What to wear to a funeral?

man in black funeral clothes

Not sure what to wear to a funeral? Here’s our guide to choosing funeral clothes. 

Think about the location

When deciding on your funeral outfit, start by thinking about where the ceremony is being held. For example, a memorial service at a place of worship or crematorium might mean you need to wear smarter clothes than an outdoor location.  

Also think about the weather. You’ll need a dark, smart jacket and a dark umbrella if rain is forecast. In summer, lighter clothing is fine, but it’s generally best to avoid shorts or skirts that are above the knee. If you’re wearing something sleeveless, it’s a good idea to take a scarf to cover your shoulders, especially if the ceremony is in a church or temple. 

If you’re going to an Islamic funeral, you should wear long sleeves and full-length trousers or a skirt, even in hot weather. 

Stick to the colour code

It’s natural to have questions about the proper colours to wear to a funeral – especially as there’s no single rule.  

It’s common to wear black or dark colours to Christian, Humanist or secular funerals. In Hindu or Buddhist funerals, people, especially family, will sometimes wear white or pale colours as a mark of respect. If you’re going to a religious funeral and you’re not sure what colour to wear, it’s best to ask. 

Also, the family might want to inject a splash of colour into the proceedings and ask guests to wear a colourful funeral outfit instead of the traditional muted tones. 

Check about formality and modesty

When you’re choosing the right clothes to wear to a funeral, it’s important to think about how formal the service will be, as well as if there are cultural requirements to cover up parts of your body as a mark of respect. 

In Christian and secular funerals people will often wear a suit to a funeral. For men, this usually means a shirt, tie and jacket with matching trousers. Women usually wear a jacket over either trousers, a skirt or a dress. 

For some other faiths, such as Islam, men aren’t expected to wear a tie or jacket to the funeral, as long as you look smart. 

With more informal services becoming more popular, it’s worth checking what the funeral dress code is. 

Consider your role in the funeral

If you’re part of the ceremony – for example, if you’re one of the pallbearers – the person who’s organising the funeral might ask you to wear specific funeral attire so you match the rest of the pallbearers.  

Don’t forget footwear

Generally, it’s best to wear formal shoes or boots that match the rest of your funeral outfit. Women might want to consider wearing flat pumps or shoes with a small heel if you’re likely to be standing on grass for a long time.   

For most Christian funerals, closed-toe shoes (i.e. not sandals) are preferred. However, for some other faiths, such as at a Hindu funeral, sandals are usually perfectly fine. 

For Buddhist and Islamic funerals, you’ll probably be asked to remove your shoes, so it’s a good idea to wear ones that are easy to slip off and on. 

Hats and head coverings can be important too

Depending on the type of funeral you’re going to, you might need to wear a hat or head covering.  

For most Christian funerals, it’s usually up to you if you want to wear a hat. At Jewish and Hindu funerals a head covering is often worn as a mark of respect. For Islamic and Sikh funerals, it’s usual to be expected to wear a head covering, even if you don’t follow the religion. 

If you’re unsure, it’s best to take a scarf or small hat with you to the funeral, so you can put it on if needed. 

As with the rest of your outfit, aim to look smart and try to avoid making a statement by wearing a large hat. Try not to wear a baseball cap or beanie hat as these are usually too casual. 

Pay attention to jewellery

At Buddhist funerals, it’s common to avoid displays of wealth, as a mark of respect. So avoid wearing lots of jewellery or other showy accessories. This is also a good rule to follow for most types of funeral. 

What not wear to a funeral 

The rules vary for different types of ceremony, and also depend on the funeral dress code given by the family. However, there are a few items it’s usually best to avoid when you choose your funeral clothes: 

It’s always best to try to follow the dress code of the funeral as much as you can. If you have any questions, always ask the person who’s organising the funeral if something is okay to wear. 

What should children wear to a funeral?

For teenagers, follow the same funeral wear advice as for adults. If they don’t have a suit, then dark-coloured trousers (even their school trousers) and a shirt with a tie is ideal. Younger children, toddlers and babies should be smartly presented, but there isn’t the same emphasis on wearing black or dark colours. 

 

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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