Is Black My Only Option?

Posted on January 30, 2024 by Serenity Funeral Home of Southern Utah under Death, Dying, Funerals, Memorial Service, Wearing Black
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As a licensed funeral director, I’m often asked, “Do I have to wear black to a funeral?”  The answer is, no, black is not the only acceptable color to wear to a funeral or memorial service.  There are, however, certain recommendations of etiquette to follow when selecting an outfit.  

I came across a wonderful article published by and written by Julia Brucculieri entitled “What Not to Wear to a Funeral, According to Etiquette Experts.”  Ms. Brucculieri states,  “There is a time and a place for everything, and a funeral service is definitely not the place to test out your flashiest outfits or trendy accessories.  You want to look presentable and also be respectful of the deceased and their loved ones. Funerals are a time to remember those we’ve lost, not bring attention to ourselves.”

The article notes that black has traditionally been the color of choice for attending funerals, although various cultures around the world have different customs for funeral services.  Etiquette expert Daniel Post Senning states, “You want to honor the spirit of the event.  Traditionally, that [meant wearing] things that were darker tones…the idea was that you weren’t really festive. The idea was that you were expressing mourning.”  Fellow etiquette expert Diane Gottsman adds, “you don’t have to wear black, but wear something that’s not going to make you stand out and make you look as if you’re celebrating.”

It may seem like common sense, but there are definitely a few items to avoid wearing to a funeral.  Senning and Gottsman advise against the following: athletic wear, sneakers, jeans, super short hemlines, and spaghetti straps.  Gottsman adds, “You have to show that you made the effort. That’s the bottom line. You have to show that you made some effort to come and show your respect for the deceased and the family members.”

When asked, I personally recommend that dress should be conservative and respectful.  Dark and subdued tones are always appropriate, such as navy or gray.  Keep accessories minimal and simple.  Remember, you are attending a funeral service in honor of the deceased, the life they lived, and the family they left behind.

Serenity Funeral Home is located just off Riverside Dr. at 1316 S. 400 E., Ste. A5.  Contact us at (435) 986-2085, visit us online at, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @SerenityFuneralSTG.

Submitted by Larry L. Hansen, Licensed Funeral Director/Owner

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