A Bittersweet Goodbye: A Blog About Funerals

First-Time Funeral Service Etiquette Tips

If you have recently learned that a loved one has passed away, then you may need to attend a funeral service for the first time. Since the event is a somber one, you should be as respectful as possible. There are a few different etiquette rules that you should follow to ensure respect, so keep reading to learn what they are.

Arrive Quietly

Most people will hold one or several visitations before the actual funeral. This is a more open and social gathering where individuals mingle and express their well wishes. Unlike the visitation, the funeral is a much more formal type of event. So, you should arrive quietly into the funeral home. Once you enter, you can sign your name in the guest book and then take a program. 

Depending on the venue and the type of funeral, you can often make your way to the coffin or displayed urn. It is customary to take a few minutes to pay your respects or say a prayer at this time. You can then take your seat.

Move down the aisle and look for an usher. This individual will ask about your relationship to the deceased so the proper seating location can be found. Sometimes, there will not be an usher, so take a seat in one of the middle rows unless you are an immediate family member. The closest members of the family that include spouses, children, and others will sit in the front row. The next closest family members will sit in the second row. 

You should always arrive on time and at least a few minutes before the funeral is set to begin. However, if you are late, make sure to enter the funeral on an aisle and towards the back of the seating area.

Do Not Interrupt The Recessional

It is courteous to wait for the entire recessional to leave the church before leaving yourself. The recessional will begin with the officiant or clergyperson followed by the casket that is carried by the pallbearers. The immediate family goes next followed by close friends. And, the rest of the mourners will often leave in an orderly fashion moving from front to back. You should make sure that you are following the order of the recessional.

Once the recessional leaves, you may be part of the processional, which is a line of cars that drive to the gravesite. Like the recessional, there is an order to this that started with the hearse. Family follows and then friends will come next. You should follow the other cars and make sure that you turn your headlights on. Also, place the provided flag on your vehicle if you are asked to do so. 

If you would like more tips about attending a funeral service for the first time, reach out to a funeral home like Union Funeral Home-Lytwyn & Lytwyn