Funeral etiquette for the family of the deceased

Updated April 17, 2017

Funeral etiquette may be the last thing a grieving family cares about, but family members also must realise they are representing the loved one who died. Because of this, their behaviour at funeral services holds a lot of meaning. Find out what is acceptable for a funeral and what is not.

Say Thank You

Funeral guests will send flowers, cards and even home-cooked meals for the family of the deceased. Be prepared to send thank-you notes to those who have honoured your loved one. Also, be sure to recognise guests at the funeral when you have the opportunity and thank them for coming. Also, send thank-you notes to the pallbearers, clergy officiating the service and any other friends who have helped out with funeral arrangements.


Family members should write an obituary for the local newspaper, sharing the name of the deceased person's spouse and children and other information such as education, career, community service and church membership. It also is helpful to share the cause of death in the obituary, which may assist family members in avoiding uncomfortable questions from funeral guests. If someone dies from a cause that family members do not want to share, they simply can omit that information.

Greeting Guests

It is proper etiquette to greet guests and callers during calling hours at the funeral home. Behave politely with all guests as you do not want the atmosphere to become even more uncomfortable than it already is. If an unwanted guest comes during calling hours, speak with the funeral director, who will escort the guest away from the funeral home.


The family of the deceased should wear modest but dignified clothing for the funeral. Men should wear a suit and tie and women a dress suit or skirt. Family members also may choose to wear clothing that honours the taste and style of the deceased loved one. All undergarments should be worn by family members. Family members may wear jewellery.

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About the Author

A writer since 1995, Brooke Turner has been published in the "Duluth News Tribune" and "Ashland Daily Press," as well as various advertising publications. She is a freelance copywriter and the owner and operator of Blue Quill Writing Services in Ottertail, Minn. Turner also maintains two blogs: The Blog of Brooke and Blue Quill Writing.