A Guide To Wearing Black To A Funeral

A Guide To Wearing Black To A Funeral

In multicultural Australia, we experience a wealth of religious and cultural diversity. It’s important in life and in death to respect the needs of the family and culture of the deceased. When attending a funeral, it can be tricky to know how to dress to respect the deceased and their family if you aren’t fully across the customs of that culture or religion. Wearing black to a funeral is generally the accepted norm in Western culture, however some cultures may have their own customs, and therefore finding the appropriate clothes to wear is important.

It is acceptable to call the funeral director organising the funeral to check in with religious or culturally required attire for the service in lieu of the grieving family. It might also be stated in the notice of the funeral.


Why did people start wearing black to a funeral?

In Western culture, before the 20th century, black clothing was worn by people in mourning and was used as a social symbol to let others know that the person was grieving. Traditionally, brides who lost their husbands were expected to wear black for a year after the funeral service to express sincere loss and grief in the public realm. This also served to give the widow an understanding community in her time of loss.

We have continued to wear black as a show of respect to the deceased, and their families in Western culture. It is a tradition that has carried through in support of our European heritage and is continued in a traditional fashion. Black is generally socially acceptable as a fallback position for funeral service dress.


Is black the only colour of mourning?

Not all cultures wear black to their funeral services. China and India predominantly wear white as their traditional colour of mourning. Some areas of the Middle East wear blue or purple to the funeral service. Many different cultures have symbolic colours for mourning, which should be respected and adhered to by all guests at the service.


wearing black to a funeral

Image Sourced from Asian Correspondent

It is important to consider the person’s religious or cultural beliefs when attending the funeral as there might be certain colours which are recommended or disapproved of for the service. The family of the deceased or the funeral director will likely inform you of any special requests, though black can usually be considered a respectful choice.


It is sometimes advised by the family that attire be of a bright or pastel hue to celebrate rebirth and the joy that the deceased had given to those attending the service. This will always be stated by the funeral director and the family of the deceased if it is acceptable. It is not wise to wear clothing that isn’t dark in colour or culturally acceptable to a funeral service unless specifically requested to do so.

wearing black to a funeral

Image sourced from Dailymail.co.uk


What do children wear to funerals?

Children’s attire for the funeral can be discussed with the coordinating funeral director or the family of the deceased. It’s important to consider if taking a child to the funeral is the right decision for the service and the child. Depending on the religious and cultural background of the deceased, children should dress in line with the adults at the service.


What is a safe choice when dressing for a funeral?

It can be difficult to know the respectful dress for funerals with the variety of cultural customs observed in Sydney. When looking for the safest option for funeral attire, and when there are no clear directions to do otherwise, it is considered best etiquette to wear something that is modest and subdued in colour. Navy, black, grey and other colours in fabrics and styles that are covering skin. Avoid short dresses and skirts, showing décolletage and cleavage. Of course if you know the deceased well and would like to wear something that celebrates the life of that person, you should proceed if you think the family will find it appropriate.

You are welcome to contact us when attending a Lady Anne hosted funeral service if you aren’t sure what the appropriate attire is. For more information and support after the funeral, you're welcome to follow Lady Anne on Facebook.


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Some of the families we've helped

“I just wanted to send you our sincerest thanks for everything you and your incredible team did for us in making the most perfect day, celebration and farewell of our beautiful Harper.

I have given a lot of thought to your business and the industry and I think it is perhaps the most important business for families to get it right when it comes to planning a funeral which may be sudden or may be a long time in the making. Either way, when one is faced with the unfortunate situation of needing to arrange a funeral, only then do you realise the importance of getting it right.

We experienced first hand the polar opposites the industry offers. It is not just about the cars, the booklets, the music and all the things that make up the day - its about the service, the care and most importantly it’s about the people.

From our very first conversation we could sense your genuine care to our situation and your attention to detail was obvious - this was very different to the previous conversations we had with others we had been referred to. Those other companies wanted to commence meetings with the paperwork side of things upfront which is a very confronting thing to do just days after losing your loved one - and when one of the others that I am referencing couldn’t even refernece our daughters name as our meeting started - we were horrified of how poor the service of care could be.

This is where you and your team shine. After feeling very lost in our search to secure the perfect funeral director to create the perfect day, my wife all of a sudden recalled you standing out the front of your office each morning watering the surrounding gardens to ensure a beautiful front of house. Well, I can assure you, it is not just the front of house that is beautiful - its the entire package that is beautiful.

Your manner, your direction and your expertise is evident from the get go. Nothing is too hard for you or your amazing team. The personal care made us feel like we were the only funeral you were working with at the time, and that’s exactly how it should be.

The finer detail, such as driving past our house so our daughter could go past our house one last time, then leaving the most beautiful flowers on our doorstep, to bumping into us at the Church because you were just doing your own research to make sure the day was seamless. This combined with your recommendations from every aspect as everything was very foreign to us, you were able to guide us to achieve the most beautiful farewell.

The day itself was simply perfect. Not once did we have a concern. The car was shining, your team dressed beautifully, cold water provided for us, directions for our guests, directions for us. Everyone commented on how amazing the day was and how incredibly your team were. Seamless is the only word I can use. It doesn’t stop here.

Your personal care and guidance then allowed us a more intimate farewell the following day (we are so grateful for for this recommendation and possibly would have missed this special day if you had suggested it was the best idea). Again, you and your team made us feel like you had nowhere else to be, and no one else to help. Just us. The setting was beautiful, the celebrant (that you arrange and recommend) is a delightful, your team make this day even more special than the last.

This is something we never want to go through again but there will be so many others, that like us, have no idea where to start to look for the right funeral director for their own special day. All I can say is that I hope that they appoint Lady Anne Funerals. We learnt a lot quickly and it is again a business many do not ever consider needing but without question one of the most important businesses to select the right person and the right team.

I welcome any of your future potential clients to contact me if they wish to discuss our experience with the amazing Lady Anne team. We thank you for giving our beautiful baby the most incredible farewell that was exactly how we imagined it, you just made it happen.”

Lee Dowdall

“We wish to thank you for having helped us put together a beautiful farewell for our mother, one which she would have been delighted with.

It was a difficult day and it would have been worse without your synchronised, seamless and consistent presence as well as attention to detail.

We value your candour as the people you are and the very sensitive manner in which you conducted the service.

Thanking you from the bottom of our hearts,

The Pastore Family
Karen has supported my Mum and me through the most difficult week of our lives as we not only planned a funeral, but interred my Dad to his new home. I will be forever grateful to Karen for her ongoing support, guidance, kindness, empathy and friendship over the last week. Karen has now become part of our extended circle of close family friends.
Daughter of the late Sveta Dordevich
Lady Anne Funerals has the compassion, understanding and empathy that many of the larger funeral homes do not possess. My aunts funeral was dignified and classy everything she deserved. I would highly recommend Lady Anne (and have) as they go above and beyond.
Joanne Marks
I am overwhelmed with the feedback on how beautiful it all was from all who attended. You and the other ladies were wonderful, looked so elegant, and made the day so very special for all who loved Paul.
Barbara Sommerville Enright
Karen and her staff treated us with the utmost respect we could not have been in better hands during this difficult time. My mum had organised her funeral with a prepaid funeral plan which she had purchased from Karen almost ten years ago this also made this upsetting time much easier to deal with and she got all the things that she wished for.
Malcolm Ellis
On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Lady Anne Funerals for a beautiful service yesterday for my aunt Dot. All who attended commented on how lovely the service was & the professionalism of all the staff. Thanks again very much for helping making a sad day one of celebration of Dot’s life.
Judith Neville

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