Attending a Funeral — What To Say
What should I say to the grieving family?
Visitations and funeral services are often confusing for the family. Take time to talk with and greet family members, even if only to share a hug and a simple expression of sorrow. Kind words or memories about the person who has died are always welcome. The family may want to talk and there's no need to feel pressured to have a response. Listening is synonymous with being supportive and helpful.
Additional information is available in Funeral Etiquette — What To Say/Do.
Attending a Funeral — What To Do
How long should I stay at a wake?
It isn't necessary to stay a long time at a wake. You can express your sympathy in a little as fifteen minutes.
What should I wear to a visitation or funeral? If I don't wear black, will I look irreverent?
Dressing in good taste and showing dignity and respect for the family is more important than the color of your clothing. It is no longer considered inappropriate to wear colorful clothing.
Sending Flowers and Other Tributes
Should I send flowers to the funeral home or is another type of tribute more appropriate?
Flowers are an acceptable and customary tribute for most religious and ethnic groups. Judaism is one notable exception. Oftentimes, families prefer that donations in memory of the deceased be made to certain charities. Usually the family will indicate their preference in an obituary or other form of communication.
See Funeral Etiquette > Sending Flowers for detailed information on how to choose the right flowers to send and to place an order.
See Funeral Etiquette > Memorial Donations for guidance on making donations in the memory of someone.