to not only avoid that but also to help you show support in a loving but non-intrusive way.

In this article, we give you valuable tips on funeral etiquette:

* Expressing your condolences
* Sympathy gifts and flowers
* The Funeral and After

Expressing Your Condolences

The first important thing you should do when someone in your circle is grieving is to offer your condolences. This is a simple and straightforward way to let the person know that you acknowledge their loss and are sorry about their pain. It doesn’t have to be someting extravagant or lengthy—it is the thought that counts.

There are different ways to express condolences. You can say it in person where possible. You can also give the person a call or send them a message. It isn’t always possible to be physically with someone in their time of grieving, so any way you can find to relate your condolences to them is fine for you to use.

The next question many people have is around the right words to say. There are many variations you can use, and it isn’t really what you say but that you said it that counts. A simple “I’m so sorry for your loss” is a commonly used condolence message. The closer you are to the person, the more you can say. If the person you are consoling is a work colleague or an acquaintance, a simple message can suffice.

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Other condolence messages you can use include:
* Thinking of you in your time of loss.
* My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family in this difficult time.
* Accept our heartfelt condolences.
* My sincere condolences for your loss.

You can use these suggestions as you wish and where appropriate. Naturally, some are better to use when writing and others when giving verbal condolence. If you knew the bereaved personally, you could add a personal touch. You could say something like, “I am going to miss spending time with Susan. She was always such a joy to be around.” You don’t have to overthink what to say. All you must do is make it honest, kind, and thoughtful.

Sympathy Gifts and Flowers

Another common part of funeral etiquette is giving sympathy gifts. While this isn’t an absolute must, if you are very close to the person grieving, it could be a nice thought. The typical gift varies depending on family and culture. In the early days and before the funeral, the most common gift is sympathy flowers. You can order these online at FloraQueen. We have a good range of appropriate funeral arrangements. We can deliver flowers to the person’s home or even directly to the funeral home.

Other gift ideas for the early days include meals and other ways of giving practical support. If you have a close relationship, you can offer to take care of the children, meals, pets, or anything else as needed. Being there and just providing a listening ear is also invaluable. Losing someone you love can take its toll on you. The more support the person receives from family and friends, the better they are going to be able to cope.

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After the funeral and long after the loss, memory gifts may be given. Candles, framed photos, garden stones, engraved jewelry are just some of the gifts ideas that are appropriate even a year after the loss.

The Funeral and After

Let’s get to the actual funeral. We have already mentioned that you can have flowers delivered directly to the funeral home. These arrangements are displayed at the funeral. How do you know if you should attend the funeral and what you should wear? You can attend the funeral if you were close to the family and were invited to attend. Even if you did not know the bereaved personally, you could still attend in support of the person you know. In many cases, families chose to have private funerals. For such occasions, it is therefore not appropriate to attend unless personally invited.

If you are attending a funeral, there are some general rules you should observe. Be kind, courteous, and respectful. Don’t wear anything flashy or too bright a color. You can always save your fancy outfits for a more suitable event. Darker and more neutral colors such as black are the most appropriate clothing colors for a funeral.

When you attend a funeral, remember to honor and greet the grieving family. Even if you are personally grieving, it’s important to remember that their loss is the greatest. Remember to be respectful in what you say and do.

We can’t talk about funeral etiquette without touching on some “what not to do” examples. Here is just a short list to give you an idea:
* Don’t speak negatively of the departed.
* Don’t ask about personal matters such as finances unless you are in the inner circle.
* Don’t make jokes about death and dying. Some people can do this without causing harm, but for most, this is an easy way to bring offense.
* Don’t pester the bereaved. Be there, but also give them space as needed.
* Don’t go further than the boundaries of your current relationship in your desire to be supportive.

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Times of grieving and funerals are never easy. Even after the funeral, the grieving family and friends could still use love and support. Knowing the right funeral etiquette can help you bring comfort to the grieving without adding any unnecessary awkward moments. Putting yourself in someone’s shoes gives you a great general guide on how to approach this period.

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