Hosting a Funeral Reception


The responsibility for planning the funeral reception typically falls to the immediate family—more specifically, to the same individual who handles the bulk of the funeral plans. Hosting a funeral reception can often be an unexpected task. It is bad enough to have to come to the reality that you lost a loved one but then to have to plan an event for an uncertain amount of people can be very stressful.  Here are a few tips to help sort out the details:

Where to Hold the Funeral Reception?

A funeral reception can be held almost anywhere that is traditional or that was meaningful to the deceased. Considerations to keep in mind include your budget, the amount of people in attendance, and whether or not you want this to be a formal affair. Common locations include:

  • Funeral home
  • Favorite restaurant/pub
  • Family home
  • Hotel reception room
  • Outdoor recreation area/park
  • Church hall

No matter where you hold the funeral reception, plan for some decorations and/or personalized touches. Photos of the deceased or his/her favorite objects to go on display, funeral flowers, a guest book for people to sign, and other effects can help dress up the event without appearing over-the-top or inappropriate.


When to Hold the Funeral Reception?

Although the most common choice is to hold the funeral reception immediately following the burial or memorial service (since all the family members and friends are already gathered in one location), there is no rule that says this must be so.

In fact, if a funeral is last-minute, or if it was restricted to immediate family members only, a funeral reception held at a later date can be a great way to plan an event with enough time and clarity of mind to do it the way you want. In addition, you can plan the funeral reception for a particularly important date—maybe to coincide with an upcoming anniversary, a favorite season, or even a sporting event that meant a lot to the deceased.

What to Serve at the Funeral Reception?


No matter where your funeral reception is held, it’s customary to provide some kind of refreshments. Like a wedding reception, this can be as simple as a few bowls of nuts or as elaborate as a five-course meal. It all depends on your budget and how you want the event to proceed. One major problem with this type of an event is that there is no way for people to RSVP. Our best advice is to give it your best guess then order food accordingly. You may not have enough or too much but it is always understood by guests coming to pay their respects so don’t lose sleep over it.

The decision of whether or not to serve alcohol is also a subject worth discussing with others. It’s just as common to have a dry reception as it is to allow the spirits to flow freely—and as is the case with all facets of funeral planning, the decision rests with you.

LifeStory Occasions

resourced from iMourtuary

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