How to Crash a Funeral

    Funeral crashers are rare, but do exist.  There was one person in particular that I saw a couple of times, and only when food was involved.  Many find crashing a funeral to be a terrible violation of ethics and morals.  But why?  What is wrong with turning up to a funeral just because you do not know who died?  Yes, taking the food at the wake is stealing and is similar to taking money from families who paid for the function.  But again, people see this as so much worse than similar theft outside funerals.  There is something about the funerals that makes any crime more unacceptable or unpalatable than in regular daily life.  The movie 'The Wedding Crashers' focuses on two guys who crash wedding to sleep with women.  Yet once one crashes a funeral he learns a lesson, and how low it is.  Even though we never see or hear of anything eventuating from his crashing the funeral, showing a funeral service for a couple of minutes total. So why is crashing a wedding an acceptable comedy but a funeral unacceptable and low?

    I personally do not care.  I do not say that anyone should crash a funeral, but I have no stronger objections than if they were to crash a wedding.  However I do find it an interesting was of looking at funerals, how to crash them that is.  How to sneak in under the rader and blend with the crowd.  It shows what it takes to 'belong' at a funeral.  So here is a short guid on how to crash a funeral.

- Dress appropriately.  This does not mean overdressing or void of colours, many people will be presentable and wear white or colourful things.  It is mostly black and plain semi-formal clothing and yet there is often variation between cultures and individuals.  So know your audience before arriving.  Some tips would be for guys to wear a plain black suit with grey shirt or dark grey suit with black shirt.  A simple tie, preferably dull in colour and matching the suit.  This should enable entry to most funeral without a second glance.  Women are a little more difficult as their funeral clothing is more specific.  If colour is desired then women tend to be brighter than guys, if no colours are required then women tend to be just black with simple gold or silver jewellery.  Either way, the key is to fit in without standing out.

- Pre-plan and research.  Read press notices, it is often the case that the family have printed in the paper all the details you need.  From the name of the deceased to the time and location of the service.  Also working out, through experience or information, if there is a wake will be useful if you are after the free food.

- Act confident and know what a funeral is.  This is perhaps the most important thing, just walk in as though you were meant to walk in.  Do not make obvious mistakes like going to the wrong part of the church, do not act awkward.  To do this go to a couple of funerals, watch the goings on and then it should all be obvious.

- Be punctual but not early.  Arriving late gets looks, but so does being the only one in the church as people arrive.  However if you walk in with the crowd then you are just one amongst many.  People should move in as large groups around 15minutes before they are due to start.  As you enter sign the condolence book and take an oder of service as everyone lese does.  If you do not want to sign the condolence book just say you will sign it later, after the service, if any funeral staff are nearby.  This will make you look like another mourner to the staff and family.

- Be vaguely specific.  IFF asked about your relation to the deceased do not get too specific lest you get trapped by fake details.  Yet avoiding the question could also be a bit odd.  Most people will not question you about the relation but should they then this is where some basic pre-panning comes in handy.  If they or their spouse were a member of a church or large semi-organised club then say you are as well.  Or you could be a friend of a mourner who has wondered off, here to support them and usure how they know the deceased.  The trick with a good lie is to not oversell and not hesitate too much and not worry.

- Do not just stand about.  Standing about awkwardly is not good as people will notice you.  When people notice you they are likely to question you and you being there.  So stand in the crowd, talk to someone (this is where a wingman is good) and appear as one of many.  Talking to older people is easiest as they are most likely to just chat.  Priests/fathers or brothers and nuns/sisters are good as they are experienced with funerals and are more causal than the average mourner.  They are hard to spot as they will often wear casual clothing to the funeral (both priests and nuns) if they have nothing to do with the service itself.  To recognise them look for the older people having more fun and being more relaxed than most.

- Go in pairs if possible.  Going as two is a lot easier than just one.  It will give you someone to talk with freely at the wake and someone help come up with excuses or ideas if needed.  Plus when chatting to others you can make a nice joke about each other here or there.  It creates a positive and happy atmosphere, indicating to people that you know each other and get along well.  All part of the idea of fitting in.

<> Remember, I am not saying you should crash a funeral, or even that this advice will enable you to do so.  This is more a look at how to fit in, how to belong even though you should not.  And what belonging at a funeral is and means. <>



  1. Anonymous7/2/15 04:58

    February 2015; There is a romantic/comedy movie starring Ian Schmolder and Bijou Phillips that have them
    going out as a couple because Bijous Phillips' character crashes funerals all the time.

    If there is a doorman there, maybe it would not be such a good idea for that particular service.

    A lady 'crashed' my brother's funeral. But she mostly stayed out of the way by talking
    to the priest and other funeral personnel. she said she saw the obituaries (perfectly legal)
    and decided to attend (nothing to stop her).

  2. Great read. Our team at Family's Choice Cremation Services appreciates learning new information.


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