Always go to the funeral. Cards It is important to make sure any flowers are clearly and securely marked, as the family will wish to know who they are from and will wish to thank the donor verbally or in writing. Showing respect by dressing modestly and smartly is more important than unbroken black. Those not at the burial can go directly to the lunch or tea and it is quite in order to be served with drinks or food before the family returns. If in doubt, go, as your presence will undoubtedly be a great support. Royal Family Traditionally the Royal Family does not attend private funerals other than on very exceptional occasions.
Choosing The Flowers Family flowers may be in the form of a wreath or perhaps a cross, and the flowers of close family members are often placed on the coffin. It may not always be practical to attend with babies or small children but, if they are in the congregation, common sense should apply. While it is acceptable to try to sit near friends, who may have already been placed, it is incorrect to make a disturbance by clambering over people or making a fuss. Hats are often worn, but are not essential. In cold weather, both men and women should wear a smart tailored coat or jacket rather than a fleece or anorak. Those not on a list should take their places quietly further back or to the side. My father was unequivocal. In the country, memorial services are still relatively uncommon, other than for dignitaries or office holders such as lord-lieutenants. They may also come to support a school friend who has lost a parent or sibling, but less often a grandparent or uncle or aunt, unless that person was involved in their own lives. Always go to the funeral. Simplicity and discretion are crucial. By the time I was 16, I had been to five or six funerals. If the time and place are published, then it is a signal that the family does wish people to come and it is correct to make every effort to do so, as a good turn-out is a great comfort. That was the first time I went un-chaperoned, but my parents had been taking us kids to funerals and calling hours as a matter of course for years. It is a good thing to explain to smaller children what will happen and if the funeral is taking place in a church and children are not used to attending, take them to a service the previous Sunday. Have your donation ready so that the people behind you are not held up. In other cases, especially in the country, everyone goes to the graveside. At the service Punctuality It is vital to arrive early for funerals and inexcusable to be late. At state occasions military uniforms may also be worn. In the case of the death of, say, a school child, then the whole school or whole class may come, as may an organisation such as Scouts or the Pony Club. My father taught me that. The words chosen are less important than your manner and the very fact you are present. It is not obligatory to attend, nor is the wake intended just for close friends. At some very formal and grand funerals men may wear morning dress, traditionally worn with not only a black tie, but a black waistcoat. Seating The front pews on the right-hand side are usually reserved for family and close friends. Royal Family Traditionally the Royal Family does not attend private funerals other than on very exceptional occasions.
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