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Attending A Wake? Follow These Etiquette Rules

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A wake is a service often performed prior to a funeral or memorial service where people can view the body and pay their respects. If this is your first time, you might not know the right way to communicate with others at the service. Here are some etiquette rules to follow when you attend a wake at a funeral home like Thomas Funeral Chapels Inc.

Dress for the Occasion

The first thing to know is how to properly dress for a wake. The reason you need to know this is because since a wake tends to be a little more casual than a traditional funeral service, some attendees make the mistake of dressing too causally. While you may not need to wear a black dress and heels, you also shouldn't show up in your jeans and Hawaiian shirt either.

The most acceptable attire for a wake is similar to a funeral or memorial service, including dark and muted colors. You can dress in black or other dark colors, such as navy blue or gray. Try to avoid brightly-colored clothing, as these colors express happiness and joy, and are disrespectful to wear at any funeral service. If you're not sure exactly how casual it is, contact the person arranging the wake for recommendations.

Don't Comment on the Body

Since many wakes include an open casket service, it is important that you remain respectful when viewing the body. Don't make it obvious you find a distaste for how it looks or talk to others about what it looked like. Keep this to yourself or wait until you are a comfortable distance away from anyone else who will hear you. It is natural to be a little shocked when you see the body of a loved one, but their closest relatives don't need to hear everyone at the service talking about how the body looks.

They want to hear positive moments you shared with them while they were alive. The funeral home will do their best to make the body as aesthetically pleasing as possible, but it may still be a bit of a shock. Prepare yourself if you want to view the body to say goodbye, and be respectful of others who are grieving.

Turn Your Phone Off

Any time you attend a wake or other funeral service, you should not have your cell phone turned on. When it rings or beeps due to an email or text message, it can be disruptive to other people. It is even more disruptive when someone is speaking at the wake. Not only should you keep the ringer off completely, but don't have it on vibrate either as that can sometimes be heard in an otherwise quiet room. If you think you will be tempted to look at your phone a lot, turn it off completely to remove the temptation. Checking social media while at a wake is very disrespectful.