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Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Sympathy Card Is Properly Sent Before a Funeral Service, Not Brought to It

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I attended three funerals (unrelated to each other), I sent each family a sympathy card with a handwritten note immediately upon hearing of the death.

However, I noticed a basket at each funeral for people to place cards. Because I had sent cards at the time of death, a month before the services, should I have also brought a card to the funerals? It didn't even occur to me. I'm not sure what the proper protocol is.

GENTLE READER: Well, it shouldn't be collecting a basket of cards as if they were valentines in an elementary school class. Sympathy is properly conveyed as you have already done, and presence at a funeral is noted in a guest book for attendees to sign.

Miss Manners presumes the bringing of cards is being done by people who are unaware of funeral etiquette, or who want to save postage.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Death