Funeral Do’s and Don’ts: Funeral Etiquette 101

funeral etiquette 101 blog

In this ‘scintillating’ episode of the Good Grief podcast, Mike O’Connell and Amber Miller of O’Connell Funeral Homes join Pete Waggoner to discuss funeral etiquette. They get into the nitty-gritty of the do’s and don’ts of attending a funeral–from the proper attire, to the conversation topics that may be off-limits or offending to the grieving family. The two also share about the real-life scenarios they have encountered in their years of experience and how to best handle each situation.

The podcast offers an insightful and retrospective look into the essence of funerals and the proper way to honor the deceased while also providing comfort to the bereaved loved ones.


  1. Being respectful and considerate goes a long way when attending a funeral.
  2. There is no one right way to grieve.
  3. We can’t assume what another person is going through, so it’s important to be sensitive and compassionate.

In this episode:

[2:14] Host Pete Waggoner opens the discussion by asking if wearing black is a must at funerals. Mike O’Connell responds by sharing how the color has become a sign of showing reverence to the deceased and to those who are grieving. The guests also get into detail about the kinds of clothes that are and are not appropriate to wear to a funeral.

[9:15] Mike talks about the conversational topics that may not be appropriate to discuss at a funeral and how using the deceased’s name can be a way to show that they are being remembered. Pete further dwells into the topic by asking whether referring to the deceased in the past tense may be a sign of disrespect.

[13:33] Amber Miller discusses the different things to follow when attending a funeral such as being on time, where and when to enter when arriving late, and what to do when leaving early. Mike shares some ridiculous funeral stories he has encountered in his line of work to drive the point home.

[24:10] Pete starts the conversation on what one should say to the grieving family. Mike puts emphasis on the importance of being mindful of the questions one asks and how they should be phrased.

[35:56] The trio moves on to the topic of nonverbal communication and how body language can be interpreted by the grieving family. They also discuss what a memorial exactly is and the specifics of ‘Thank You’ cards.


    1. Amber Miller
    2. Read Show Transcript


    1. “Grief is unique to every single person.” – Amber Miller
    2. “Grief and love are essentially cut from the same cloth…The more we love someone, the more we grieve them. And it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to feel any emotion you feel with grief.” – Amber Miller
    3. “Follow your heart, follow your gut.” – Mike O’Connell

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