Funeral Etiquette

Let us guide you through the ins and outs of your funeral experience.

Prior to attending a funeral or memorial service at Woodlawn Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens, it is important to know what religious, ethnic or personal considerations you need to take into account. It is also important to be respectful of the emotions of close family members. In addition, you may find the following funeral etiquette tips to be helpful.

Attending a service at Woodlawn Funeral Home

What You Should Do:

1. Offer an expression of sympathy.
Although we may be at a loss for words when encountering death, simply saying, “I am sorry for your loss” is usually enough. Be respectful and listen attentively when spoken to and offer your own words of condolence.

2. Observe the dress code.
At times, the deceased will have specified the dress code; ‘no black’ is a common request. However, if you cannot learn the wishes of the family then dress conservatively and avoid bright colors.

3. Give a gift.
It does not matter if it is flowers, a donation to a charity or a commitment of service to the family at a later date; it really is “the thought that counts”. Make sure to provide the family with a signed card so they know what gift was given and by whom.

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

5. Keep in touch.
Though it may be awkward for you to do so, for most people, grieving does not end with a funeral or memorial service. Do not be overbearing but make sure the family knows you are there if they need anything. 

What You Should Not Do:

1. Do not feel that you have to stay.

If you stop by during visitation hours there is no reason for your stay to be a lengthy one. Unless you would like to stay longer, it is generally acceptable to spend no more than 20 minutes at a visitation.

2. Do not be afraid to laugh.
Remembering a 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 as well. There is no good reason you should not talk about the deceased in a happy, positive tone.

3. Do not feel you have to view the deceased if there is an open casket.
Act according to what is comfortable for you.

4. Do not allow your children to be a disturbance.
If you feel they may be then leave them with a sitter. However, if the deceased was special to them, it is a good idea to invite them to share in the experience.

5. Do not leave your cell phone on.
Switch it off before entering the funeral home, or better yet, leave it in the car. Checking your cell phone for messages during a service is beyond rude and insensitive.

6. Do not skip the receiving line.
Simply say how sorry you are for the loss. Offer your name and how you knew the deceased. A kind word or two about the deceased will be much appreciated as well.

7. Do not be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake.
Everyone does and an apology may be all that is needed to mend and soothe. When it is all over, remember to continue to offer support and love to the bereaved. The next few months are a time when grieving friends and relatives could need you most. Let them know that your support did not end with the funeral or memorial service. 

We are Here to Help

Perhaps you've got special concerns about an upcoming funeral or memorial service? We're here to provide the answers you're looking for. Call us at (757) 455-2838.

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