Funeral Custom Guide

Smith Family Funeral Home has experience supporting various types of funeral services. In our experience we have found that no two funeral services are the same – depending on religious beliefs and family wishes. In efforts to assist with planning a funeral or expectations of attending a specific type of funeral, please see our summary of different types of funeral services.

Christian Customs

Assembly of God

Funeral is typically conducted by a pastor and may include musicians who lead the songs. Usually there is an open casket, however guests are not expected to view the body. Those in attendance are expected to rise and sit with the congregations, however taking part in prayer or song is optional. Food is welcomed, it is acceptable to send flowers, and expect a dark dress code. The source of the readings will be from The Bible and a typical length of service is between 30 and 60 minutes.

Baptistflower

Guests of all faiths are invited to participate in the ceremony, however if Communion is offered, non-Baptists would generally not partake in Communion. Food is welcomed, it is acceptable to send flowers, and expect a dark dress code. The source of readings with be from The Bible and a typical service is between 30 and 60 minutes.

Catholic

It is customary to kneel beside the casket to pray for a few minutes if you attend a vigil or viewing. Typically during a vigil or viewing, you should pay your respects to the family and plan to stay for at least ten minutes. Immediate family and friends generally stay for the entire vigil. After the funeral service, there is a usually a formal committal or burial ceremony. Food is welcomed, it is acceptable to send flowers, and expect a dark dress code. The source of readings will be from the New American Standard Bible and a typical service is between 30 and 60 minutes.

Christian Orthodox

Funeral service will be held at a funeral home or church, generally with an open casket. Viewing the body is optional, if the body is viewed, Christians may kiss the cross or icon resting on the casket. If Communion is offered, non-Orthodox guests should not participate in Communion.  It is customary to stand during Gospel readings, the entrances of priests, Communion, and during the final dismissal. Following the funeral service, it is customary for the mourners to share a meal to celebrate the life of the one who passed.

Episcopal

Funeral service will be held at the funeral home or church, typically with a closed casket. Guests are not expected to view the body. A priest will lead the service and may include a Bible lesson during the service. If Communion is offered, it is reserved for Christians. Food is welcomed, it is acceptable to send flowers, and expect a dark formal dress code. The source of the readings will be read from The Book of Common Prayer.

 

Jehovah Witnesscandle

Funeral service will take place in a funeral home or Kingdom Hall, the service will last 15 to 30 minutes. Men typically are expected to wear a suit and tie, while woman are expected to dress in dark somber clothing. Food is welcomed, it is acceptable to send flowers, and the source of the readings will be from The Bible. Guest participation in the service is optional.

Lutheran

During the funeral service a pastor will preside over the service and read from the Lutheran Book of Worship. Christians are expected to participate in kneeling, singing, and praying. The length of the funeral service is typically 30 minutes. Food is welcomed, it is acceptable to send flowers, and expect a dark and somber dress code with Men expected to wear a jacket and tie.  

Methodist

The funeral service is an opportunity to express grief, celebrate life, and affirm the Methodist faith. The service will be led by a pastor with readings that come from a variety of sources.  Food is welcomed, it is acceptable to send flowers, and expect a dark and somber dress code with Men expected to wear a jacket and tie.  

Mormon

The funeral service will take place at a funeral home, graveside, or church. The service is typically conducted by the bishop of the congregation. Non-Mormons are allowed to participate in the funeral service. It is customary for guests that attend the funeral service to also attend burial.  The service typically lasts 60 to 90 minutes, it is acceptable to send flowers, and the source of the readings will usually be scriptures and hymnals.

PresbyterianFallen

The funeral service and ceremony will be conducted by a pastor or minister. Non-members are invited to participate in the service, however it is not required. The source of the readings will be from The Bible and Presbyterian Hymnal. Food is welcomed, it is acceptable to send flowers, and expect a dark and somber dress code with Men expected to wear a jacket and tie. 

Salvation Army

Funeral services will be conducted either at a funeral home or a Salvation Army hall. The service will typically last 30 minutes to an hour. The source of the readings will be from The Bible, often times stories and memories are shared by close family members. There may be a meal or refreshments provided for guests following the service. It is acceptable to send flowers and expect a dark and somber dress code.

Non-Christian Customs

Atheist

Atheist funeral services do no incorporate any types of religious readings or hymns. The main focus of the funeral service will be to express affection for the deceased and his or her family and close friends. Food is welcomed, it is generally acceptable to send flowers, and expect a dark and somber dress code. It is best practice not to offer religious based condolences to friends and family members (example: “She is in a better place now”).   

Jewish

The funeral service is conducted by a Rabbi, who also reads the eulogy. Generally there will be Jewish adults who also recite prayers during the service. Food is welcomed, however flowers are not appropriate for many Jewish funerals, instead making a donation to charity or a Jewish organization is preferred.  The dress code is dark and somber with males wearing a jacket and tie along with a yarmulke (head covering – usually provided at the funeral), and females are expected to wear conservative clothing. Females are not expected to wear a head cover.