Funeral Industry News

“We Love a Good Funeral:” Southern Funeral Etiquette Video

January 7, 2020

“We Love a Good Funeral:” Southern Funeral Etiquette Video

Lawd, have mercy at the outlandish things people are doing at funerals these days. Chit-chat about the person who’s died! Non-religious services! Men without coats and ties! What will they do next, for goodness’ sake? Burn the body? Why, don’t those folks have any idea what constitutes Southern funeral etiquette? Bless their hearts.

Thank goodness for etiquette experts Charlotte Hayes and Gayden Metcalfe and their definitive guide to what not to do at a Southern funeral.

We’re not that backward, despite this video

Full disclosure: I’m a seventh-generation Southerner, and I’m not ashamed to admit it (can I get a Roll Tide?). Many of our Connecting Directors readers reside and do business here, as well. We’ll all readily admit that as a region, we can be pretty set in our ways. Trends take a little longer to catch on here, including trends within the funeral service. It’s probably no surprise at all that the five states with the lowest cremation rates are Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee. 

However, Southerners aren’t all of the same opinion when it comes to death care. Sometimes we’re even a little ahead of the curve, believe it or not. In fact, the first green cemetery was opened in South Carolina in 1998 on forest land in Appalachia. Also, we’ve never, ever hesitated to bring casseroles and other comfort food to the family, even at the funeral home. There are a few states up North that still don’t allow that courtesy.

So if you’re not sure how to take this video on Southern funerals, you’re not alone. Produced in 2017 by the iconic Southern Living magazine, the video purports to define Southern funeral etiquette. However, even a Southerner can’t be sure if the two ladies in the video are being seriously facetious or seriously serious. Take a look and see what you think:

Being dead is no excuse

Metcalfe and Hays are the authors of the 2013 book Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral. The book is certainly written for entertainment purposes with a nod to good old Southern traditions. The video certainly carries on some of that humor, albeit without the book’s tomato aspic recipes.

However, on behalf of the death care community located below the Mason-Dixon line, I encourage you to enjoy the opinions of Gayden and Charlotte without assuming that we’re all opposed to celebrations of life, well-written obituaries, or funeral services held at locations other than a church. We’re working on those cremation rates, and one of these days we might even have our first alkaline hydrolysis equipment. Don’t give up on us just yet!