Monday, November 28, 2016

Everything You Need To Know About Funeral Etiquette

You may think that wearing a dark suit or a somber black dress to a funeral is the only required custom that won't make you stand out from the crowd - or insult the other mourners. Wrong. There's a lot more to funeral etiquette than just wearing the right clothes. Knowing what to do - and what not to do - can help prevent offense on the day, and spare you lasting embarrassment in future.

Funeral serve two main purposes: to commemorate the life of the deceased, and to offer mourners a chance to gather together and say their final goodbyes. Funerals are NOT places to network, party until you puke or pick up a cute date - although unfortunately all three happen from time to time.

While there are general guidelines regarding funeral behavior, as a rule they are specific to the event itself, taking religious, ethnic and personal considerations into account. While almost all funerals require that guests are polite, discreet and respectful, there is often more you can do - both to help the families of the deceased feel better, and leave them with additional happy memories of their loved ones...

Funeral DOS

Attending a funeral for the first time can be especially tricky, but it's never all that easy. Here are a few actions expected of you that will make the whole process run a lot smoother...

DO offer up an expression of sympathy. Often we are at a loss for words when encountering something as final as death. Simply saying "I'm sorry for your loss" is usually enough. Be respectful and listen attentively when spoken to, and offer your own words of condolence.

DO find out what the dress code is. While black or dark colors are the usual accepted attire, these days anything goes. If the funeral is of a young person, friends or parents may ask guests to dress up in sunny colors. Some people even write in their wills that what they want their dress code to be: they may want guests to attend their final send-off in Star Trek or Batman costumes, bright turquoise or even hot pink.

DO offer some type of gift, be it flowers, donation to a charity or a hot casserole (see below). If you know the family intimately it will be easy for you to choose the right gift. If you don't, a bouquet or flowers or charity donation along with a simply signed card will speak volumes.

DO sign the register book with your name and affiliation, such as place or work or club membership. This will help family place who you are in future.

DO keep in touch with family members and friends later on. It might be awkward for you to do so, but for many people the grieving doesn't end with a burial.

Funeral DON'TS

Avoid making a complete idiot of yourself by following these simple rules...

DON'T feel that you have to stay at the funeral forever. A funeral can be a drop-in occasion, and if you make a visit during calling hours there's no reason your stay has to be a lengthy one. Talk to the people you need to talk to, murmur a few sympathetic words, have a drink and a cracker and make your exit.

DON'T be afraid of having a laugh. There is no written rule that says you cannot remember the departed with a funny anecdote or a shared story or two. While pealing off into raucous laughter may not be ideal, there is no reason you shouldn't talk about the deceased in a happy, positive tone.

DON'T feel you have to pray next to the deceased - or even touch them - if there is an open casket. Act according to what is comfortable to you. If you are a bit nervous and want someone to come with you, by all means ask. If, on the other hand, you don't want to get all close and personal, then don't.

DON'T allow small children to run wild. If they don't know the deceased, it's best to shell out for a babysitter and leave them at home. However, if the deceased meant something to them, it's a good idea to invite them to share in the experience, which eventually will help them come to terms with their own grief.

DON'T try to network at the funeral. This can sometimes be a temptation if your entire office is in attendance, including the higher echelons of power. But you can look like a total jerk if you use someone's death to your advantage, and it could all hideously backfire on you...

DON'T try to pick up the hot chick next to you either. If you think she could be the future love of your life, find out her name and try to contact her later - say in a week or three.

DON'T take advantage of all the food and drink on offer to stuff your face and get drunk. Nobody appreciates a funereal freeloader.

DON'T leave your cell phone on. Any type of electronic device should be switched off before entering the funeral home.

DON'T shy away from the receiving line. All you have to do is shake hands or give a hug, say how sorry you are for their loss, and offer up your own name and how you knew the deceased. Remember, this isn't about you. If they want to engage you in conversation that's fine; if not, just murmur your condolence and move on.

Expressions of Sympathy

Some people like to bring a personal gift as a token of sympathy; others supply gifts when they are unable to attend the funeral in person. Expressions of sympathy can include:

Card or letter, phone calls or email. A card is always appreciated as it is a long-term keepsake. If you didn't know the person well, an email will suffice.

Flowers. A beautiful bouquet can either be sent to the funeral home, to the house of the deceased, or the location of the memorial service. However, you should respect the wishes of the deceased if donations are asked for instead.

Donations to charity. Many people choose to put money to good use, and designate some of their favorite charities as a recipient. Ask and they shall receive.

Food. Often family is too busy to think about food, so a cake, casserole or even a bag of easy-to-prepare groceries is usually much appreciated.

Memorial gifts. While flowers and donations are the two most common memorial gifts, others include statues in honor of the deceased, jewelry, urns, sundials, birdbaths (for the cemetery or garden) etc. Use your common sense to purchase something appropriate.

