It’s the age of freedom of expression and being one’s authentic self, so, does funeral etiquette still matter?
The short and firm answer is yes. Funeral etiquette matters – a lot. However, you can still be yourself as long as you are being respectful. In fact, that is the key: respect.
Today the professionals from Gilbert MacIntyre & Sons discuss some points of etiquette for today’s modern funerals.
What to Wear?
The news is full of people suing their employers or fighting with airlines or school districts when told they couldn’t wear a certain type of clothing.
For funerals, tradition has always been modest and dark or black clothing. Today’s etiquette allows for much more vibrant looks and colours. This is because some services, like a celebration of life, are much less formal than a traditional burial. Additionally, there is a heavier focus on honouring the passed one’s life; if they loved the colour pink you can invite all the guests to show up in pink.
When wondering what is appropriate to wear to a funeral, you can never go wrong with business casual. Remember this – it is not about you. The funeral is honoring the life passed and brings friends and family together to mourn. If you are dressing to have all eyes on you and be a conversation piece, you are missing the point and being rude.
You can be yourself, absolutely, but every fashion and lifestyle has garments suitable for more somber occasions.
Turn your phone off. If children are present and need a distraction so they can sit through the ceremony, a device is appropriate for them. However, keep the volume off.
In the same way you wouldn’t have your ringer going off during a movie or live theatre performance, respect that this is a time when your phone needs to take a back seat – or a back pocket.
Viewing the Body
Visitation is an intensely personal thing. Not everyone is comfortable viewing the body and that is okay! If you fear feeling upset or uncomfortable, nobody minds if you do not go into the visitation room or avert your eyes politely when passing the open casket.
Again, this is about coming together with friends and family to grieve; not about you needing to be comforted because you stepped too far out of your comfort zone. You don’t even need to explain your hesitation to anyone. It’s okay.
Respect Before, During and After the Ceremony
You won’t get along with everyone, even family members.
If the deceased is not someone you will mourn, or you know attending will cause you to lash out at some of the attendees, do not attend. If you choose to attend, be respectful.
A funeral, burial and reception are not the places to air grievances, bring up old hurts, vent on social media or talk about how you are glad about the passing. There is a time and place to bring up concerns – the funeral is not that time.
Honour the Process, Honour Yourself
Modern funeral etiquette is about honouring the deceased, honoring those there to mourn, and honoring yourself. Be respectful and use the time as it is intended – to help process grief and to say goodbye to the loved one. With this in mind, you will have the proper modern etiquette while being true to yourself.
The team at Gilbert MacIntyre & Sons Funeral Home are available to help you navigate the funeral process - including providing guidance on etiquette and other questions. Reach them online here.