Funeral Etiquette 2018-11-14T18:18:55+00:00

Funeral Etiquette

The accepted customs of dress and behavior in a funeral have changed over time, but courtesy never goes out of style. Here’s what we’d like you to know about funeral etiquette.

Making the Most of a Difficult Time

It’s important to know what religious, ethnic or personal considerations you need to take into account. And it’s also important to be respectful of the emotions of close family members.

What you should do:

  • Offer an expression of sympathy.  Sometimes we are at a loss for words when encountering something as final as death. Simply saying “I’m sorry for your loss” is usually enough. Be respectful and listen attentively when spoken to, and offer your own words of condolence.
  • Find out the dress code. These days almost anything goes, but only when you know it’s the right thing. In fact, sometimes the deceased has specified the dress code; ‘no black’ is a common request. If you can’t learn the wishes of the family, then dress conservatively, and avoid bright colors.
  • Give a gift. It doesn’t matter if it is flowers, a donation to a charity or a commitment of service to the family at a later date; as always, “it’s the thought that counts.” Always make sure to provide the family with a signed card, so they know what gift was given, and by whom.
  • Sign the register book. Include not only your name, but your relationship to the deceased: co-worker, gym buddy, or casual acquaintance from the golf club. This helps family place who you are in future.
  • Keep in touch. It’s sometimes awkward for you to do so, but for most people the grieving doesn’t end with a funeral.

What You Shouldn’t Do:

  • Don’t feel that you have to stay. If you make a visit during calling hours there’s no reason your stay has to be a lengthy one.
  • Don’t be afraid to laugh. Remembering their loved one fondly can mean sharing a funny story or two. Just be mindful of the time and place; if others are sharing, then you may do so too. There is simply no good reason you shouldn’t talk about the deceased in a happy, positive tone.
  • Don’t feel you have to view the deceased if there is an open casket. Act according to what is comfortable to you.
  • Don’t allow your children to be a disturbance. If you feel they might be, then leave them with a sitter. But, if the deceased meant something to them, it’s a good idea to invite them to share in the experience.
  • Don’t leave your cell phone on. Switch it off before entering the funeral home, or better yet, leave it in the car. All too often, we see people checking their cell phones for messages during the services.
  • Don’t neglect to step into the receiving line. Simply say how sorry you are for their loss, offer up your own name and how you knew the deceased.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake. Everyone does, and you can be sure that an apology may be all that’s needed to mend and soothe.

When it’s all over, always remember to continue to offer support and love to the bereaved. The next few months are a time when grieving friends and relatives could need you most. Let them know that your support did not end with the funeral.

Customer Review

Daniel Sayani

Brooklyn, NY

Ballard Durand is a remarkable and extraordinary funeral home. It is more than a funeral home. Matthew Fiorillo and his team have helped revolutionize the way we think about funerals, death and dying, and the grieving process. Located in downtown White Plains, one is immediately struck by how grand and stately the building is; the funeral home itself is immaculate and elegant in both its interior and exterior, and one is greeted by plush carpeting, sconces, and dark wooden accents. In fact, the building was once the residence of eminent citizens such as the Honorable Humphrey J. Lynch, and the home has since become a historic landmark in the community.
A calming and soothing environment is further created through concierge services for the mourners, including a menu offering hot beverages, warm cookies, and cold soft drinks, as well as a lovely bird cage, and the healing presence of Lulu, a therapy dog who greets everyone with love and warmth. A beautiful golden doodle, Lulu is as sweet as honey and  provides families with unconditional love and support, as well as a subtle distraction from their grief.
I have never encountered a funeral home that pays such meticulous attention to detail in providing the finest care for its clients. Soothing music softly plays in the background, calming the soul at such difficult times. The staff is warm, compassionate, professional, and affable, and I have had wonderful interactions with Mr. Fiorillo, Joe, and Roy, a lovely Londoner who greets families with warmth and a friendly countenance. They offer a full array of customized services to help make any funeral a one of a kind sendoff, including balloon release, butterfly release, bagpipers, and a Harley Davidson hearse. Mr, Fiorillo is rightfully recognized as an industry leader, and Ballard-Durand, unsurprisingly, is acclaimed as one of the most prestigious and elite funeral homes.
I can personally state that Ballard-Durand and Mr, Fiorillo, and his entire staff, are experts in the art of Jewish funerals. They maintain warm and cordial relationships with an array of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox rabbis throughout the region, and are fully aware of our unique needs. They have an excellent rapport with Jewish community leaders and synagogues, and are pleased to host two Jewish sacred societies, including Westchester's Rosh Pinah, which provide tahara and shmira burial services fully in accordance with Jewish law. They are to be commended for serving the Jewish community, and for their immense cultural competency and their sensitivity to the needs of diverse populations. I am honored to be a friend of this wonderful institution.