5 Tips For Attending A Funeral Of A Friend For The First Time

If you will be attending your first funeral soon, you may feel more comfortable if you are familiar with some basic funeral etiquette. New situations can inherently feel awkward; these tips will help alleviate your feelings of awkwardness over attending your first funeral and will help you focus on the emotional side of the event.

#1 Where To Sit

Generally, immediate family members will sit in the first row or two. Other family members and really close friends generally sit in the next few rows behind the immediate family members. The rest of the seats are generally open to all other family and friends.

Many times, there will be an usher that will show you where you can sit as well.

#2 What To Wear

Often times, the invite or notice will give you clues on what to wear. In the United States, black is generally associate with grief, but you can wear other muted colors as well. As a good rule of thumb, you should wear nice clothing, like you would wear to a job interview.

Sometimes, funerals will have specific themes. For example, if the deceased was a big fan of a particular sports team, the family may request that you wear gear from that sports team to the funeral. In the event that the family requests a specific type of attire, such as sports gear, try to honor that request as best you can.

#3 How To Offer Condolences

At the funeral, you should offer condolences to the deceased immediate family. You can offer these condolences before the funeral begins during the viewing time for the body, or you can offer them in the receiving line after the funeral commences.

When offering condolences, keep in mind that this is a very emotional time for the family and that they are having to interact with everyone at the funeral. Keep your condolences short and sweet. Let them know that you are sorry for their loss and offer a short, one or two line memory about what the deceased meant to you. If there is a reception afterwards, that is a good time to share additional memories about the deceased or you can write the family a letter letting them know what their loved one meant to you.

#4 Viewing The Body

You do not have to view the body if you don't want to. It is perfectly acceptable to pass on viewing the body. For some people, this tradition brings closure, and for other people, it is an unnecessary step that does not assist their grieving process. Make the decision that you think will best help you process your grief; do not feel pressured to view the body though if that is not the choice you want to make.

#5 Minimize Outside Distractions

Turn your phone on silent or turn your phone off before you enter the funeral home or the site where the services are being held. The last thing you want to do is interrupt the service. If you have any wearable technology, such as a smart watch, make sure the sound is turned off on that as well. 

For more on this topic, check out a company like Armes Hunt Funeral Home.