- Switch off your mobile phone – don’t even leave it on vibrate. This is the last time this person will ask for your undivided attention.
- Be on time - if you happen to be late due to unforeseen circumstances, stand at the back.
- If you are sending flowers directly to the church or venue, write ‘for the funeral of ___’ on the address.
- If the family are asking for donations in lieu of flowers, it’s important to honour that request.
- Offer condolences, and if you have time and the opportunity you may want to share a personal experience or anecdote that shows the deceased in a positive light.
Funerals can be one of the most distressing and nerve-wracking events that people attend, and the sensitive nature of the event as well as the emotional aspects can mean that etiquette is helpful in knowing how to express your feelings and how to get through the day. Customs and traditions differ from culture to culture, and many funerals now stray from standard etiquette to make the funeral personal to the deceased and their beliefs/personality. For example, it is now increasingly rare for people to go to a funeral dressed entirely in black. The first cue for your behaviour and attire should come from the family and invitation. If you do not feel that it’s fitting to ask further questions after receiving your invitation, it is usually wise to ask somebody close to the family and involved in arrangements to clarify what is expected of you. While there are differences, there are also some basic guidelines to any funeral: