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.