We've compiled a guide on how you can respectfully offer your condolences at a funeral or cemetery. For additional questions, please reach out to our staff.
What to Say and What Not to Say
A simple “I’m sorry for your loss” is appropriate when offering your condolences. Say what feels right in the moment. Avoid phrases such as “they are in a better place” or “this is God’s plan” because they may not hold these views.
What to Wear
Learn what the dress code is beforehand. Now that funerals are more personalized, not everyone will want their guests to wear black. If there is no dress code, assume that you should dress conservatively, without bringing attention to yourself.
Religious and Ethnic Customs
If the family has religious or ethnic customs different than your own, it is helpful to find out any special considerations before the service. You can ask us for advice and additional resources if you are unsure.
Paying Your Respects
When there is an open-casket, guests are expected to visit the casket and pause for a moment of silence. You will know if the family will show you to the casket or if you are to approach it on your own. If you are uncomfortable viewing the deceased, you do not need to view them.
Giving Flowers and Gifts
Typically, guests will send flowers, donate money, or give a memorial gift to the family of the deceased. Sometimes the family will make special requests depending on their situation.
Signing the Register Book
Use your full name when signing the register book. You can also add your relation to the deceased.
Avoid Cellphone Disruptions
To avoid any disruptions, silence or turn off your phone before entering the funeral home.
Follow the Cemetery’s Rules
Follow any of the rules posted on the signs around the cemetery. This includes cemetery hours and flower restrictions. They are written to help all guests have a peaceful experience visiting their loved one.
Be Respectful of Other Mourners
Give everyone their space and privacy, especially if a funeral is happening.
Respect the Graves and Monuments
It is disrespectful to touch the headstones and monuments, as this can damage them. Never remove any of the items placed by the gravestone that could be left by a family.
Lower Your Voice
Many mourners want quietness when they are visiting grave. Speak softly and quietly and have your phone silenced or off.
Keep the Cemetery Clean
Never litter or leave behind your trash. Either find a garbage can or bring it with you.
Look After Your Children
Keep your eye on your children when at a cemetery. Do not allow them to be loud or run around.