While some final services are designed to be far more informal than in the past, it is still prudent to remember some simple forms of etiquette during visitation and final services. While most are common sense, it is always good to have a refresher.
Know the difference between a memorial service and a funeral
A funeral is a memorial service that is held with the body of the deceased present. During a memorial service, the body is not present. There are a variety of reasons families may choose a memorial service instead of a funeral, choosing perhaps to keep a funeral or burial private. Memorial services also allow for more flexibility in timing.
Should you attend a memorial service or funeral?
That will generally depend on your relationship to the deceased or to someone close to the deceased. If, for example, a close co-worker lost a spouse, you may certainly want to attend even though you may never have met the spouse.
What is considered appropriate funeral attire today?
While we’ve seen it all, it is best to keep funeral attire conservative in nature and generally, darker. You do not want to stand out for the wrong reasons.
What do I say to the family?
Again, this will likely depend on the nature of your relationship but a brief introduction and condolences are usually best. A warm, two-handed handshake can serve if you feel a hug may be inappropriate. Never make your comments about you. Making a nice, positive comment about the departed and a simple “I’m sorry” will usually do just fine.
Where should I sit?
This too may depend on your relationship. The first two rows are generally reserved for family and close friends. If you arrive late, always sit in the rear and use side aisles to get to a seat.
What about bringing babies, toddlers, and children to a funeral?
Babies and toddlers can become a huge distraction While most choose a babysitter, use your discretion. Older children who are well-behaved can attend.
If it is a religious service do I need to participate?
No. However, standing or sitting with the group may make you feel more comfortable, even if you don’t participate in prayers or singing.
What about flowers or a gift?
There are a variety of ways to demonstrate your care and concern. Taking over a casserole following a funeral is one way, offering to take care of some tasks for a grieving family is another. Even a fruit or gift basket is acceptable.
Flowers remain a strong expression of sorrow. Popular flowers for funerals include:
- Roses: Love and respect
- Lily: Sympathy, majesty, and beauty
- Chrysanthemum: Grief, loyalty, and truth
- Gladiolus: Integrity, character, and sincerity
- Orchid: Innocence, admiration
- Carnation: Love, admiration, and remembrance
It is usually a good idea to refer to the obituary or make a call to the funeral director to determine the family’s wishes when it comes to memorial gifts.
At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, whether it is pre-planning or an immediate need, we are here to help. We consider it an honor to have served so many generations of families in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area for over 125 years. We would appreciate the opportunity to assist you.