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How to Keep Unwanted Guests from Attending a Funeral
Funerals are a highly emotional and sensitive time for a family, and can bring complicated issues to light. However, it is important not to let family feuds take the focus off of honoring the life of the person who has passed away. To make sure the funeral is a time to grieve and not the start of a major fight, some families choose to place restrictions on who can and cannot attend the service.
While placing a limit on who is permitted to attend the funeral may hurt some feelings, it can also prevent dramatic situations from unfolding and turning the funeral into a stressful experience instead of a celebration of a person's life. Additionally, restricting the attendance at a funeral can save a family a significant amount of money. If you are hoping to limit attendance at a funeral, there are a few different ways to do so in a tactful and respectful way. This includes:
Announce the death of the person, while indicating that the funeral service will be private
Unless you specify otherwise, it is implied that anyone is welcome to attend the funeral. While a large funeral service is often a beautiful thing, it can also become a source of stress if there is tension among those in attendance. When you specify that the funeral is private, you control who shows up. This means that you can prevent inappropriate incidents from happening during the service, thus keeping the focus on the person who has passed, as it should be.
Announce that the person has passed after the funeral is over
When you place an obituary for that person in the paper after the funeral has already taken place, it still allows you to get the word out that the individual has died, but prevents you from having to welcome everyone and anyone to the funeral.
Have a memorial service at a later date
If you are truly concerned about an unpleasant situation that may unfold at a loved one's funeral, you can still honor that individual's life without a traditional funeral service. Instead, have a memorial service for that person several months after they have died. Let only a select handful of people know about the service, and tell them that it is private. If someone contacts you asking to know the details of the event, you can choose whether or not you'd like to share the details with this person.
In some instances, honesty is the most effective method. If a family member who has been at odds with others contacts you, explain that you would love to have them attend, but that you are concerned that doing so would create tension at the service. Instead invite them to spend some time with your family after the service is over, allowing them to pay their respects without worrying about issues arising.
Ultimately, a funeral service is a time to honor the life and legacy of someone who has died. If an open service would cause dramatic situations to occur, it is best to restrict attendance. While some feelings may be hurt as a result, it is worth it in order to allow the service to remain a peaceful and poignant experience for all.