What is Proper Funeral Etiquette?

Attending a funeral should only be about paying your respects; make sure you’re acting properly with these 3 tips.

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #140

Unfortunately this past week, my wife’s grandmother passed away. She was a fantastic woman whom I was fortunate enough to know for a very long time. I was overjoyed seeing how many people came out to pay their respects and support our family. But I realized that sometimes it’s not just missing a loved one that can make the day of the funeral challenging--sometimes it’s the dear guests who can totally turn the day into a whirlwind of emotions.

What Is Proper Funeral Etiquette?

As I was saying, while I waited in the family room where guests passed through to pay their respects to my wife’s family, I began to notice that many people lacked proper funeral etiquette. So, when my frustration boils, my creativity erupts and with that, here are my top three tips for funeral etiquette.

Funeral Etiquette Tip #1: Keep the Line Moving, Folks

I know the emotions of the day can get the best of you but don’t use your time before the funeral with the family to update them on your own life. Granted sometimes funerals can be a good opportunity to see people you have only emailed in the past year, but after a hug, an “I’m sorry for your loss,” please keep the line moving. There is always time to catch up afterwards.

A funeral is not the time to tell a mourner about your achy back, how you just lost your job, or about why your recent ex couldn’t make it today. I don’t think guests are trying to slow things up on purpose--it just happens--still there is a long line of people behind you, waiting to share their feelings.

Now, I’m not saying this to be rude either. I am sure what you have to say is kind and thoughtful but when a person is in mourning, nothing you can say--aside from expressing your sympathy--will register at all. Put it in a letter or better yet, ask the person--when they are ready--if they would like to catch up for lunch. Your treat.