Manners matter, especially when you’re attending a funeral. What you wear and say can make or break an already difficult situation. It can be nerve-wracking trying to follow etiquette rules that you don’t know or understand. Let’s go over some basic things you can keep in mind so you can feel comfortable and confident, and most importantly – be able to honor the deceased and their family.
From what not to wear to a funeral, to how to properly address the bereaved family, we have you covered!
What not to wear to a funeral
First and foremost, dress appropriately. This means no jeans, shorts, or tank tops. Instead, opt for dark, conservative clothing. Women should avoid wearing anything too revealing or flashy, and men should make sure their clothing is clean and wrinkle-free.
In addition to dressing conservatively, be sure to check the weather forecast before choosing your funeral outfit. You’ll want to dress comfortably for the occasion, but you don’t want to be caught in a downpour without an umbrella!
Other important things to keep in mind when choosing your funeral attire:
- Make sure your clothes are clean and free of any stains or tears.
- If you’re unsure about what to wear, err on the side of caution and choose something more formal.
- Avoid wearing anything that could be considered disrespectful, such as Halloween costumes
Check here for what to wear to a wake…
What if you don’t have black in your closet?
It’s OK not to wear black, but try to find something muted in color like gray, dark blues, or other neutral colors. Bright colors may bring more attention than you want, especially since the focus should be on the deceased, not what you’re wearing.
If you’re still unsure about what to wear, ask a friend or family member for their opinion. They can help you choose an outfit that is both respectful and stylish.
Now that we’ve covered what not to wear to a funeral, let’s move on to some other etiquette faux pas…
7 Etiquette Faux Pas to Avoid
1. Saying nothing at all
When paying your respects to the bereaved family, be sure to introduce yourself if you don’t know them well. If you’re at a loss for words, simply say something like “I’m so sorry for your loss.” It’s better to say something than nothing at all!
In addition, avoid making small talk or discussing anything unrelated to the funeral. This is not the time for idle chitchat – the family is grieving and your words should reflect that.
If you’re unsure what to say, simply offer your condolences and a hug. Sometimes, actions speak louder than words.
2. Coming across insensitive
When it’s time to say goodbye to the family, be sure to do so in a respectful manner. Avoid asking questions about how they are coping or making assumptions about their feelings. Instead, offer them words of support and let them know you’re there for them if they need anything.
A simple “thank you for having me” or “I’ll keep you in my thoughts” is usually sufficient. If you want to say more, you can always write a condolence letter to the family. This can be done before or after the funeral and is a great way to express your thoughts and feelings if you’re not comfortable doing so in person.
3. Arriving late
Arriving late can seem very disrespectful to the family. Aim to arrive early, instead. This gives you time to sign the guest book and say hello to close family members before finding your seat.
4. Sitting in the front row
And speaking of seats, try not to sit in the front row unless you’re part of the immediate family or very close friends with the deceased—it’s considered disrespectful to jump ahead in line.
5. Checking your phone
Avoid using your phone during the service, even if it’s just to check the time, or take photos.
6. Talking too much
Family members usually have a long line of people to talk to after the service. Avoid dominating their time and spending too much time with chit-chat. If you feel they need more from you, offer to help them find their seat or get them a glass of water.
7. Leaving before the end of the service
Unless you have a very good reason, try to stay until the end of the funeral. This shows respect for the deceased and gives you time to say goodbye to family members.
We hope this guide was helpful in understanding what not to wear to a funeral, and some other basic etiquette rules. Just remember – be respectful, be mindful of your words, and focus on honoring the deceased and their family. With these things in mind, you’ll be sure to make it through the funeral with grace and dignity.
And if all else fails, just ask a friend or family member for help! They’ll know what’s appropriate and will be more than happy to assist you. Thank you for reading. until next time!