Funeral Etiquette Made Simple: What to Know

Funeral Etiquette Made Simple: What to Know

Compared to any other situation that humans experience, going to a funeral is one of the most awkward and confusing events that you’ll go through in your lifetime. No matter how much you’d like to believe that you’re great at adapting to pressure-packed situations, the fact is that the same level of confidence doesn’t always apply to funerals. 

Like getting caught red-handed or being left alone in a room with someone you don’t know, funerals tend to put most people in a specific headspace where nearly anything feels off. Although you’ve probably been to a handful of wake services by now, the feeling of not knowing what to do can persist for a long time. 

Regardless of who passed away or what you’re attending a funeral for, you’re bound to find yourself in a headspace that’s littered with curiosity and all sorts of questions, such as: 

“Does it matter what I wear?”

“Can I bring the children?”

“Should I come on the first day?”

“What should I say to the family of the deceased?”

“When should I visit?”

We understand that funeral etiquette can be difficult because talking about death is still fairly taboo, despite all the claims that we live in a progressive American society. Although it may be understandable to feel quite awkward in the days leading up to a funeral that you need to attend (and even during the event itself), it’s best to understand that this shouldn’t mean that you won’t need to learn proper etiquette. 

A basic guide to fundamental funeral etiquette

Although they may seem straightforward or simple, funerals have an unspoken hierarchy of different principles and practices that need to be upheld because of how intense the ceremonies can be. Fortunately, you won’t need to worry about not being comfortable enough to be a helpful guest because we’ve got you covered with this guide on proper funeral etiquette:

1. Talking

When a friend, family member, acquaintance, or a friend’s family member passes away, the very first matter that you’ll need to take care of when following proper etiquette is your speech. 

Compared to other aspects of funeral etiquette, talking can prove to be the most difficult aspect to deal with because grief will be affecting the guests more than you might expect. If you find yourself struggling to blurt out the right words when conversing with the family of the deceased or greeting them, here are a few tips that can help break the ice: 

  • Express your sympathy
  • Share wonderful memories of the deceased
  • Extend your support by offering your company whenever it is needed in case they want to talk or have a shoulder to cry on

2. Attire

When it comes to picking out what to wear to a funeral, there are three words to remember: dark, formal, and conservative. 

In terms of colors, the safest choices to go with are black, gray, brown, black, and navy blue because they respect the solemnity of the entire ceremony. Conversely, clothes options should be limited to jackets, ties, suits, dress shoes, or polo shirts (paired with outerwear) for the men; for the women, funeral wear should be limited to a suit or a dress.

3. Timing

Choosing the right time to visit a funeral can depend on the set arrangements made by the deceased’s family. 

For instance, some ceremonies have the first few hours blocked off strictly for immediate and close family members with hours for other visitors to follow after. However, no matter what arrangements are put in place, it is best to come as early as possible and attend during the first and last days of the viewing so that you can offer your support during a difficult time. 


The experience of attending a funeral can prove to be a rather difficult and awkward process because of all the unspoken rules that surround them. Thankfully, following this guide closely will help ensure that you’re well-prepared to come correct during the passing of a loved one, friend, or acquaintance without stepping over any boundaries! 

If you’re on the hunt for funeral services in Jacksonville, FL, Evergreen is the place to go. We offer you the convenience of having a cemetery, funeral home, and crematory all in one place, ensuring that you can make the most of your resources. Allow us to serve your funeral needs by reaching out to us today to learn more about our services!

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