Sometimes, when arranging funerals, people will invite a large number of guests to the funeral service but will only ask a few individuals to the burial. If you have been asked to attend the burial of someone you knew and have never been present during this stage of a funeral before, here are some etiquette tips you should try to remember.
Ask the deceased's family or closest friends before placing any items onto the casket
It is common for people who attend burials to place mementoes (such as love letters, photographs and small holiday souvenirs), as well as flowers, books or religious objects onto the casket as it is being lowered into the ground. These items serve as parting gifts that play a role in helping those at the burial to say goodbye and express their gratitude for the happy memories the deceased gave them whilst they were alive.
If you have an object that you would like to give to the deceased at the burial, you should not put it on the casket without warning. Instead, you should consult one of the deceased's family members or closest friends who will be at the burial beforehand and ask them if they would be okay with you doing this.
Ultimately, it is up to the deceased's closest companions to decide what objects can or cannot be placed onto the deceased's casket. Given the fact that these items will be in the grave forever, it is very likely that the companions will be selective about which objects will go into it. If you simply walk up to the casket and put in a particular item without having asked permission to do this beforehand, and the item is something that the deceased's family or close friends feel should not be left in the grave, then they could end up deeply upset. Furthermore, they may even have to briefly suspend the burial so that they can go and remove the object that you put on the casket.
Bring your own umbrella and a pack of tissues
If there is even a small chance that it will rain whilst the burial is occurring, you should bring an umbrella. Additionally, you should put a pack of tissues in your pocket. There are a couple of reasons why you will need these items. Firstly, if it rains heavily whilst the deceased is being buried and you don't have an umbrella, you may need to ask to share one with someone else who is standing near you. If you don't know them that well, encroaching on their personal space in this manner could make them uncomfortable on a day when they are probably already deeply sad.
Secondly, watching someone you once knew be buried can bring some very intense emotions to the surface. As such, even if you rarely cry and don't end up shedding a tear at the funeral home during the funeral service, you could find yourself weeping as you observe the burial of the deceased. If this happens and you do not have any tissues with you, you could unintentionally irritate or distract the other people near you, who are trying to say goodbye to someone they cared about.