What Is Proper Etiquette for the Visitation?
The visitation provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect and appreciation for a life that has been lived. Common sense and good discretion are always the best guides when attending a visitation. Below are additional guidelines for the visitation.
1. Attend the visitation. Your presence is an eloquent statement that you care, and there is no replacement for your physical presence. The visitation will give you the opportunity to express your condolences, rather than awkwardly approaching the bereaved at the office, supermarket or other place. The length of your stay at the visitation is matter of discretion. After talking with the family and viewing the deceased, you can then visit with others in attendance.
2. Dress appropriately. Although black dress is no longer required, choose subdued or darker colors for your attire. Loud colors or busy prints should be avoided. If you are unsure of what to wear, a conservative choice is always best.
3. Express your sympathy. When you attend a wake you should approach the family and express your sympathy in a caring and thoughtful manner. It is appropriate to relate your memories of the deceased. Introduce yourself to each family member if you are not previously acquainted. It is not appropriate to ask about the cause of death.
4. Sign the guest registry. Use your full name and address. Additional written comments are not appropriate for the registry. If the person is a business associate, it is proper to list the affiliation, as the family may not be familiar with the relationship to the deceased.
5. Give a memorial gift. Gifts in memory of the deceased are often made, particularly when the family has requested gifts in lieu of flowers. If the family designates a specific organization or charity, please honor this request instead of giving other memorial gifts. Remember to provide the family’s name and address to the charity for proper notification of your gift. If your choose flowers, they can be sent to the funeral home prior to the funeral. Memorial flowers or gifts can be sent to the family residence at any time.