Attending a Funeral: The Seating

    The seating is something which does throw some mourners.  It is not a common or serious issue, but it is something which obviously makes people unnecessarily uncomfortable.  In this post I look at where mourners should sit, as well as how they should sit.  As in how to make the whole event easier and better for everyone.

    Firstly there is no set side.  Every now and then someone would ask which side they should sit on and I would wonder about this.  It is not like a wedding where you can divide the group in half by groom or by bride.  There is no real or clear way to divide a funeral, and the idea is a bit strange.  I honestly always thought this question came more from anxiety or nervousness.  Either way, unless told otherwise there is no specific or set side to sit on.  Instead think about distance to the coffin rather than which side of the venue.

    The general rule is the closer one sits to the coffin or the front the closer one is to the deceased.  For example immediate family (such as siblings, children, etc) and very close friends will sit in the front row or two.  While co-workers and general friends will sit towards the middle or back.  Although this is not a set rule and does vary depending on a number of factors, such as the deceased's wishes, the culture/society of the mourners/deceased, the size of the funeral and so on.

    There are rarely designated seats.  Quite simply sit where you want unless there is a sign or someone telling you otherwise.  When seats are reserved they will either have signs or people to say so.

    A simple and great way to make attending a funeral easier is sit where ever feels right.  If you are not very close to the deceased (as in direct family or such) avoid the front two rows.  But other than that sit where you like, where you feel comfortable.

    Now, with a large funeral move over and sit in the middle.  This would be a big issue on the larger funerals, when the venue filled up people were standing even though there was still plenty of room.  It was because someone would sit on the end of a row of seats, making it difficult and awkward for others to get past.  As an undertaker I would have to move these people or squash others past them.  Another issue was with people who would sit in the middle of three seats, then a group of two or three would have to be split up.

    This is exactly what happened at a funeral I attended recently.  A lady sat two seats in from the end of the row leaving three empty seats on the other side.  The undertaker came over with a group four people and asked if she could move over so as to not split the group up.  The lady refused to move over to the end of the row or to the middle.  She stated that due to an eye issue she would not be able to see properly or clearly from the other seats.  The group then left, not wanting to be split up and ended up standing at the back.  The service started and the seats stayed empty while people were standing, squashed into the back.

    On one hand the lady has a right and should 'see' the ceremony.  However, she should have compromised, life is about making slight sacrifices to accomodate others.  To refuse to move over one seat was simply rude and inconsiderate of her.  All I am trying to say is that on a funeral of all places one should be thinking of helping or being kind to others.

    With the seating on a funeral sit where ever feels right.  Unless told otherwise you can and should sit anywhere you are comfortable.  Yet at the same time try to think of others and remember how nervous they might be.  So think about your seat, are you blocking anyone or are you splitting up a group?  And always be prepared to move to a less desirable seat if needed.



  1. I like what you mentioned about avoiding the front two rows. My husband and I are looking for funeral homes for my mother-in-law. I hope that our guests are respectful and leave the front to rows available for the immediate family members.

  2. I am a widow, whose mother in law recently died. For the funeral, where would I sit? Close to the immediate family or the cousins and aunts/uncles? My husband passed away 10 months ago.
    Thank you.

  3. I am a widow, whose mother in law recently died. For the funeral, where would I sit? Close to the immediate family or the cousins and aunts/uncles? My husband passed away 10 months ago.
    Thank you.

  4. all the time i used to read smaller articles that also clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece of writing which I am reading here.
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  5. Our Family's Choice Cremation Services often see this topic arise when mourners start to arrive for funeral services. Thank you for sharing your points on where to sit when attending a funeral.


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