When preparing to attend a formal event, you’ll want to ensure that you make the right choices. You’ll need to ensure that you have the right attire. You’ll also need to know when and where the event will be. Finally, you’ll need to understand the expectations of those around you at a gathering like this. Read on to learn more about whether it is okay to arrive early to a funeral.
Families traditionally organize the wake in certain cultures and traditions worldwide. The wake is typically an open-ended celebration of life, though this gathering is often formal in the US. Immediate family may choose a date and time after the individual passes for friends and family to show up at their home and spend time together. You can arrive at a wake when it’s convenient for you, but ensure you know when the event begins and ends so that you don’t miss it.
The funeral is usually a much more formal event. Everyone should arrive 15 to 20 minutes early—except for family members who are organizing the event. Many people consider arriving too early to be inconsiderate of the family and the funeral home. You want to give them time to prepare and grieve privately.
Although the reception afterward may seem like the most formal event of the three, it’s actually more informal. This gathering is much like the wake; only the family decides when it begins and ends. There’s usually a spread of food afterward for guests, family, and friends, as funerals can last for several hours. If you can’t attend the reception, sign a prayer card or memorial card and gift it to the family so that you can give your condolences on your way out.
If you’re wondering if it’s alright to arrive early to a funeral, you can always ask the family how they feel. If you aren’t comfortable reaching out to them at this time, you can use this brief guide as a reference.