Traditional funeral etiquette typically dictates what you wear and how you act at a funeral or memorial. Some etiquette shows us how to be respectful at a funeral and add extra stress to anybody during this difficult time, which is incredibly important. However, some etiquette has been around for so long that we’re not sure if it’s still relevant to modern funerals.
We’re here to break down some etiquette rules to see if we should still follow them or if there’s a better way to do things.
Wearing all black to a funeral is one of the most well known etiquettes. What you should wear to a funeral can depend on any religious or cultural traditions, but typically involves semi-formal, modest clothing in dark colours.
A good rule of thumb to determine how you should dress is based on the venue. If part of the funeral will be held in a church or other place of worship, it is best to dress appropriately to that setting.
There are a few instances where we can say goodbye to black or dark funeral attire. The first is if the invitation or funeral announcement says otherwise; the deceased or close family may wish for a celebration of life and ask attendees to wear bright colours or anything but black.
Other instances include when the funeral or memorial is more casual, such as being held at a restaurant, venue or RSL. Smart casual would be a better alternative.
Is traditional funeral attire here to stay? Yes, depending on the circumstances. When in doubt, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. You would rather show up in black and be wrong than show up in colour and be disrespectful.
After learning about the death of somebody we knew, it is often good etiquette to send flowers to the grieving family as condolences before the funeral.
Sending flowers isn’t appropriate for certain circumstances and cultures. For example, you won’t find any flowers at a Jewish funeral, so it is advised not to send flowers to a Jewish family
Donations to charity in lieu of flowers is considered good etiquette if you are unsure about flowers, or if the family has requested this. If the request has been made, the family may collect envelopes of cash to physically make the donation themselves.
Is the tradition of sending flowers here to stay? Yes, depending on the circumstances. It is considered a respectful gesture to send flowers, as long as it does not interfere with any religious or cultural practices and beliefs.
Holding a traditional service.
If you are the one planning a funeral for a loved one, it might seem like it is proper etiquette to hold a traditional service, which could include a sombre religious service and a wake.
However, this doesn’t always work for everyone. Here at Bare, our customers are more likely to want intimate, well catered and increasingly non-traditional ceremonies.
Are traditional funeral services here to stay? Traditional and religious services will always have their place in our society, but with more and more people actively searching for something different for their farewell, we believe that personalised celebrations of life will become the norm.
Etiquette and rules that are here to stay.
Some behaviour based etiquette will always be important, no matter what kind of ceremony takes place.
- Sending a sympathy card or message of condolences.
- Be punctual and arrive early or on time.
- Keep in touch with those also grieving and share memories of the deceased.
- Wait to sit down until the family has, or at least keep to the middle or back unless you are immediate family and friends.
- Don’t show up to a funeral or memorial if it isn’t open to the public and you’re not an immediate friend or family.
- Don’t take any photos unless told it’s okay to do so.
- Don’t use your phone and ensure it’s turned off.
Final thoughts on funeral etiquette.
It’s become pretty clear that while funeral etiquette and respectful behaviour will always be incredibly important, what we do in the lead up, during and after a funeral or memorial is dependent on who the deceased was and what kind of service is held to commemorate their life.
The most important thing to consider ist being respectful to the mourning families. Overall we can see some traditions being discarded, but only when the funeral or memorial is less about mourning and more about celebrating the person’s life.
If you’re interested in a simple cremation or memorial service, contact us at 1800 071 176 or head to bare.com.au/funeral-services.