Visitation Funeral Etiquette

Visitation Funeral Etiquette

You’ve been asked to attend the funeral visitation of a close friend or family member who has recently passed. Even though death is a fact of life for everyone, you may be unfamiliar with the rituals and rites of passage associated with such an event. Funeral Caring USA shares proper visitation funeral etiquette to help you know what to expect and how to act in these events.

What Is a Visitation?

A visitation, also known as a viewing, happens before the funeral and allows attendees to see the deceased’s body in the casket. Although it is customary to pay your respects to the deceased by approaching the casket, perhaps you don’t feel comfortable doing so. Nobody wants you to feel uneasy, so don’t worry about it. Instead, you can redirect your energy to soothe the grieving family.

Dress Code

First and foremost, you should follow the family’s lead and atmosphere to prevent any missteps at a funeral visitation. In most cases, anybody who knew the deceased or was a friend of someone in the family is welcome to attend the visitation. Your attire should be modest because this is a somber occasion; this is not the moment to create any fashion statements.


Visitation etiquette is determined in part by the location of the service and the length of time it is scheduled to last. In most circumstances, the family will host the viewing at their house; however, they may arrange it at the funeral home. You don’t have to be overly formal in your attire. The standard etiquette for a funeral visitation is to arrive early, introduce oneself to the family if necessary, express your sympathies, and then go after a short time.

The length of your visit is determined by various criteria, including how close you are to the family, how occupied they are, how much they appear to desire company, and where the visitation is taking place. If the visitation is happening in a house, you might want to linger for a little longer so you can talk about the departed. Keep an eye out for other visitors and the family to estimate how long you should be staying.

Things You Can Say

Sending your condolences might make the bereaved family members feel loved and supported. You can say how much the individual meant to the lives of others and how their absence will be felt. You can also let the family know that you think about them and pray for them.

If a family member is unfamiliar with you, make sure to identify yourself and explain your link with the deceased briefly before offering your condolences and sympathy. Make a sincere yet concise statement when you meet with the family. The family will be glad to learn that the deceased is remembered lovingly and missed by their friends.