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Funeral Etiquette

Items of Remembrance to Share After a Loss

Honoring the deceased can come in many forms. During a wake or other commemorative service, guests may be presented with items of remembrance to honor the deceased. These items may take many different shapes or forms, but what they all have in common is that they are reminders of the loved one who has passed. Books of Remembrance This is a book that is set in a common area, typically during a wake or vigil service. Guests who have come to pay their respects to the deceased and the grieving family may sign in and write messages, memories, or... read more

What is the Difference Between a Casket and a Coffin?

In the United States, the words “coffin” and “casket” tend to be used interchangeably. However, they are very different from each other, and there is often great misunderstanding surrounding their true meanings. The word “casket” was first used as a euphemism for “coffin,” when it became seen as a somewhat offensive term. It held a meaning of finality, which is often difficult to face. However, the original meaning of the word “casket” referred to a box that housed special belongings, such as jewelry. Using the word “casket” to mean “coffin”... read more

The Differences Between a Funeral and a Wake

Wakes and funerals are both types of ceremonies that are used to honor the dead and allow survivors to mourn and remember their loved one. While the two ceremonies are similar in feel, there are some major differences between the two. For example, a wake is a more informal time for visitation and remembrance of the dead, whereas a funeral typically contains structured rituals and is often religious in nature. It’s common for a family to have both a wake and a funeral in order to commemorate the death of a loved one. In many instances, the... read more

The Rules of Writing Thank You Cards after a Funeral

The Rules of Writing Thank You Notes after a Funeral The etiquette of acknowledgement is truly a very personal and individual matter. While it may be difficult to find the energy to write a thank you note after a funeral, doing so is an important way of acknowledging the love and kindness that friends and family members have shown you during this challenging period in your life.  There is no set deadline when it comes to sending out thank you cards, though getting them out within two to three weeks after the funeral is ideal. Even if it takes... read more

How to Keep Unwanted Guests from Attending a Funeral

Funerals are a highly emotional and sensitive time for a family, and can bring complicated issues to light. However, it is important not to let family feuds take the focus off of honoring the life of the person who has passed away. To make sure the funeral is a time to grieve and not the start of a major fight, some families choose to place restrictions on who can and cannot attend the service. While placing a limit on who is permitted to attend the funeral may hurt some feelings, it can also prevent dramatic situations from unfolding and... read more

The Meaning behind Various Funeral Flowers

While any kind of flower looks beautiful and adds a touch of warmth to a home or house of worship as you honor the life of a person who has passed, it is important to understand the meaning behind the blooms you have selected. Types and colors of flowers convey different meanings, so you want to be sure that you are choosing an arrangement that reflects the proper sentiment. Lilies Lilies are commonly associated with funerals, as they represent the innocence of the soul of the person who has passed. White lilies also signify sympathy, and... read more

Flower Arrangement Differences for Men and Women

When it comes to offering up flowers after a person has passed, there are subtle differences between a man’s funeral arrangement and a woman’s funeral arrangement. Though flowers have a traditionally feminine association, in reality, floral arrangements are a beautiful way to express sympathy regardless of whether the deceased was a man or a woman. They can add warmth and light to a space, and are a visual reminder that family members and friends are there to provide support. Choosing an arrangement for a man When you are trying to select a... read more

Etiquette in Responding to a Private Funeral

While the passing of an individual may impact many different people, those close to the loved one may opt to hold a private service. If you see that a funeral or memorial service is “private” in an obituary, attendance is only limited to those invited. If a time, date and place are not listed in the obituary listing, it means that only those invited are asked to attend—it is not open to the public. There are many reasons why a family may choose to host a private funeral service, but it is important for others to understand how to properly... read more

How to Acknowledge a Funeral When You Can’t Attend

While you’d ideally like to be able to attend a funeral in person, this is not always possible due to cost or schedule conflicts. However, there are plenty of other ways to pay your respects to the deceased, even if you are not able to be there for the funeral service itself. If you’re looking to honor the memory of a person who has died in an alternative way, consider these tips: It’s never too late to send flowers Sending flowers is a traditional and beautiful way to express your sympathies to the family of the deceased. You can send... read more

How to Take Your Child to a Funeral

The death of a loved one can have a profound impact on a child, and should be handled with care. For kids who have not yet had to experience funerals or the concept of death, the ideas associated with these events can be frightening. Understand that there is no “right” age when it comes to allowing your son or daughter to attend the funeral of a loved one. If you believe that attending the service would help your child to grieve, then it is appropriate to bring the young boy or girl to the service. If you are planning on bringing your son or... read more

Keeping the Peace in a Complex Family While Planning a Funeral

Unfortunately, families are not always neat and tidy. There are rivalries, disputes, and other issues that can make the family dynamic a complex one. You may have a close relationship with one sibling and barely speak with another. However, when it comes time to honor the memory of someone who has passed, it is important that all relatives are able to put any issues aside and focus on celebrating the life of the deceased. Navigating lines of communication during the planning To keep any familial issues from detracting from the beauty of a... read more

The Proper Etiquette for Photographs at Funerals

Since everyone has a smartphone with a built-in camera, it’s possible to photograph any event or person at any time. While this can make for some great family memories, it’s important to have some discretion when it comes to what you’re photographing. When attending a funeral or a memorial service, you may have friends and family members in the same room who haven’t seen each other for many years. However, it is important to remember the reason you are gathered and to show tact when it comes to taking pictures. In general, it is wise to avoid... read more

What is the Proper Etiquette for a Memorial Service?

A memorial service is a service held without the remains present, usually occurring within a week of a loved one’s death (although this has the tendency to vary based on individual circumstances). The memorial service itself is more informal than a funeral, and guests can exchange stories and other personal tributes to celebrate the life of the deceased. Individuals planning or attending a memorial service are encouraged to learn about proper memorial service etiquette, as many people have varying opinions on what the service should look... read more

Tips on Dressing for a Funeral

When attending a funeral, it is always important to show respect for the deceased, as well as the other loved ones mourning his or her passing. As such, it is essential to make sure to wear respectful attire that is aligned with funeral service etiquette. While funerals often come as unexpected, it is easy to plan an outfit that is both simple and tasteful. Here are a few guidelines for those looking for guidance on what to wear to a funeral. Color Color may be one of the most important aspects of funeral attire, as it should reflect the... read more


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