What to say, wear and do at a funeral

Being there for the bereaved on the day of the funeral is important. Acknowledge their loss in a way that you find comfortable. Perhaps share memories and tell stories about the person who has died. This may bring tears or smiles and both are okay. 

Staying in touch with people in the weeks and months afterwards is crucial, as this is when grief can feel the hardest to cope with.

When you talk about someone who has died with the people who loved them, you’re not reminding them that they died, you’re reminding them that they lived.    

For further help and advice on bereavement go to www.cruse.org.uk

What to wear to a funeral

There are no rules about what you should wear to a funeral.

At some funerals, wearing formal dark clothing is appropriate, but at others, bright colours, flowers or even football team colours could be what the family wants. The days of only wearing black have changed in recent years as more families use colour to make the day feel more personal.

If you're unsure about what the family wants people to wear, ask them. If that's not appropriate, you can contact the funeral director to ask what the dress code for the funeral is.

The most important thing is that you're there and not what you wear.

Should children go to a funeral

There are differing opinions on whether children should be allowed to go to funerals. One way to make this decision is to ask the child if they understand what's going on. Going to the funeral of someone they love can be helpful for children who need to say their own goodbye. 

To help a child decide:

  • Check they understand what has happened
  • Talk about what will happen at a funeral
  • Explain they might see people get sad or cry
  • Speak honestly

For more advice on how to talk to children about funerals and bereavement go to www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/for-parents

Flowers and donations

You might hear that the family organising a funeral now asks for flowers to come from the family only. Or it could be that the person who died loved flowers and the family would appreciate them. 

It’s best to check with the family before sending flowers. If this is the case, they might ask for donations to charity instead.

If you don’t feel it’s appropriate to contact the family, the funeral director usually knows what their wishes are for flowers and donations and will be able to help you.


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