Like all things, the accepted customs of dress and behavior for a funeral service has changed over time, but common-courtesy never goes out of style. If you’re worried about your actions at an upcoming service, or are just curious, here’s what we’d like you to know about funeral etiquette.

Making the Most of a Difficult Time

It is important to be respectful of the emotions of family members, as well as what personal, ethnical, or religious considerations need to be taken into account.

Here are a few things expected of you:

  • Offer an expression of sympathy

Sometimes we are at a loss for words when encountering something as final as death. Simply saying “I’m sorry for your loss” is usually enough. Be respectful and listen attentively when spoken to, and offer your own words of condolence.

  • Find out the dress code

These days almost anything goes, but only when you know it’s the right thing. In fact, sometimes the deceased has specified the dress code; “no black” is a common request. If you can’t learn the wishes of the family, then dress conservatively, and avoid bright colors.

  • Sign the register book

Include not only your name, but your relationship to the deceased: co-worker, gym buddy, or casual acquaintance from the golf club. This helps family place who you are in future.

  • Give a gift

It doesn’t matter if it is flowers, a donation to a charity or a commitment of service to the family at a later date; as always, “it’s the thought that counts.” Always make sure to provide the family with a signed card, so they know what gift was given, and by whom. If you’re out of ideas, you can use of our partners to deliver food, flowers, or another unique gift before, during or after the service.

  • Keep in touch

It’s sometimes awkward for you to do so, but for most people the grieving doesn’t end with a funeral. It’s always helpful to leave a condolence, you can easily do so through our Obituaries Page. Just Select a name, and click ‘Send Condolence’.

But, What Shouldn’t You Do?

  • Don't feel that you have to stay

If you make a visit during calling hours there’s no reason your stay has to be a lengthy one.

  • Don't feel you have to view the deceased if there is an open casket

Act according to what is comfortable to you.

  • Don't allow your children to be a disturbance

If you feel they might be, then leave them with a sitter, or make use of our child-friendly playroom. But, if the deceased meant something to them, it’s a good idea to invite them to share in the experience.

  • Don't neglect to step into the receiving line

Simply say how sorry you are for their loss, offer up your own name and how you knew the deceased.

  • Don't be afraid to laugh

Remembering their loved one fondly can mean sharing a funny story or two. Just be mindful of the time and place; if others are sharing, then you may do so too. There is simply no good reason you shouldn’t talk about the deceased in a happy, positive tone.

  • Don't leave your cell phone on

Switch it off before entering the funeral home, or better yet, leave it in the car. All too often, we see people checking their cell phones for messages during the services.

  • Don't be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake

Everyone does, and you can be sure that an apology may be all that’s needed to mend and soothe.

After the service, always remember to continue to offer support and love to family of the departed. The next few months are a time when grieving friends and relatives may need you the most. It’s always best to let them know that your care and support did not end with the funeral.

Want more advice?

Perhaps you’re concerned about a specific upcoming event, we here at Duster Funeral Home want to provide the answers to your questions. Give us a call today at (724)-224-1526 and feel free to ask away!