Attending funeral-related events such as the visitation and the funeral service itself is your opportunity to gather your family together and show your support for someone that has lost a loved one. Given that these events can be emotionally charged and often stressful, it's important that you never lose sight of a handful of etiquette rules. Following proper funeral etiquette is about more than just behaving properly; it's also a way to be respectful of those in mourning. Here are three valuable funeral etiquette rules to remember.

Don't Overstay Your Welcome

It can be easy to stay at a visitation longer than necessary as you try to show your solidarity to the family. Your continued presence, however, can stress the family members because they might feel that they have to continually walk over to visit with you, which could mean alienating some of the other attendees. Although the exact length of time you should stay can vary depending on the size of the crowd, 15 minutes is typically an appropriate duration. This length of time will often give you ample time to greet the family, share a few words of sympathy and mingle with other attendees that you know for a few minutes.

Keep Your Guestbook Entry Brief

Look at the guestbook at virtually any funeral and there's a good chance that you'll see that people have used it incorrectly. A funeral guestbook isn't a place to share your message of sympathy. Rather, it's simply a way for the family to keep a list of the names of those who attended the event so that cards of thanks can be distributed in the coming weeks. Even if others have left messages in the guestbook, don't fall into this trap. Simply write the names of your family members and your mailing address. If you wish to write a message to the family, do so in a proper sympathy card.

Avoid Jeopardizing The Family's Time

Even if you're anxious to share some kind words with the family and pledge to provide some help in the coming weeks, it's poor etiquette to jeopardize too much of the family's time. Remember that the family might be speaking to more than a hundred people throughout the funeral event, which means others are likely waiting their turn behind you. A better approach is to keep your exchange brief and ask if you can call one of the family members in the next few days to follow up.

For more information about how to behave at a funeral, contact a company like Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home.