When to Arrive to a Funeral or Memorial Service

As a rule, you should arrive to a funeral or memorial service on time and stay for the entire service.

Arriving early to a funeral or memorial service

While funerals and memorial services are somber event, they are also social events, and people may arrive early to see other mourners and have time for personal conversations. If you aren’t able to arrive early to socialize with other attendees, you may have a chance to spend time together after the service, at a reception or gathering.

Arriving late or leaving early

If you arrive late, enter quietly and find a seat quickly. If you have to leave early, sit in the back so that you leave as unobtrusively and unnoticed as possible, and make sure you sign the guestbook before the service begins.

If you are participating in the service

If you are participating in the service in any way—such as serving as a pallbearer, delivering a eulogy or reading, or performing a song—you should arrive at least 30 minutes before the service is scheduled to begin so that you can meet with the funeral director, officiant, or coordinator to go over the schedule.

For more tips on funeral etiquette, see our article Funeral Etiquette.