Deciding who to invite to a funeral can either be very easy and simple, or it can be complex and difficult on many levels. If a person was married multiple times, had secret lovers or children or doesn't want certain relatives present at the ceremony, remaining family members are often at a loss with how to proceed with funeral preparations. Planning for a funeral is never easy, but it can get much harder with specific social wishes of the deceased concerning the ceremony. While some of the responsibility to invite the right people to a funeral is on the planner, the person or people in question also have a responsibility to understand the fragile situation a funeral ceremony can be.
EverPlans outlined the reasons why someone should attend a funeral and also offered various motives not to attend the ceremony. The purpose of a funeral is to support the surviving family, celebrate and honor the person who passed. Even if you didn't have a very close relationship with the deceased but are very close with a family member or friend, your attendance is prudent and often much appreciated. Simply being present can offer support and comfort for those mourning. One the other hand, if you feel your attendance would make the bereaved family uncomfortable or upset, it would be best to resist coming to the funeral.
The New York Times recently featured a question from a reader that asked if a deceased man's mistress should be invited to attend his funeral. The man specifically asked that she was included at the funeral along with his wife and children, but the planner wasn't sure what the right course of action was. The Times writer simply stated that everyone has a right to mourn their loved ones, but it is a matter of public versus private mourning. The man chose to have his mistress on the side while continuing his public relationships with his wife, the funeral should follow. While the writer of the article said this may seem harsh, it is also not appropriate to cheat on a spouse, and the funeral service should be dedicated to those he loved in public.