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Dos and Don’ts at a Funeral

For some people, attending a funeral can be a particularly trying experience. Not everyone is comfortable with emotion and grief, and you may find yourself at a loss for what to do when you attend a funeral. You may take notes from films, but most films show caskets and burials, when statistically speaking, 2 in 3 Australians prefer cremation over burial.

If you’re worried on the etiquette of a funeral and how to handle yourself during funeral services, here are a few tips.

Woman holding a red rose in front of a casket with candles.

Do Dress Conservatively

Never attend a funeral in anything that stands out or is distracting. You don’t want to draw attention to yourself or look disrespectful in any way. While modest and black colours are traditional, it’s no longer the fashion to wear all black in the western world. Incorporating other colours is becoming more popular but you should probably avoid anything to bright.

Make sure everything you’re wearing is clean, ironed.

Do Arrive On Time 

Arriving late to a funeral ceremony can disrupt the service and bring unwanted stress to the mourners. If you do arrive late, make sure you are considerate of others when entering.

Do Act Normal

It’s not always easy to find something to say to the people closest to the deceased. Equally, they are probably tired of people acting differently and seeming insincere, even when they’re not.

The best thing to do is to act normal. You can’t fix everything with your words, so don’t try to. Try doing the little things, like bringing them a glass of water while they’re greeting a line of well-wishers or sending them a heartfelt message in advance.

Of course, you are probably also mourning. Even if you weren’t that close to the deceased, it’s normal to feel a sense of loss and sadness. Just remember to grieve respectfully and have someone with you for support if required.

Don’t Sit Anywhere 

The general rule of funerals is that the family members and those closest to the deceased will sit in the front few rows. Unlike a wedding there is no particular side you need to sit on. Sit towards the middle or the back, and try to stay in one place quietly. If you can’t stop crying or coughing loudly, take some time outside until you settle down.

Don’t Look at Your Phone

Mobile phones have become a constant of modern life, but there are still situations where they are completely inappropriate. Make sure you switch your phone to silent or switch it off and avoid using it wherever possible.

Don’t Be Scared of Religious Aspects

Many funeral services will involve religion in some way.  If you aren’t religious, there’s no need to feel uncomfortable or rattled. You don’t have to feel compelled to take part in any hymns or prayers if you don’t want to. Instead, just try to marvel at the customs and try to find the beauty in tradition while you mourn in your own way. 

Alex Gow Funerals has been helping families throughout Queensland create meaningful tributes to their loved ones since 1840. If you require assistance with funeral arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact us or call our Brisbane head office on 07 3073 4816. We also have an online pre-arrangement form you can fill out.

...still family-owned.


Head Office
463 Newman Rd
Geebung, QLD, 4034
Tel: (07) 3851 7800


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