Funeral Etiquette: Part 3 – Time and Funerals
Mourning the loss of a loved one can make it seem as if time stands still.
That is why it is important to be vigilant and respectful about what time you arrive at a memorial service and how long you plan to stay. Bi-State Cremation and Funeral Service offers these guidelines for appropriate arrival and departure times for funerals, celebrations of life and other memorial services.
If you are participating in the service, such as delivering a eulogy, reading or if you are a pallbearer, arrive at least 30 minutes in advance so you can get final preparations and instructions. You will be a vital part of the ceremony, so arriving late is disrespectful and can affect the overall timing of the event.
If you are a guest at the service, plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time. This helps to ensure you seated and have time to greet others. It also builds in a buffer if you have issues with traffic or parking. Showing up with time to spare is perfectly acceptable, so you can share condolences with other guests. As a guest, try not to arrive more than 30 minutes in advance.
If you are running late for a service and it has already started, wait until a break in the ceremony to enter. Seating yourself between speakers is much better than during a prayer or reading. If there is not a break, do not interrupt. Remain standing at the back as to not disrupt the ceremony.
If you must leave a service early, plan to arrive early and find a seat close to the back near an exit. This will allow for the least amount of disturbance possible. Again, between speakers is the right time to gracefully bow out.
When family has planned a wake, there is more flexibility as to what time you can arrive. If you were close to the deceased, you might want to stop by earlier in the day and stay longer. There might be items you can assist with including hosting duties or helping food and drink. If you were not especially close to the decedent and the family, avoid meal times as well as times that are very early or right before closing. Make sure you do not overstay your welcome. Share your condolences and provide a sympathy gift if appropriate, but do not stay if your presence gets in the way of the family’s grieving. Stay 30 minutes to an hour at the wake if you were not particularly close.
When it comes to timing, remember that the most important consideration is the family and close friends of the deceased. Your presence will be welcome and appreciated, but less so if you show up late or leave early without regard to your surroundings.
Questions about timing or other funeral etiquette? Ask the St. Louis funeral home professionals at Bi-State Cremation and Funeral Service. We will handle your inquires with care and understanding. For more information about our superior cremation and funeral services, please call us today at (314) 831-8868.