What is a Funeral Reception?

A funeral reception is a post-funeral gathering where friends and family members can come together to celebrate and remember the life of their loved one. The reception typically follows immediately after the funeral service. 

It is relatively simple to plan a funeral reception. We have written a few tips to help in the planning.  


Find a Location

The first thing you should do is decide where to have the funeral reception. Funeral receptions are often held at a church or at the home of a family member or close friend. You need to make sure that the location you choose has enough space for everyone that wants to attend. It is also nice to choose a location that is special to the family or the deceased. 


Plan the Food

Decide what kind of food you want to serve and how much. There are many different choices for food. You could choose to serve finger foods that you make yourself or buy from a local deli/bakery, you could choose to have a potluck where family and friends each bring a dish or you could choose to have the reception catered. 

Emotions are already running high during this time so it might be best to consider catering or ask distant relatives or your church for help. This would help relieve some of the stress from the immediate family. 


Plan the Décor

Some families choose to decorate the reception in tasteful décor with cloth tablecloths and flower arrangements. Some also choose to decorate with photos, memory walls and décor related to their loved one’s interests. Some have a guestbook or a place to write down their favorite memories of the deceased. 


Add a Personal Touch

It is nice to add a personal touch for your departed loved one to the reception. You could consider serving his/her favorite food or drink, you could display some of their favorite possessions, play their favorite music or display photos and memories. 

It is nice to include meaningful things like these to honor your loved one and remember their life, well lived. 


Let Family and Friends Know about the Reception

You can announce the reception at the funeral itself or include it in the funeral announcement. You can also choose to let family and friends know about the reception prior to the funeral service by a phone call or asking family members to pass the word along. This will help the funeral attendees be able to plan ahead and make it easier for family and friends traveling a long distance to attend. 


Don’t Overwhelm Yourself 

Remember there are no rules for planning a funeral reception. Don’t add more stress to your plate, worrying about planning it perfectly. 

Ask for help! There are family members that will help you if you let them. Delegate tasks, ask for advice, and share some of the responsibility. 

The funeral reception is a way for family and friends of the deceased to spend time together after the funeral, to share memories and be there for one another. Don’t make it be a burden on yourself. The guests are there to honor the memory of your loved one, not to pass judgement on your reception planning skills!