A Guide to Funeral Etiquette

Funeral etiquette
It is polite to turn your phones to ‘off’, during the service. No calls should be taken during the service.

Car seats in limousines
If your children need a car seat in your car, they will need one in our limousines. It is illegal for us to permit young children to sit on parents’ laps, even for short journeys.

What should I wear to the funeral?
Many families will now ask people attending funerals to wear bright colours, so the tradition of wearing black is often ignored.

Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in, and dress warmly if you are in a cold church or cemetery.

Some religions expect your head to be covered. If you are unsure, ask the family or funeral director.

Should I visit the Chapel of Rest?
If Chapel visits are permitted by our client, please call us to book an appointment time. For some, visiting the Chapel is an important part of the grieving process. For others it is a traumatic experience.

Never go to the Chapel because someone else thinks you should; it is a decision you must make for yourself. Some people feel more comfortable sitting with a closed coffin so please mention this when you make your appointment. If in doubt please ask for advice.

Who travels with the funeral procession?
The person arranging the funeral decides who will be in the car or limousines following the hearse. This is usually family and sometimes close friends. Most of the people going to the funeral will use their own cars and may choose to meet the procession where the service is being held.

Does the procession always leave from the home of the person who has died?
Traditionally yes, but the procession can leave from the home of a close relative. The family may decide to leave from the address where people will return to after the funeral. Or, mourners may decide to meet at the place of service. If you are not sure, check with the family or the funeral director.

Can children go to a funeral?
Yes, but toddlers and babies can be disruptive, especially if it’s a long service. You can take older children if they want to go. It’s a good idea to prepare them beforehand so they know what to expect.

Do people go into the church or crematorium before or after the coffin?
This depends very much on local tradition and the family’s personal choice. For example, in a church, mourners usually arrive and take their place before the service starts and then stand when the coffin is brought in, which is followed by the close family. At a crematorium it is more usual to enter after the chief mourners (family and close friends), who immediately follow the coffin. You should leave the front seats for the immediate family. As this will depend entirely on the family’s decision, you should check with the funeral director.

Where should I sit?
Chief mourners usually sit at the front. Sometimes, if it is possible, the chief mourner or next of kin sits at the end of the pew next to the coffin. In a large church or chapel that is unlikely to be full, it’s better not to sit at the back. The clergy may have difficulty in making themselves heard and the close family may feel isolated at the front.

What happens at the end of the service?
At the end of the service the minister will leave and everyone should stand. At a church the coffin will be carried out. In a crematorium chapel the coffin may remain on view, be hidden by a curtain or be lowered. The chief mourners leave first, followed by everyone else. If it is a burial, the coffin will be taken to the grave, where the minister will speak before the coffin is lowered into the grave.

What usually happens after the funeral?
In many cases, family and friends will get together for light refreshments. This may be at home or in a private room in a hotel or pub.

What facilities are at the crematorium or church?
At the crematorium you will find a waiting room and toilets. Most churches do not have a toilet available unless the church hall is open.

Do I need to be invited to a funeral or can anyone go?
A funeral service is open to anyone, unless the family ask that it is a private ceremony. The funeral is an opportunity for family and friends to say goodbye to the person who has died.