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Funeral Etiquette

Are you uncertain about what to do at a funeral? Have you wondered what options are available if you can’t attend a funeral? This section teaches you everything you need to know to help you do the right thing before, during and after the service.

What to Do

Offer Words of Condolence

Offering comforting words to the family is usually the easiest thing you can do. It's also something the family will appreciate and remember. If you're attending the service, offer your condolences in person or share a story or special memory about the deceased. If you can't be there, send a card or share your message using the Book of Memories online memorial tribute page.

Sign the register during the visitation

When you sign the register at the funeral home, be sure to list your name and your relationship to the deceased. The register is something the family will have forever, and they will appreciate knowing who you are and how you knew their loved one in years to come.

Send a gift to the family

Appropriate gifts include flowers, a donation to a charity (oftentimes the family will have a preferred charity), food or a service. You can send your gift to the family's home or the funeral home. Please ensure you include a signed card with your gift so the family knows who sent it.

Stay in touch with the family

Depending on your relationship with the family, you may choose to stay in touch in person, by telephone or online. The grieving process can be long and difficult. You will serve the family well by letting them know you're there for them.

What to Wear

Historically, people wore black to a funeral. Today it's acceptable to dress in a wider range of colors and clothing styles.  A good rule of thumb is to dress as you would at church or a job interview.

Have other questions about funeral etiquette? Visit our FAQ page or contact us.

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Grieving doesn't always end with the funeral: subscribe to our daily grief support email, designed to help you a little bit every day, by filling out the form below.

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2175 Massachusetts Avenue | Cambridge, MA 02140 | Fax: 617.491.2357 | Email: info@keefefuneralhome.com