Here’s What to Bring to A Funeral

It can be difficult to choose what to bring to a funeral as a gift. Here you’ll find several ideas that you can use to buy the right thing as a funeral gift to express your feelings and show your love.

A funeral is an emotional time for people who lost their loved ones. Offering a gift on this occasion shows your love and support for grieving family members.

But it can be a little tricky to decide what to bring to a funeral, especially if you have never been to a funeral or memorial service before.

You need to consider the emotions and thoughts of the family members and choose something that soothes them. In this article, we’ll discuss several gift ideas that you can use to choose the most appropriate gift for a funeral.

What to Bring to a Funeral: Most Appropriate Gift Ideas

The following are some of the best gift ideas that you can use as the right gift before attending a funeral service.


Bringing flowers to a funeral service is a traditional and one of the most common ways to honor the deceased. They’re known as “funeral flowers” or “sympathy flowers”. There are different types of funeral flowers that you can buy depending on your budget, personal preference, and availability.

funeral flowers

Most people choose white and pink flowers for a funeral as they’re meant to show sympathy. However, this can vary depending on the area and cultural background of the deceased’s family. 

The following are the most common funeral flowers that people choose as gifts.

  • Lilies
  • Roses
  • Carnations
  • Orchids
  • Chrysanthemums

Family Photos

If you’re part of the deceased’s immediate family, then bringing family photos that the other family members don’t have will be a great funeral gift idea.

Old photographs encapsulate happy memories and hold special meaning. They can help the grieving family go through emotionally difficult times.

Make sure that you choose photos that depict special times that you and other family members shared with the deceased. You can add those photos to the memorial mural as well if that’s present at the funeral site.

Sympathy Cards

A handwritten sympathy card is another simple yet meaningful gift option that you can bring to a funeral service. It shows your love and support and expresses your condolences for the family of the person who has passed.

You can also combine a sympathy card with flowers, especially if you purchase a bouquet. Additionally, you don’t want to overthink while writing something on the card. Just be natural and write a short note that expresses your feelings and offers condolences.


Yes, you can bring food as a gift to a funeral, as it’ll take the pressure off the grieving family. However, you’ll need to make sure that you pack it using disposable containers. You can bring tea, coffee, pasta, casserole, baked goods, desserts, or even a cultural dish.

funeral food

It’s important to note that some families request food as they don’t have enough time to serve the guests. You can also ask a family member you’re close to about bringing a meal for the guests.


Some families ask people to make donations in the name of the deceased to a cause. It’s usually mentioned on the memorial website or at the end of the obituary. If that’s the case, then your funeral gift can be a donation.

You can also use this gift idea even if the family didn’t mention it explicitly. After that, you can let the grieving family know politely about the contribution you made.

You can use a sympathy card to inform them regarding your donation. It’s one of the best ways to honor the deceased and show your love and support for the family.

Offer Your Help

If you’re on an extremely tight budget and can’t afford to buy something, then consider offering your help as a funeral gift. You can spend time helping the family with some usual household tasks and chores, such as cooking, babysitting, or even dog walking.

It can be anything that will support the family during its time of need. You’ll need to let them know that you’re there for them whenever they need you.

Memorial Stones

Some people like to bring a memorial stone as a funeral or memorial gift, and you can also do the same. A memorial stone is usually a flat, smooth, and customized plate made of stone that has a short quote, saying, or poem written on it.

It can also have some personal information about the deceased, such as date of birth, name, and date of death. A memorial stone makes for an excellent funeral gift and it can be placed anywhere the family wants.

Sympathy Baskets

A sympathy basket, also known as a sympathy gift, is usually a container that has gourmet treats for the grieving family. It also has a small sympathy card with a pre-written quote or saying to honor the person who has passed away.

Some sympathy baskets also have full meals and they can help the family to serve guests without needing to worry about cooking. It’s also an excellent way to show your love, support, and sympathy to the family.

Funeral Etiquette: What to Consider?


Keep in mind that a funeral or memorial service is an extremely formal event. There are many things that you need to keep in mind and follow while attending one.

Be On Time

It’s never a wise idea to arrive at the funeral or memorial services late. These events usually have some ceremonies and speakers associated with them. Your late arrival can cause disturbance to them as well as the other attendees and family members.

Give Family Space

You’d already know that funerals are difficult for everyone, especially for the immediate family. You’ll need to make sure that you give space to the family members and contain your emotions.

Offer your condolences in simple words and keep in mind that less is more when it comes to expressing yourself at a funeral.

Don’t Eat During the Funeral Service

A family can hold a funeral reception and offer food and drinks to guests. However, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t eat in the middle of a memorial or funeral service, as it’ll be rude. You’re attending a funeral service to show your sympathy, not to fill your tummy.

Dress Appropriately

Unlike traditional events, funeral services are emotional and formal events and you need to dress appropriately for them. You may find attire instructions in the obituary or the funeral website given by the family based on the deceased’s interests.

If you don’t find any instructions, then consider wearing a dark-colored suit and tie if you are a male. You can also wear a collared button-up shirt paired with dress shoes, a belt, and a tie if you want.

Whereas, women should wear dark-colored pant suits or skirt suits with formal footwear. Make sure that you consider the graveside service (if there’s one) while choosing your shoes. Never wear casual or shiny dresses that draw the attention of other attendees.

Consider the Cultural and Religious Background

It’s critically important to consider the cultural and religious background of the grieving family while choosing a gift, especially if you’re planning to buy flowers.

For example, if you need to attend a Chinese funeral, you don’t want to buy red flowers. That’s because the red color depicts happiness in Chinese culture.

Additionally, you shouldn’t buy flowers at all if you need to attend a Hindu or Jewish funeral. That’s because flowers show happiness in these religions.

However, you can buy flowers for a Protestant, Mormon, and Roman Catholic funeral. Not only will it be appropriate but also appreciated.

Avoid Electronics

You don’t want to bring noisy electronics to a funeral as they can cause distraction and it’ll also be considered rude. If you need to bring children, make sure that you leave their loud electronic toys at home.

While it’s normal to bring your personal smartphones, you’ll need to keep them on silent mode and out of sight.


Should You Take Anything to a Funeral or Memorial Service?

Although it’s not necessary to take anything to a funeral or memorial service, it’ll be nice if you do. 

If you turn up at the correct time to pay your respects and have a nice gift to express your condolences, this will show your support. It won’t eliminate the grieving family’s pain, but it’ll make it a bit easier for them to go through the difficult time.

What Should You Bring to a Funeral?

You can bring flowers, sympathy cards, food, family photos, memorial stones, and sympathy baskets to a funeral. You can also make donations in the deceased’s name and offer your help to the family to show your support and love.

Should You Expect a Response from the Recipient

No, you shouldn’t expect any response from the recipient as they’ll be in grief. Of course, they’ll respond at some point through a text, phone call, or thank-you note. 

However, you must never feel offended even if they don’t, as it’s easy to forget things during and after a tough time.

Final Words

It’s important to note that bringing a gift will show your feelings about the person who has passed. But nothing can replace the comfort and support that your presence will offer to the family.

We hope this guide will help you understand what to bring to a funeral and what to consider while attending one.

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