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Things Not to Do at a Funeral

Funerals are sacred occasions where loved ones gather to pay their respects, mourn the passing of a cherished individual, and celebrate their life. Attending a funeral is a deeply personal and emotional experience, and it’s essential to conduct oneself with dignity.

Unfortunately, there are instances where individuals may behave inappropriately. In this article, we will explore in-depth some key things not to do at a funeral to ensure that everyone can participate respectfully.

Avoid Inappropriate Attire

One of the first considerations when attending a funeral is dressing appropriately. The attire you choose should reflect the solemnity of the occasion and demonstrate respect for the deceased and their family. Avoid wearing clothing that is overly casual, flashy, or revealing. Instead, opt for conservative and subdued attire, such as dark-coloured suits, dresses, or skirts.

Avoid wearing clothing with loud patterns or slogans that may be distracting or disrespectful. Remember, dressing appropriately shows consideration for the grieving family and helps maintain the solemn atmosphere of the funeral.

Refrain from Inappropriate Behaviour

Funerals are sombre gatherings intended for mourning and reflection, and it’s crucial to behave in a manner that reflects the gravity of the occasion. Avoid engaging in loud or disruptive behaviour, such as talking loudly, laughing, or using your phone during the service. Refrain from making jokes or engaging in inappropriate conversations that may offend others.

Remember to maintain a respectful and sombre demeanour throughout the proceedings, paying attention to the emotions of those around you and offering support and comfort where needed. By conducting yourself with dignity and sensitivity, you honour the memory of the departed and show respect for their grieving loved ones.

Don’t Arrive Late or Leave Early

Arriving late or leaving early from a funeral can be seen as disrespectful to the deceased and their family. It’s essential to arrive on time and stay for the duration of the service out of respect for the departed and their loved ones. If you must leave early due to unavoidable circumstances, such as childcare or work commitments, do so discreetly and without drawing attention to yourself.

Similarly, if you arrive late, enter the venue quietly and take a seat without disrupting the proceedings. By being punctual and staying for the duration of the service, you demonstrate your respect for the deceased and their family.

Avoid Bringing Uninvited Guests

Funerals are typically private events attended by close friends and family members of the deceased. If you were not explicitly invited to the funeral, it’s best to refrain from attending out of respect for the family’s wishes. Avoid bringing uninvited guests or acquaintances to the funeral, as this may cause discomfort or inconvenience for the bereaved.

If you’re unsure whether you’re welcome to attend, consider reaching out to the family or the funeral organizer for clarification. By respecting the family’s privacy and wishes, you show compassion and consideration during their time of grief.

Refrain from Taking Photos

While it may be tempting to capture moments from the funeral for posterity, it’s important to remember that funerals are private and sensitive occasions. Don’t take photos or videos during the service, as this may be seen as invasive or disrespectful to the deceased and their family. Instead, focus on being present in the moment and offering your support and condolences to those in mourning.

If you wish to preserve memories from the funeral, consider doing so discreetly and with the permission of the family. By refraining from taking photos, you honour the solemnity of the occasion and show respect for the grieving family.

Don’t Bring Children Without Prior Approval

Funerals can be emotionally charged events, and the presence of young children may not always be appropriate or welcomed by the family. If you wish to bring children to the funeral, it’s essential to obtain prior approval from the family or the funeral organizer. Consider the age and temperament of the child, as well as their ability to understand and respect the solemnity of the occasion.

If children are permitted to attend, ensure that they remain quiet and well-behaved throughout the service, and be prepared to remove them from the venue if they become restless or disruptive. By obtaining prior approval and ensuring that children behave appropriately, you show consideration for the family’s needs and feelings.

Avoid Bringing Gifts or Flowers Without Permission

While it’s customary to offer condolences and support to the bereaved, it’s essential to do so with sensitivity and respect. Avoid bringing gifts or flowers to the funeral without prior permission from the family, as this may be seen as intrusive or unnecessary. If you wish to express your condolences, consider sending a sympathy card or making a donation to a charity or cause that was meaningful to the deceased.

Alternatively, wait until after the funeral to offer your support in person or with a thoughtful gesture. By respecting the family’s wishes and preferences, you demonstrate empathy and understanding during their time of loss.


Funerals are sensitive occasions so it’s important to behave appropriately. Follow the above guide and you should avoid committing any faux pas. However, funerals are becoming increasingly diverse and it’s best to behave according to any preferences stipulated.

If you would like more information on how to behave at a funeral, get in touch with the team at Academy Funerals. Our team looks forward to hearing from you and will be happy to help however we can.

Academy Funeral Services is part of Heaven Address, an online community where families can share precious memories of loved ones.