Funeral Etiquette

What is the difference between a memorial service and a funeral? What should I say to the deceased's family at the visitation? Does it matter what I wear? offers advice from experts to help you answer these questions and more.

Memorial Service Etiquette

"My brother’s funeral was in another state and my immediate family was unable to attend. I’m coordinating a memorial service for him in our hometown. How can I make it appropriate for all in attendance who have many thoughts and religious beliefs?"

What is a Memorial Service?

"What’s the difference between a funeral and a memorial service? I plan to attend a memorial service for an old college classmate, but I’ve never been to one before. What should I expect?"

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Should I Attend?

"When is it a 'must' to attend a funeral or a wake, viewing or visitation? I’m confused about how close you have to be to the people involved, and what is and isn’t appropriate." 

When Not to Attend a Funeral

A funeral is a time when family members can find forgiveness or compassion for each other and heal fractured relationships — or cement rifts that began far in the past.

Visitation Etiquette

To get a better understanding of what we may expect, I turned to a funeral professional, Stuart Clark, owner of McClelland & Slessor Funeral Home in Ontario, Canada. He shared some of the current options in visitation, funerals, and memorial services.

What to Wear to a Funeral

Advice from experts on what is appropriate to wear — and what you should never wear — when attending a funeral, memorial service, visitation or wake.

What Not to Wear to a Funeral

We live in a world where anything goes. And yet it's still surprising when people wear jeans and sweatshirts to church, shorts at a fine restaurant on a Saturday night, and flip flops for all occasions.

Sympathy and Condolence Advice

When someone you care about is grieving, it's hard to find the right words. What should you say in a condolence message? What common sympathy expressions should you avoid? What else can you do to comfort a bereaved friend? To help you support a grieving colleague, friend or family member, offers advice from condolence experts.

What Not to Say When Someone Dies

Even those with the best intentions might say something inappropriate to the bereaved. Hurtful sentiments can damage relationships; so many individuals stay away, fearing they'll say the wrong thing. So what can you do?