What to take to a funeral
The first thing to consider is that you only really need to bring yourself. It’s not rude or offensive to just come and show your support. Below are some simple suggestions that can help you to pay your respects to those closest to the deceased, and be better prepared for the day.
What could I take to a funeral to pay my respects?
Although your presence at the funeral alone is enough to show your respect and remember the deceased, you might want to take something along too. This could be:
A sympathy card is a straightforward way of both expressing your condolences and letting the immediate family know you are thinking of them.
Read our guide to what to write in a sympathy card for inspiration.
Flowers are a traditional part of funerals and regarded as a way of extending your sympathies.
Some people get them delivered to the family home or funeral directors ahead of the funeral, but you can also bring them on the day of the funeral. There will usually be an area set aside for the placing of flowers (often near to or inside the entrance of the church or crematorium).
Sometimes, families ask for donations to a chosen charity, in lieu of funeral flowers, so it may be worth bringing some money with you. The money is often collected in a funeral donation box, which allows you to make an anonymous contribution following the service.
A memory or story about the person who has died
It can be helpful to think of a fond memory of the person who has died, or even a funny story, before the funeral. There may be a guestbook to write in, or you could share it with other guests at the wake or reception. You could even include it in a message in a sympathy card.
What could I take to a funeral to remain comfortable?
The suggestions below might help you (or someone else) cope with the emotions of a funeral and remain comfortable throughout the day.
Here are some practical suggestions for what to take to a funeral.
Even if you don’t think you will cry bring tissues or a handkerchief just in case. Often, the sight of the coffin or something that happens during the funeral service can set you off unexpectedly. They are also useful to have at hand to offer somebody else similarly affected.
If rain has been forecast for the day of the funeral, you may want to take along an umbrella to keep dry, particularly if you’re attending a graveside service or a woodland burial.
Sunglasses will be useful to protect your eyes from the glare of the on sunny days but can also be used to conceal your emotions should you feel distressed.
If there has been rain prior to a graveside service, or the funeral is a woodland burial or similar, you might want to consider taking footwear than is both practical and providers the level of comfort that will see you through the day.
If you are taking a young child to a funeral, it may be helpful to take a favourite toy, such as a teddy bear or their comforter, to help provide reassurance if they become emotional or upset. A funeral is a respectful occasion, so any toys that are noisy or may cause a disturbance should be left at home.
As we previously mentioned, the above are only suggestions and funeral etiquette doesn’t require you to take anything on the day, unless you want to.
For further information on what to expect when attending a funeral, read our other guides on attending a funeral.