Can You Drink Alcohol Before or After Attending a Funeral?

A funeral is tough, especially when you’re close to the deceased. Though people grieve differently, some people may want to turn to alcohol to help them make it through. So, let’s talk about whether or not alcohol is acceptable to drink before or after a funeral. 

You can drink alcohol before or after a funeral, though it may not help you deal with your grief. Using alcohol to mask emotions can impede your ability to deal with losing a loved one and may turn into a dependency. There’s also the risk of overdoing it, leading to situations you’d rather avoid.

Let’s talk more about drinking and funerals and how they can affect your emotions and other aspects of your life.

Will Anyone Stop You From Attending a Funeral if You’re Drinking?

Most likely, no one will stop you from attending a funeral if you have been drinking. However, if you are visibly drunk, causing a disturbance, or unable to walk or stand straight, someone may ask you to leave. 

It is unlikely that anyone will ask you to leave if you attend a funeral after a drink or two. However, showing up clearly impaired can get you removed from the funeral. During the funeral service, it is the funeral director’s job to ensure everything goes smoothly. If they notice you are heavily intoxicated, they may ask you to leave. 

The reason the funeral director or even your family may ask you to leave is possible embarrassment or to prevent other issues. When a person is drunk, they aren’t making the best decisions. It can cause someone to be belligerent or even fight and argue with guests. So, showing up to a funeral drunk is not something we recommend. 

If you plan on drinking a reasonable amount before attending the funeral, that may be different. Ensure that you do not drink excessively before the ceremony, and people most likely won’t ask you to leave. 

Why Is Drinking Before or After a Funeral a Bad Idea?

Drinking before or after a funeral is a bad idea for many reasons. First, it could lead to long-term issues with alcohol dependency. Secondly, drinking alcohol can actually make you more emotional, and you might cause a scene. So, it’s best to avoid using a substance to keep your emotions in check. 

Let’s look at a few more reasons you probably shouldn’t drink around the same time as a funeral.

Before the Funeral

As we discussed, being drunk at a funeral can get you kicked out, but it can also have other long-lasting effects. If you plan to drink excessively before the funeral, you may miss it completely. If you are able to stay at the service, then you may not remember some or all of it either. Unfortunately, drinking to prepare for a funeral can make you miss or forget it. 

Grief isn’t the only emotion that we face when confronted with the loss of a loved one. Sometimes anger is also present. People may feel angry at the loss, but they may also use anger to replace other unwanted emotions. 

Combining anger and alcohol can lead to plenty of poor decisions and even risk the safety of others around you. In fact, turning to alcohol when already angry can cause violent outbursts towards friends and family who are also grieving. This can negatively affect your relationships moving forward. So, it is best to avoid alcohol before a funeral.

Another reason you may want to reconsider drinking before a funeral is that children may be in attendance. While there is plenty of debate about whether it is appropriate to bring a child to a funeral service, many parents believe it may help with grief and acceptance. 

If children are present at the service, you may be putting them at risk by drinking ahead of time. Not only are violent outbursts a valid concern, but angry words can also be upsetting for children who are already hurting and confused. Consider their presence and the impact your drinking may have on the children around you at the service. 

A pastor or minister reads from the Bible during a funeral burial memorial service at a cemetery. Death and grief are a fact of life.

After the Funeral

Even drinking after the funeral can have negative effects on you. For example, if you are drinking to mask the grief of losing a loved one, you can easily form a dependency. This is common for those who turn to alcohol or different substances to help them deal with emotions such as grief. 

In fact, studies like this one show exactly what can happen when you choose a substance to help with a powerful emotion like grief. Not only are you at risk of forming a dependency, but you can experience heightened grief as you come down off the alcohol. So, alcohol can help mask emotions for a short time but consider the after-effects. 

The study linked above also showed an informative perspective on grief and alcoholism. Researchers interviewed 50 confirmed alcoholics in a treatment center in an attempt to better understand the causes of dependency. Of those 50, 12 people expressed feeling grief. So, grief and alcohol can lead to dependency in some. 

Do People Serve Alcohol at a Funeral?

Some families choose to serve alcohol at funerals for their loved ones for the guests. This can be tricky because there may be children present, and you may want to control the amount of alcohol that each person has access to. 

Though it is not very common, families may choose to serve alcohol at a funeral service. Sometimes, they will supply just enough alcohol for a toast to the deceased. This is an effective way of controlling how much alcohol is present at the service since they would only supply enough alcohol for one glass per person. 

It may also be a good idea to hire a bartender for the event. A bartender can help control how much alcohol each person consumes and avoid grieving guests getting drunk. You can also set limits for each guest. Limit each guest to two drinks during the service to keep the drinking to a minimum. The bartender can help with making sure guests follow the rules. 

