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Funeral Etiquette

by Legacy Staff

Legacy offers advice from experts to help answer all of your funeral etiquette questions: 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?

Browse below for all articles about attending a funeral or memorial service, or jump to a particular funeral etiquette section:

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What to Expect at 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?”

What Happens at a Wake?

The wake presents an opportunity to comfort the family in a more relaxed setting than the funeral service. They are typically less formal than the funeral service and often include refreshments and conversation.

What to Expect at a Visitation

A funeral director offers guidance on what to expect at a visitation before the funeral.

Hindu Funerals

Will you be attending a Hindu funeral for the first time? Here is an overview of Hindu customs and traditions surrounding death, burial, and mourning.

Jewish Funerals

If you are attending a Jewish funeral, you may have questions or be unsure what to expect. Here is a general overview of Jewish customs surrounding death, burial, and mourning.

Sikh Funerals

Will you be attending a Sikh funeral? Here is what to know about death, burial, and mourning in the Sikh faith.

U.S. Military Funerals

What happens at a military funeral and how to best help a family say goodbye to their veteran with dignity and respect.

What Is a Living Funeral?

A trend that’s growing in popularity, a living funeral is held while the person being honored is still alive.


Should I Go to the Funeral?

“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.”

What Should I Wear to the Funeral?

What is appropriate funeral dress—and what you should never wear when attending a funeral, memorial service, visitation, or wake.

What NOT to Wear to a Funeral

When it comes to funerals, most of us sense that there are some rules of protocol that should be followed. Dress in a way that shows respect so it’s safe to err on the conservative side

Will It Matter If I Don’t Go to the Funeral?

Only you can weigh the pros and cons for yourself. But the following considerations may offer a new perspective.

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.

Should I Send Sympathy Flowers?

Sending flowers is a perfect way to express sympathy after a death. But what kind of arrangement is appropriate and where you should send it? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about funeral flower etiquette.

How to Write a Eulogy

Use this eulogy writing guide to help you craft and deliver a special eulogy that pays tribute to the life and legacy of someone important to you.


What Should I Say to the Family?

You don’t have to say much. But whether in person at the funeral, or in a condolence note sent with flowers, it’s important to acknowledge the loss and express your sympathy.

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?

Tips on Being a Pallbearer

Serving as a pallbearer is a serious job, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can be easier for you if you follow our advice.

What Is a Eulogy?

Given at a funeral or memorial service, the eulogy highlights the deceased’s unique qualities, importance in the lives of loved ones, and lasting impact on family and community.


Feeling Guilty About Missing a Friend’s Funeral

Missing a funeral can bring up a lot of emotions, but guilt shouldn’t necessarily be one of them.

Who Pays for the Funeral?

Money is always a touchy subject, whether you’re requesting financial help or being asked to provide it. Friendships and family relationships have fractured over money issues because expectations and boundaries can vary widely.

How to Make a Memorial Donation

It’s easy to make a memorial donation — all you have to do it choose the organization and the amount you want to give.

Learn whether funeral pre-planning could protect your family

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