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Funeral Etiquette

We hope that the information below is of use. Should you have any questions which are not dealt with here please contact us.

Can I visit the person who has died in the chapel of rest? Only close family and friends generally visit the chapel of rest. If you would like to visit, ask the person that is arranging the funeral for their permission in advance.

Who attends a funeral service? Funerals can be either very public or private events, and this will be decided by the family of the deceased during the planning stages.

Can children go to funerals? This is a personal choice of the family arranging the funeral. Toddlers and babies can be disruptive if required to sit still for a prolonged period of time, but if children are welcome prepare them beforehand and take toys or a snack along as a distraction.

Who travels with the funeral procession? Usually it is close relatives or friends of the deceased that travel in the car or limousine that follows the hearse. Most people going to a funeral will make their own way to the funeral and choose to meet the procession where the service is being held.

Where should I sit at the service? Family usually sit at the front of the service. If possible the chief mourner or next of kin sits at the end of the pew next to the coffin.

What should I wear to a funeral? Black has long been a traditional colour for mourning however, wearing black isn’t required any longer. The colour you choose to wear may depend on the culture or traditions of the deceased.

What happens at the end of a service? The minister or priest will leave and everyone should then stand. At a church service, the coffin will be carried out and once the chief mourner leaves the service, everyone else should follow. At a cremation the coffin will remain on view or be shrouded by a curtain. Afterwards you may go outside and look at the flowers or memorials that have been left for the deceased. If a burial, you may be invited to watch the coffin be lowered into the ground.

What happens after a funeral? It is common for family and friends to get together for light refreshments at either someone’s home or at a private room in a hotel or pub to celebrate the life of the deceased.

What should I say to the bereaved? When speaking to the bereaved it is sometimes hard to know what to say. If you don’t know where to start, the below may help you:

  • We are so sorry to hear this sad news
  • The deceased will be sorely missed by friends and colleagues
  • What a wonderful person the deceased was

Should I send flowers? Flowers for funerals are often sent to the church, funeral director or family home in advance of the service. If the deceased specifically asks for a donation to be made to a charity in lieu of flowers it is best to follow the family’s wishes.