Another reason that some families choose to serve alcohol for a funeral is to show respect by pouring one out. This concept is not only common in pop culture. It originated in ancient Egypt, where people would hold drinks like water or milk, pour a sip of the drink out, and finish the rest of it. Once finished, Egyptians would then shatter the container on the ground. 

This tradition offered a gift to a deity. People believed this ensured the deceased would travel safely to the afterlife. Now, people use it more commonly to signify love and respect for the dead. So, families may have alcohol at funerals to take part in this tradition, though it can get messy if done indoors. 

What Should I Consider Before Drinking During or After a Funeral?

Before drinking at or after a funeral, consider why you are drinking, how your body normally responds to alcohol, and if you can drink responsibly. If any of these factors may cause an issue for you, then consider avoiding alcohol for the time being. 

Why You’re Drinking

As we discussed above, drinking to mask emotions is not a healthy coping mechanism. This can lead to further dependency and an intense come-down period. Ultimately, drinking to mask your emotions is not a good idea before, during, or even after a funeral. 

Sometimes grief and anger aren’t the motivation behind grabbing a drink at a funeral. Many families like to use a funeral service to share fun stories and speak jovially about the deceased. Rather than a sad gathering, some people choose to celebrate the deceased’s life with happy memories. Like other celebrations, guests may drink during this time. 

So, consider your motivations carefully before drinking during this difficult time. If you don’t, then there may be consequences for you during the service and after. 

Long-Term Effects

One of the biggest long-term effects of drinking to help hide emotions is forming a dependency. We can become addicted to being numb to our feelings, and drinking to deal with the pain of a loss can lead to further drinking. So, let’s cover some of the long-term effects that alcohol can have on you. 

Drinking excessively, even just once, can lead to alcohol poisoning, violent outbursts, injury, and even death. Many people who drink excessively to deal with grief or anger don’t consider these very real effects before drinking because they have the end goal in mind. So, consider these things heavily before partaking in alcohol consumption. 

So, let’s talk about what happens if you start to develop a dependency. Excessive alcohol use can put you at risk for many different health concerns, like heart and liver disease, among others. Excessive drinking can also affect your immune system, altering your ability to fight off other health issues. It can also lead to issues remembering events, even when sober. 

Overall, you have to consider the possible effects of drinking while dealing with complex emotions. Sure, it can help relieve those feelings in the short term, but the long-term effects of alcohol have proven to be dangerous. Weigh these effects carefully before you decide to consume them. 

Bodily Response

Whether you are considering having a drink before, during, or after a funeral, you should always consider how your body responds to alcohol. If you don’t have enough experience with alcohol to determine how your body will respond, then you should be very careful with how much you consume during this time. 

For people who have more experience drinking alcohol, it’s good to remember your limits and be aware of how you usually react. Everyone has their own tolerance level when it comes to alcohol. So, know yours before you make a decision. 

Finally, you should know how you act when drunk. Maybe drinking makes you louder or more confrontational. Alternatively, drinking can affect how much control you have over your emotions. Know how your body will react to alcohol before consuming it during a funeral. This will prevent you from embarrassing yourself, getting kicked out, or making it more difficult for other family members in attendance. 

Drinking Responsibly

Finally, if you decide to drink before or after the funeral, make sure you do so responsibly. Being distracted by intense emotions can blind you to how much you are drinking or how much you are being affected by alcohol. Always make sure you are present in the moment and aware of how much you consume. 

If you plan to drink during the funeral, ensure that you are able to get home safely afterward. This may mean planning ahead. So, ask family or friends if you can ride with them and ensure that you have a safe way home afterward. Otherwise, your family may have to attend your funeral next. So, make responsible decisions, especially during this difficult time. 

Planning for Your Safety

One important aspect of drinking during or after a funeral is to prepare. While you should always ensure you have a safe ride home, you can be safer if you plan a reception after the service. It is common for family and friends to gather after a funeral to talk about the deceased and share happy memories. If you plan to drink, this can help you be safe. 

Consider holding the reception at home and serving alcohol there. Then, if you or other guests drink too much, at least you are in a safe place. Arrange the ability to spend the night anywhere you hold the reception in case you drink too much. Then, you won’t be putting your own or others’ lives at risk. 

This also presents you with an opportunity to control how much alcohol is present. If you go out to a bar or restaurant, you have unlimited access to alcohol. You can control exactly how much alcohol is available to yourself and other guests at home. So, consider planning a safe place to drink afterward rather than drinking before or during the service. 

Final Thoughts

Sometimes when times get tough, or our emotions get the best of us, we turn to alcohol to help us through. However, this may not be the best action to take, especially during a funeral. Take time to consider the possible negative effects of drinking before or after a funeral service before making a decision. 

Remember, this is a day for family and friends to mourn the loss of a loved one, and you could get in the way of that by not being in control of your actions. So, consider our advice before picking up that drink. 


Was this post helpful?

Useful? Save information for later by printing or sharing.

Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

Recent Posts

Table of Contents