What Should I Wear to a Visitation? Or a Funeral? Or a Graveside Service?

By: Kate Nypaver
Thursday, April 11, 2019


If you’re attending a visitation or calling hours, it’s best to wear something modest but not over-the-top; dress like you’re going to church on an average Sunday. For women, dress pants and a nice top will do fine, or perhaps a versatile dress. For men, slacks and a button-down are appropriate. Try and gauge the situation based on who you’re there to visit. Some families dress to the nines for any occasion, while other families are comfortable in jeans. It all depends.

Do note that funeral homes are often kept on the cooler side, so if you chill easily, you may want to bring a sweater.

Also, it is not necessary to wear black to a visitation. Despite what you might see on TV, any color is fine. However, we do suggest comfortable shoes. Depending on the size of the crowd, you might be standing in line for a bit.



Here, it’s best to dress on the nicer side. A suit is recommended, or a dress with hose and flats or a shoe with a small heel. Darker colors are custom, but not always necessary. Again, try and gauge the situation based on what people wore to the visitation. And if that’s not applicable, play it safe. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.


Graveside Service:

Weather is a factor here; you’ll most likely be standing in the middle of a cemetery, exposed to the elements. So go ahead and wear your funeral clothes, but be mindful of the temperature outside. Also, if you’re planning to wear a dress, avoid something with a shorter length. The wind will not be your friend.

Proper footwear is vital. You will probably have to trek through grass and around headstones to reach the right grave, and most cemetery grounds are slightly bumpy or even hilly. So don’t wear slim heels! No one likes losing a shoe because the stiletto is stuck in the grass.


What about kids?

Kids get a free pass pretty much all the time. When I was younger than 8 but older than 5, I attended my great-aunt’s funeral wearing this bright green and white floral Easter dress, and I was surrounded by family members who wore black, off-black, and super-black. This wouldn’t have been a big deal had my older brother not teased me for sticking out (yeah, I still think about that from time to time). But my parents insisted, “You look cute! People want to see kids in happy clothes.”

And this is so true. Whether you dress your child in a bright pink Easter dress or a small black suit with a clip-on tie, their presence will be appreciated and loved.  

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