When you show up at a funeral home service, your presence should be all about supporting the grieving family, saying the right things, and offering your assistance however you can. You may plan to carry with you a series of devices, but it's important to always think whether these things will be helpful or a hindrance. A funeral service is one of the worst places to commit an etiquette no-no. With the family already bereaved, your oversights can seem quite hurtful. Here are four common devices that you may have, and some tips on how to proceed.
Cellphone: Yes, Within Reason
Virtually everyone carries a cellphone, which means that you'll likely plan to take this device into the funeral home. Doing so is okay—you shouldn't feel as though it's necessary to leave the phone in your car. However, you absolutely need to make sure that the phone is set to mute so that it doesn't ring during the service. Additionally, browsing on your phone or checking text messages is an etiquette faux pas, especially during the service. Even if you're standing in line at the visitation, it's best to keep the phone out of sight.
Children's Toys: Yes, Mostly
If you're attending a funeral service with young children, don't shy away from taking a toy to keep them amused. You don't want a cranky child having an outburst, and playing with a toy can keep this from happening. Be sure to select the right type of toy, though. Electronic toys are a bad choice because of the noises they make, while hard things such as toy cars are loud when dropped. Stuffed animals are ideal because your children can play with them quietly.
Some people feel as though it's fine to take a camera to a funeral service, while others feel that doing so is in poor taste. It's one thing if you're a photographer and the family has asked you to snap some shots, but it's another thing to show up with your camera and document the moment. Taking photographs during the ceremony is a bad move. Candid or group shots afterward can be okay, but it's ideal to clear such behavior with the family first.
Sympathy Gifts: No
It's understandable that you want to give a sympathy card and some flowers to the bereaved family, but you generally shouldn't show up to the funeral with these things. Instead, send your card via the mail to the family's home. If you wish to give flowers — and the obituary doesn't request that you consider a financial donation instead of flowers — it's generally ideal to have them sent to the funeral home beforehand so that attendees can set them up in the room.
For more proper etiquette tips, contact your local funeral home service, like http://www.faroneandsoninc.com.