When you start to organize a funeral for your loved one, people might ask you whether you have any plans for the dress code at the service. You might not have thought about this yet; however, the clothes that people wear during the funeral can help set the tone. You can simply stick with a traditional dress code here, or you can ask guests to wear something different that you feel has a closer connection to the person who has died.
If the deceased didn’t express any dress code wishes to you, then you’ll have to make this decision on their behalf. If you aren’t sure which option to choose, read on for more advice.
When to choose a traditional dress code
If you have a traditional funeral dress code, then people will wear more formal clothes. The will dress in black or in darker colours. For example, male guests might wear formal suits and a tie; female guests might wear dark-coloured dresses, blouses, skirts or dress pants.
This kind of dress is meant to show respect. If you wear black, you also show that you are mourning the passing of the person who died.
Traditional clothes and colours are often the best choice if you are saying goodbye to someone who was older or who held more traditional or conservative beliefs. If you feel that your loved one would be uncomfortable with you having a more modern or unconventional take on the dress code for the service, then it’s best to play it safe.
The traditional route is also the easiest dress code to choose for a funeral service if you aren’t sure which way to go. You’ll create a respectful tone that everyone understands.
Bear in mind that some people might not wear black, even if you specify a traditional dress code. If you have multi-cultural guests, then their traditional colours of mourning might be different. For example, white is the colour of mourning in parts of Asia; and people from some South American regions might wear purple.
When to personalise your dress code
Some people feel that traditional mourning dress is a little sombre and depressing. They prefer to inject a splash of colour or style into the service, and they will ask people to wear something that celebrates the life of the person who has died.
For example, if your loved one’s favourite colour was yellow, then you can ask guests to wear something in this colour for the service. This could be an entire outfit, a single item of clothing, an accessory or even a simple buttonhole flower.
Or, if the deceased supported a local sports team, you could ask guests to wear clothes in the team’s colours. You could also encourage their friends to wear their team’s shirts when they come to say their final farewell.
Many people take comfort in this kind of personalisation. They feel that it allows family and friends to show their connection with the person who has passed in a more celebratory and tangible way.
You may find that it helps to take a more personalised approach if the person who died was young and taken too soon. You might not feel that dark colours and formal clothes are appropriate here. However, adding personalised elements helps you connect with any loved one, of any age, if you have a way to celebrate their life and your love during the service.