Funeral Home Etiquette

By: Ron Curry
Monday, June 11, 2018

Funeral homes can be culturally intimidating. They require a lot of social aptitude and careful navigation, and necessitate lots of understanding about traditions and social constructs. This is hard enough in everyday situations, but when death and loss are tossed in the mix, it can feel almost impossible.

This doesn’t have to be the case. There are a few simple rules you can keep in mind when going to a funeral home in Rahway, NJ to make sure you are respectful of the proceedings and family members. Keep reading to learn more about funeral home etiquette.

  • Seating: Keep the first two rows of seats at the funeral home open for family and close friends of the deceased if there is no specific seating chart or an open seating plan. Stay seated throughout the ceremony unless directed by the host. Keep this same rule in mind for graveside services, as well, since the graveside seats are usually for family only.
  • Attire: Funeral home attire should be conservative and muted. Stay away from bright colors, revealing cuts or loud trends. Do pay attention to invitations or common cultural ideas, as sometimes culture or family preference dictates attire.
  • Religion: Funeral homes can be very religious places, so it’s important to be aware and respectful of any particular belief. If the ceremony has religious aspects that do not match your own or make you uncomfortable, simply remain silent and respectfully engaged. Remember, you are there to honor the deceased, not to make a religious statement.
  • Distractions: Turn off all your devices! If you can’t turn off your phone, smart watch, or tablet, at least put it on silent or Do Not Disturb for the duration of the service. If you must take a call, (ie: emergencies or completely unavoidable work) step outside as looking down at your phone or checking messages inside the funeral home is disrespectful. In the same vein, it might be a good idea to leave small children at home. Use your best judgment with your child, but usually toddlers and babies should stay at home with a sitter.
  • Communication: It’s a very good idea to speak with the deceased’s family, even for a moment. All you need to do is express sympathy for their loss, but if you knew the deceased well and feel it’s appropriate, you may say something more personal about the deceased. However, do try and keep it short as the family most likely has lots of other guests to attend to. Keeping it short will also help make sure you don’t overwhelm the family in their time of grief.

In Conclusion

Everything above is a guideline and doesn’t necessarily apply to every funeral home experience. Always use your best judgment, and when unsure simply follow the family’s lead. When in doubt, lean towards being conservative side as that’s always a safe bet.

If you have any more questions about funeral home etiquette, especially in Rahway, NJ, you can reach out to Plinton Curry Funeral Home at 908-232-6869 or 732-469-3300. You can also visit one of our two locations: 411 West Broad Street, Westfield NJ 07090 and 428 Elizabeth Ave, Somerset NJ 08873.

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