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Traditional Visitation and Funeral Etiquette: A Guide for Proper Conduct June 22, 2023

Funeral Etiquette

There is no question that, throughout the years, the rules of dress and etiquette have relaxed. There was a time when men wore suits to baseball games and families wore their Sunday best to travel by air. Now, many find it a struggle to get out of their pajamas to go shopping at the big box stores.

Even many of the customs and traditions surrounding funerals, visitation, and final services have evolved. There still are rules of etiquette and proper behavior when attending these solemn services.

Visitors, after all, want to be respectful and tread lightly around those who are grieving intensely. You don’t want to stand out, and, as well-intentioned as it may be, you don’t want to be “that guy.”

Here is a guide to appropriate behavior when attending a funeral:

Take a Moment to Prepare and Understand the Situation

Good preparation begins with thinking about the situation, the circumstances surrounding a death, and your relationship with the loved one and/or his family. This can help you set an appropriate mental tone.

Dress Appropriately

Even final services described as “celebrations of life” deserve a nice outfit. Give it some thought and avoid casual sandals. For men, shirts should be collared, and colors should be neutral and muted.

Arrive in a Timely Manner

Arriving late for a visitation or a funeral service is a bad look. It may demonstrate a lack of respect. On the other hand, you should stay until an appropriate time to leave.

Offer Sincere Condolences

Make sure you connect with grieving family members to share memories and express sympathy. Don’t worry about coming up with a profound interaction. Sometimes a huge, two-handed handshake and an “I’m sorry for your loss” can be as effective as anything else. Remember, people will likely remember how you made them feel rather than what you said.

Respect Family Wishes and Customs

If the family doesn’t want flowers, don’t send them. Respect any family or religious customs associated with that funeral too.

Turn off Devices

Remind everyone with you to turn off any digital devices. Not performing this simple task can be rude and embarrassing if it goes off during a speech.

Maintain an Appropriate Tone

This can become more challenging than you may believe, especially if you run into other visitors you may not have seen in a while. However, a celebration of life may merit more joyous tones. Simply maintain awareness of your situation and the grieving family. 

Seek Guidance

If you are still unsure of how you should participate, reach out to a friend or relative who may be more familiar with the family or the religious practices that may be involved.

While customs surrounding visitation, final services, and funerals have changed, there is still an accepted decorum surrounding such services. Should you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us.

Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory have been serving the families of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati for generations. If you are in search of a funeral “home,” we would be proud to serve you.

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