Funeral Etiquette: Where to Sit at a Funeral
Losing a loved one is hard, and attending their funeral can be overwhelming. Proper seating during the service is essential to respect the family and other mourners. No set rules for seating arrangements exist, but following certain general guidelines is recommended.
When Should You Sit Or Stand?
Most mourners should sit for the funeral. There are exceptions based on the ceremony and your duties, such as pallbearers and anyone giving a reading or speech.
Where Does the Family Sit?
The family of the deceased usually sits in the front row or closest to the casket. This typically includes the spouse, children, parents, and siblings of the deceased.
Where Should Friends/Co-Workers Sit?
Close friends of the family may also sit in the second and third rows or close to the casket. This may include childhood friends, co-workers, and other close acquaintances.
What If There’s No Seating Available?
In some cases, the funeral home or church may provide overflow seating for larger services. This seating is usually located in another room or area, and may have a live video feed of the service.
When Should You Leave?
Knowing when to leave a funeral can be a difficult decision. There are three common times to consider leaving: before the service begins, during the service, and after the service.
Before The Service
If you were not close with the deceased, before the service is an appropriate time. This will allow the family to have privacy and space to grieve without feeling obligated to entertain guests.
During The Service
It is important to remain seated until the service has concluded, to keep from disrupting or being disrespectful. However, if you feel overwhelmed with emotion, it is okay to step out quietly and discreetly to collect yourself.
After The Service
After the service, the family may hold a reception or gathering to celebrate the life of their loved one. It is appropriate to attend and pay respects to the family, but it is not necessary to stay for the entire event. If you need to leave, make sure to say your goodbyes and offer condolences before departing.
Learn More From Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons
Losing a loved one can be a difficult time, but at Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons, we are here to support you. As a family-owned and -operated funeral home in Michigan, we provide compassionate funeral planning and pre-planning services to help families through this challenging period.
If you need help planning a funeral, please fill out our online form today to schedule a free consultation—we’re here for you 24/7.