Funeral Etiquette

When someone you know dies, or faces a death in their family, your first instinct is to help – but you may not be sure what to say or do. That’s natural. At Anderson Funeral & Cremation Services, we want to help you be a good friend. Here are some tips for you:

The Formal Visitation

  • Upon arrival, express your sympathy directly to the family with an embrace or handshake.
  • Keep your statements simple. Express your sorrow and what their loved one meant to you, if appropriate.
  • Don’t feel uncomfortable if you or the bereaved become emotional. If you become overly emotional, you should excuse yourself so you don’t upset the family.
  • Pay your respects to the deceased by viewing them and spending a few moments in prayer.
  • It’s okay to engage in quiet conversations with others after greeting the family, and you do not need to stay for the entire visitation.

The Funeral Service

  • Be sure to sign the guest register clearly, with your full name and any associations.
  • It is not necessary to wear black to a funeral. But do dress in a way that shows respect to the family.
  • The first few rows are usually reserved for family members.
  • After the service is over, leave promptly and wait in your car for the family if you plan to be a part of the funeral procession.

Flowers and Other Expressions of Condolences

  • You may send flowers to the funeral home or the residence.
  • If the family requests flowers not be sent, or that donations should be made in lieu of flowers, you should honor that request.
  • Do not send flowers to an Orthodox Jewish funeral or to a Catholic church, although in the second case they are welcome at the funeral home.
  • Sending a sympathy card is always in good taste. Keep the message simple and sincere.
  • If you are local, a brief visit is preferred after a death, but a phone call can also be made. An email is appropriate if you are not intimate with the family, such as a former neighbor or business associate.
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