Tradition and respect are the foundations of a funeral. If you’re attending one soon, follow specific guidelines to ensure you’re respectful of the family and the deceased. Below are three factors to keep in mind as you prepare for the service.

What Are the Expectations for a Funeral?

1. Be On-Time

Guests are usually invited to arrive 10-15 minutes before the ceremony starts. It may be an opportunity to view the deceased in an open casket service or share condolences with the family. You’ll also have time to write a meaningful message in the guestbook.

Ushers then begin guiding guests to seats, so arrive on time if you don’t want to stand in the back. Walking into the service late can be a disruption. Follow this same rule if you are attending a graveside service afterward.

2. Dress Appropriately

When in doubt, funeral attire is business-casual. Men should wear a black suit and tie while women should choose a black dress or pants and a blouse. Don’t expose skin and leave flashy accessories and handbags at home. 

funeralIf you aren’t sure what is appropriate, you can always reach out to the family or a funeral home representative. If you’re attending a service for someone whose religion you aren’t familiar with, contact a local religious leader for advice on attire. At a Jewish funeral, for example, men may be requested to wear a skullcap.

3. Keep Condolences Short

The surviving family members are likely overwhelmed by the recent loss and the legalities involved. If you’re a friend or distant family member, keep your condolences short and meaningful when you approach them or join a receiving line. If you don’t know the family, merely sharing your name and how you know the deceased is appropriate.


The staff at Shirley Brother Mortuaries & Crematory knows the burden that comes with losing a loved one. They’ve served Indianapolis, IN, for over 100 years and provide 24/7 service to customers. Their team is committed to creating a stress-free experience and assists with funeral preplanning, cremation services, and burial services. They also carry a variety of beautiful cremation urns and products you can explore on their website. Call (317) 897-9606 with questions or to schedule a consultation.