Offers of help. While food is almost always appreciated (see above), sometimes other offers of assistance are needed. Maybe you can provide some hours of childcare, walk a dog, buy a carload of groceries or clean a house. The best thing to do is ask what is needed - then provide.

Attending a funeral can be awkward for many people, but there are tried-and-tested rules to make the experience a lot easier for everyone. It doesn't matter if you are attending a traditional funeral or a personalized family affair, this is one occasion where you should be aware of what is expected of you, and try to conform as best as possible.

And when it's all said and done, remember to keep on offering support and love to the bereaved. Memories don't die when the coffin is in the grave, and the next few months are a time when grieving friends and relatives could need you most. Let them know that your support did not end when the funeral finished.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

We Offer A Beautiful Setting And Much More

 Gathering with friends and family gives everyone the opportunity to share memories, express emotions, and find comforting support. Whether you choose burial or cremation; whether you select a formal funeral or a more relaxed memorial service, the need for acknowledgment of the loss with family and friends is ever present. We can help you create a unique meaningful ceremony to express the genuine individuality of your loved one.

We offer families a beautiful setting in which to come together to honor your loved one. But, you may certainly choose to celebrate their life in a more unique setting. No matter where you decide to gather together, such a service will make a difference in the lives of all who attend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stonestreet To Lead Tree of Memories Service at Bryan-Braker

The annual Tree of Memories Remembrance Service will start at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Bryan-Braker Funeral Home Chapel, 1850 W. Texas St.

The Rev. Rick Stonestreet from Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield will join Bryan-Braker Funeral Home staff in remembering all loved ones who have died and to offer support to families during the holiday season, according to an announcement for the service.

Each family will light a candle symbolizing their memories and the warmth of shared love. The remembrance service will include holiday music, and a reading of the names of the deceased loved ones being while a family member receives a memorable ornament. A reception to follow.

The Tree of Memories service happens each December and pays tribute to the lives of loved ones lost during the last year. The service provides an opportunity for families and friends who have recently lost a loved one to share their experiences with others who are grieving during this holiday season.

Everyone is invited to attend regardless of when their loss was, or if their family was served by another funeral home, according to the announcement.

Those who plan to attend are asked to send a photo of their loved one who has died, for inclusion on a video tribute, by email by Dec. 9 to

For more information, call Bryan-Braker Funeral Home at 425-4697 or visit

Reach the Daily Republic newsroom at 425-4646.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Garden Accent Stone - 'Wherever A Beautiful Soul...'

Our garden memorial stones are a lasting way to honor the memory of a loved one. This memorial stone is made of cast stone in Saxonburg, PA.
Made to be weatherproof and guaranteed to last a lifetime, these stones are the perfect addition to any garden.
Engraving Reads:
a beautiful soul has been
there is a trail
of beautiful memories."

• Memorial stones are only available for standard shipping, and can take up to 1 week to arrive.
• Dimensions: 16” X 10.5”
• Weighs approximately 11 lbs.
• This stone has a hanger cast into the back to allow display on walls, fences, or outbuildings.
• Made in the USA

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How To Make A Standing Spray Arrangement

This free DIY video will demonstrate how to make a funeral standing spray arrangement with fresh flowers. The instructions are easy to follow with tips, tricks, and trade secrets provided by a professional florist.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

3 Myths About Funerals and End of Life

Because death and end of life have traditionally been difficult subjects for us to talk about, there are many misconceptions that add stress as families plan funerals and end of life services. Here are some of the most common.
Myth #1: There Are No Ways to Make Funerals or Cremations Less Stressful. The loss of a loved one will always be difficult; for many of us, it is the most difficult time of our lives. What makes this even more stressful for many families, however, is that end of life is unfamiliar territory, so we just aren't sure about our choices, or even if we have any. As Remembrance Providers℠ we are committed to using the knowledge we have to support you emotionally, to give you all the information and choices you need, and to show you and your family proven ways of making funeral and cremation planning as stress free as possible.
Myth #2: There is no good way to learn about funeral choices. In the past, there have been few simple, clear materials about funerals, and in our culture it has been difficult to bring up the subject. That’s why we've developed The Remembrance Process℠; it’s a simple overview of the funeral and cremation process. In addition, we've created videos, and print materials that can help understand key aspects of funeral and cremations. 
Myth # 3: You have to make all your decisions on a strict timeline. One of the best ways to reduce stress at end of life is to give yourself the time you need. Take a breath. Talk to your Remembrance Provider℠ about a funeral schedule that is comfortable for you and your family. Allow yourself time to think and plan. Understand that the funeral or cremation is about your loved one, but is for you and your family. If you have family members that live out of town, allow time for them to travel, and most importantly, allow time for yourself and your family to begin grieving.
Talk to your Remembrance Provider℠ to learn more.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

How to Deliver a Eulogy | Public Speaking

So, how do you deliver a eulogy?

