Funeral homes in Penn Township, PA and beyond can be very intimidating. If you haven’t been to many funeral homes before, it can be hard to know exactly what the proper etiquette is, especially when it comes to being respectful of the proceedings and family members.
From the loss itself to the somewhat confusing rules, it’s tough to understand and properly execute all the funeral home traditions and social constructs, which is hard enough.
Read on to learn a bit more about funeral home etiquette so you can be better prepared for your next service and visit:
1. Attire – Funeral homes are serious places, and your attire should be as well. Unless otherwise noted or dictated by culture, keep your clothing conservative and in darker colors.
2. Religion – Funeral homes can be religious places during services, and this may make some people uncomfortable. If the ceremony has religious aspects that do not match your own or make you uncomfortable, simply remain silent and respectfully engaged. Remember, you are there to honor the deceased not make a religious statement.
3. Seating – The first two rows of seats are oftentimes reserved for the close friends and family, but other than that the seating plans are usually open. Try and remain seated throughout the service, unless dictated by the MC. This same basic rule applies to a graveside service, as the chairs right by the grave are typically reserved for family.
4. Communication – There might not be many chances for you to speak with the family of the deceased at the funeral home, but if you do have an opportunity be sure to take it. All you need to do is express sympathy for their loss. If you knew the deceased well and feel it’s appropriate, you may say something more personal about the deceased. However, keep it short and simple as the family most likely has lots of other guests to attend to.
5. Distractions – Turn off your phone. If you don’t want to turn if off completely, at least put it on silent or Do Not Disturb for the duration of the service. If you must take a call, do step outside as looking down at your phone or checking messages inside the funeral home is disrespectful. Along those same lines, people often do not bring children to funeral homes for fear they will be a distraction or disruption. Use your best judgment with your child, but toddlers and babies should generally stay at home with a sitter.
Use your best judgment, and always try and follow the family’s lead when it comes to etiquette. When in doubt, lean in towards the conservative side. Do keep in mind that the above are general guidelines and do not necessarily apply to every funeral home experience.
Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. is a Penn Township, PA funeral home. We have a range of services and would be happy to help you in your time of need. Give us a call today for more information about what we can do for you.