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What Should you Avoid at a Funeral?

Funeral Roses

Funerals are difficult occasions at the best of times, and it makes sense to avoid making the day harder than it already is. One way to achieve this is to avoid certain behaviour or actions at a funeral that might make the situation worse. This can apply on an individual level, while it can also apply to the organisers.

However, it can be difficult to know what to avoid when we’re under stress, and funerals are among the most stressful situations most of us will face. As such, we’ve created this brief guide to help you know what you should avoid at a funeral.

Showy Clothes

A funeral is a very sombre affair, and it’s only right that people dress accordingly. In most cases, this means dressing in smart dark-coloured clothes that are not too flashy. Remember that you are there to remember the deceased and funerals are not an opportunity to make a fashion statement. However, what is appropriate can vary on numerous factors, including the wishes of the deceased. If there are specific requirements regarding the dress code then the organizer will need to make attendees aware before the occasion.

Phone Calls

It’s best that everybody turns off their phones during the processions, or at least turn down the ring volume. Otherwise, people in the congregation might receive calls at an awkward time, potentially upsetting others. And it’s even worse to accept a call during a funeral, meaning there’s not much point in having it on in the first place. Organisers can help by requesting people turn their phones off before the service begins.


You won’t be expected to be breaking down in tears throughout the service. After all, people handle situations differently and one way people tend to deal with stress is by laughing. However, laughing at a funeral can give the wrong message and is potentially upsetting for some people. It’s OK to enjoy a chat with people at a funeral and you might even have something amusing to share, but make sure any laughter and similar behaviour are saved for another time.

Bringing Uninvited Guests

Funerals are often open to anybody that wishes to attend. However, they are still personal affairs and should be treated as such. As such, it’s best to avoid bringing any guests with you unless they knew the deceased well. Remember that a particular person’s presence might be upsetting or even offensive to others so it’s important to take different relationships into account.

If you know the deceased and wish to attend first, it’s best to check first if you’re not sure.


Alcohol during a funeral service is a bad idea, and for several reasons. For one thing, alcohol can make it harder for people to cope with stress, potentially making the day harder than necessary for them. For another, alcohol is more likely to lead to emotional outbursts from the drinker, potentially upsetting other people present. It’s usually OK to have alcohol at a wake, but it’s best to avoid it completely for the service itself.


People are more likely to become irritated and complain at such a stressful time, but this can be difficult for others to cope with during the occasion. Bear in mind that other people around you are also very upset and it’s best to take their feelings into account as well. Common complaints might be gripes about the service and many people might feel compelled to pick holes in the slightest of things. Instead, it’s best to keep any complaints to yourself, or at least wait until a more appropriate time.


Funerals can be long affairs. They’re also not the most exciting of occasions, and they’re not supposed to be. As such, some people might become bored during the service, and boredom can lead to yawning. Somebody close to the deceased might take offence at seeing somebody yawn during such a time.

As such, it’s a good idea to try and keep yourself involved with the service to help prevent boredom from setting in. It’s also a good idea to get as much sleep as possible the night before to help limit tiredness. And if you must yawn, you should do the best you can to do so discreetly and respectfully.


The main thing to remember during a funeral is that it is not about you. Instead, it is an opportunity for anybody close to the deceased to say their goodbyes. If people show inappropriate behaviour during a funeral then it can be very upsetting and potentially offensive to other people.

When attending a funeral, it’s best to dress for the occasion and behave in an appropriate manner. Turn your phone off, avoid yawning, and don’t drink any alcohol. If you have any complaints then wait until an appropriate time to bring them up or, even better, avoid making any complaints altogether.

Regardless, people are people and there will be occasions when somebody behaves in a different way than you would. In such cases, it’s best to try to remember that they’re not necessarily being disrespectful and the people deal with stress in different ways.

If you would like any more information on what you should avoid at a funeral or any other related topics, feel free to get in touch at a time that’s good for you. Our friendly and professional team will be happy to help you in any way that we can.