Attending the funeral service of a close family member is a somber experience. It’s a time for paying respects and saying final goodbyes — which is why inappropriate and unwelcome behavior is not only disruptive but incredibly rude to those in attendance.

As such, knowing what not to do at a funeral before you arrive is important so that you can treat the event with the seriousness it deserves. If you plan to attend a funeral for the first time and want to follow proper funeral customs, here are five things you should avoid doing.

Wearing an Improper Outfit

Following proper funeral etiquette begins before you even arrive. As such, wearing improper outfits, such as flip flops or casual wear, can be perceived as disrespectful to the deceased person and their family. It signals a lack of regard for the gravity of the event and can draw attention away from the focus of honoring the life lost.

Be sure to dress conservatively and appropriately, and don’t do anything too bold or attention-grabbing. It’s respectful to the family members and other mourners to wear attire that reflects the solemnity of the service, as it allows everyone to focus on paying their respects and offering condolences.

Arriving After it Began

Arriving late to a funeral service is considered disrespectful for several reasons. Funerals are meticulously planned by funeral directors and family members to provide a dignified farewell to the deceased. Arriving late disrupts the flow of the ceremony and can be distracting to other guests who are trying to focus on their grief and support for the family.

As a good rule, it’s advisable to arrive early, preferably a half hour before the service begins, to avoid any disruption. This also provides an opportunity to offer support and condolences to the grieving family and friends.

Sitting in the Front Rows

The seating arrangement at a funeral ceremony often follows an unspoken funeral custom, where the first few rows are reserved for close family members and close friends of the deceased. As a general rule, it’s improper for other guests to sit in these front rows, as they are meant for those who were closest to the deceased.

This allows them the space and proximity to be directly involved in the funeral service, reflecting their deep personal connection. Other mourners should respect this arrangement and find seats further back to ensure that the immediate family has the space they need during this difficult moment.

Fiddling With Your Phone

During a funeral, maintaining a respectful atmosphere is of utmost importance. As such, using a cell phone to text or keeping sounds on is considered rude and disruptive. These actions can break the solemn atmosphere of the service — potentially interrupting poignant moments of reflection or eulogies.

A funeral is a time to mourn, remember, and offer support, not for attending to digital distractions. Turning off or silencing phones is a sign of respect to the deceased and their family, allowing everyone present to focus on the service and the life being honored.

Taking Photos

Funerals are deeply personal events, filled with raw emotions like grief and mourning. This means that capturing these moments on camera can invade the privacy of those who are grieving and can be perceived as a lack of empathy towards the family and close friends of the deceased.

Funerals aren’t for documenting the occasion for later but for mourning. Respecting the privacy and feelings of the bereaved family and other mourners is paramount, and refraining from taking photos is a key part of showing that respect.

Call McCafferty Funeral Home Today

Are you planning a funeral or memorial service in the Philadelphia area? Then reach out to McCafferty Funeral Home. We provide funeral services, cremation, and more. Contact us today for further information and to schedule funeral services for your loved one.