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Common Do’s and Don’ts for Funerals

Observing proper behaviour in funerals is a class act. Funerals are an emotionally trying time, and your presence can help the family get over their grief at the loss of their loved ones. Knowing how to act while you’re at a funeral will help you become more comfortable and express your condolences to the bereaved family.

If you’re organising the event or thinking of joining because you want to express your sympathies to the bereaved family, you can consult with the funeral directors at, and they can help you out efficiently. They’ll guide you on how you can adequately extend your condolences.

Here are a few dos and don’ts you have to remember if you’re at a funeral.

What should you wear?

Unless the family stipulates a dress code, you will do well to attend a wake wearing white, black or dark-hued clothing. Wearing brightly-coloured attire smacks of disrespect, so avoid it at all costs.

You should also observe a minimal amount of perfume because it may cause nausea or trigger allergic reactions in enclosed spaces.

Do you need to be invited to attend?

A funeral wake is traditionally open to the public unless the family specifically requested a private event. You don’t need an invitation to come, especially if the person is dear to your heart. It is a time for people who know the deceased to come together and honour the departed’s life.

Can children attend?

Young children can attend a funeral. Parents of older kids can ask them if they want to participate in the event. Babies and toddlers can make a fuss when they’re uncomfortable, so it would be best to have someone look after them if you have to bring them. If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you should situate yourself near the door, so you can easily step out if the baby needs feeding.

Where should you sit? 

The general rule of thumb for seating in a funeral wake is simple. The first rows are for immediate family members of the deceased. Unless you’re part of the circle, you should situate yourself at an appropriate distance from the casket. On the other hand, don’t sit too far from the people in attendance because it would mean you’re not part of the group.

Express your condolences

You’re at the event to express your respects for the dearly departed. You should come to the bereaved family members and express your remorse and condolences for the passing of their beloved. You should say words that would show your support in their time of grief.

Don’t use your mobile phone 

Basic etiquette dictates that if you’re going to pay your last respects to the departed, you have to put your phone in silent mode or turn it off for the duration of your visit. A wake is a solemn event, and you wouldn’t want to draw attention to yourself, especially if you have a loud notification or incoming call theme.

Final takeaway

Proper behaviour is a must whenever you’re attending a funeral. Funerals are a sad occasion and are generally a way of honouring the memory of the departed, so it would pay to show the bereaved family respect in their time of loss.


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