This is a solemn occasion. It's obviously sad typically. But you are still there to give a presentation. It's not the time to get up and just start blubbering away.

It's not really helping people remember the person who just passed away any more effectively. Then it's about you if it's just you can't keep it together.

What I would recommend is focus on one or two of the qualities that people loved the most about that person. And then tell a story or two that really dramatizes that person's warmth. How they cared for people. What they contributed to the world, to their family and their friends.

Focus on that. You're not there to give the consummate biography of the whole person's life. You're not there to give an unbiased objective view of the person's life.

You're there to put a spotlight on what was special about this person. Why people loved this person and what you'll miss the most. If you do that you will give a great eulogy.

And I would recommend don't memorize it. It's already a tense situation. That tension is going to make it harder for you to recall. I wouldn't get up and read a big speech. If you want to have a few notes that's fine.

But realize this is not a test. This isn't a business PowerPoint presentation. This is a time for you to share from your heart what was special about this person. To make the other people there have fond memories.

Do that and it will be the best you can do in a tough situation.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

How To Follow Proper Funeral Etiquette

Funerals allow family and friends to mourn their loved ones, provide closure, and enable the living to move forward. Observing the etiquette of this important ritual will help you feel more comfortable while providing comfort to those in mourning.

Step 1: Attend the wake
Attend the wake, also known as a visitation or calling, at the funeral home prior to the funeral. Approach the casket, which may be open or closed, and offer a prayer or quiet reflection. A short stay of 15 minutes is considered appropriate to express condolences to the family.

Make sure to dress appropriately for a viewing, funeral, or burial. A black suit or black dress will suffice.

Step 2: Send flowers
Send flowers, if you wish, to the funeral home or the family residence. Charitable donations in the name of the deceased may be indicated in lieu of flowers, in which case you may send an edible arrangement to the family in addition to the donation.

Step 3: Attend the service
Attend the funeral or memorial service. The family will appreciate the show of support.

Offer condolences to the family prior to mingling with other friends or family.

Step 4: Say a few words
Say a few words of condolence either before the service or when everyone is gathered after. A simple 'I'm sorry for your loss' is enough to offer comfort to relatives.

Avoid cliches such as: "Everything happens for a reason," and "I know how you feel." If you can't think of anything more to say, offer a hug.

Step 5: Share remembrances
Share fond remembrances, anecdotes, and stories about the deceased with loved ones. Recounting what the deceased meant to you is always appreciated.

Step 6: Attend the burial
Attend the burial, which usually follows the funeral. If you were close to the deceased, you may follow the lead of the family if they choose to deposit a ceremonial shovel of earth or drop a rose or rose petals into the grave.

Step 7: Share a meal
Share a meal with the family and friends of the deceased after the burial, if one is planned. This tradition allows close friends and family to share fond memories, enjoy each other's company, and symbolizes the continuation of life.

Did You Know?
In the Buddhist religion, death is prepared for through meditation and is viewed as a rebirth.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Four Reasons For A Funeral

Here are four reasons funerals matter:

1. Acknowledgment - Funerals are a way to acknowledge that a life has been lived. They give us the opportunity to share memories verbally, in writing and visually. Through eulogies, personalized funeral stationery and tribute videos, families have an opportunity to share with others the special qualities that made their loved ones life unique.

2. Honor and Remember - Attending a funeral, the bereaved can honor and remember the deceased in a special way. Every person is different and their funeral should be as well. Personalized funerals start with highlighting these individual qualities. If the family member who passed away was in the military or loved animals or had a passion for computers, these qualities should be represented. Creating a personal theme for the funeral that speaks of these specific characteristics in coordinated prayer cards, register books and memorial programs, for example, provides a visual reminder and shows the admiration of the deceased for those extraordinary qualities.

3. Initiate Grieving Process - Funerals serve to initiate the grief process. The bereaved are encouraged to face the pain of loss and express themselves in this safe setting. Facing their grief encourages the acceptance of the loss, and allows the bereaved to face the finality of the death of their loved one.

While the bereaved may be overwhelmed by the realization that it is the end of their loved ones life, many find comfort in elements of the funeral such as the lighting of a funeral candle or by receiving some other type of funeral keepsake, such as a remembrance ornament.

A funeral candle with the deceased's name and picture can be used during the funeral and then taken home as a remembrance. These keepsakes can provide comfort during the grieving process and serve as a reminder that life does go on.

4. Support - A funeral serves as a place where family and friends can offer emotional and physical support to each other. During and after the service, people who were important in the deceased's life come together to celebrate, cry, hug, comfort and talk about their loved one and their feelings. Mourners are comforted by this compassion and support by simply knowing they are not alone in their grief.

Whether a family chooses to celebrate the life of their loved one with a traditional or a contemporary ceremony, a funeral provides a profound experience that ultimately assists them with the grieving process.

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