How Should I Act at a Funeral Service? Our Top 7 Etiquette Tips

Our neighbors in Queens and Astoria know it’s important to show compassion, care, and courtesy during a funeral service. This makes an already trying day a bit easier, as friends and family can begin to heal in peace. Though funeral traditions and customs change over time, one thing stays constant: funeral etiquette.

Here are funeral etiquette tips from us here at Farenga Funeral Home: 

  1. Wearing black is safe, but other colors are accepted. Most of us know black as the traditional color to wear for a funeral, but other colors are also acceptable. While staying away from bright colors such as neon pink or turquoise, warmer shades such as maroon, dark gray, or dark blue are great choices. Attending a funeral simply isn’t the time to draw attention to yourself of make a bold fashion statement. However, some bright shades are absolutely accepted if you’ve been asked to wear them. For example, if the person’s favorite color was purple, the family might ask you wear that color as a tribute to their loved one.
  1. Arrive early. There’s no need to arrive any more than 20 minutes early to a funeral or service. Showing up any earlier could be a burden on the family as they’re preparing for the long day ahead of them. When you arrive, quietly find a seat. If you have children that may become fussy or distract others in attendance, sit close to the back so you can exit if needed.
  2. Don’t hesitate to laugh when appropriate. Depending on the atmosphere of the service, someone might share a funny story or make a joke during their eulogy. Funerals are a time to heal and remember the best times with your loved one, so laugh if you feel it’s right.
  3. Stay off your phone. The best practice is to leave it behind, but if you need it with you, be sure it’s on silent or even turned off. A ringing or dinging phone during a funeral service is disrespectful and might upset the family. Also stay away from social media – don’t tweet or add photos from the service to Instagram.
  4. Be cautious if you’re taking photos. It might best to not take any photos at all, but we understand you may be seeing relatives you haven’t caught up with in a while. Try to stay away from mourners during any group photos. This might be perceived as insensitive as the immediate friends and family are going through a most difficult time.
  5. Send a gift. Bringing or sending a gift is always appropriate, as it shows the family that you’re thinking of them. This is especially true if they’ve asked for gifts or donations in lieu of flowers. If you decide to donate, they usually choose a specific organization or charity you can give to. This information is often found in the obituary.
  6. Check in after the funeral. Most people “disappear” after the service to return to their own responsibilities. Once a week or two has passed, try calling your friend or family member and ask them out for lunch or a walk – just to get them out of the house. A few weeks after the funeral is hard on many, because it’s when things settle down and you’re suddenly not surrounded by your friends and family.

These are just a few funeral etiquette tips from us at Farenga Funeral Home. We’re here to provide for our community in any way possible, so reach out should you have questions about our services.