Planning a Post-Funeral Reception

If you’re in charge of planning a funeral, it’s a good idea to consider a post-funeral reception. It’s not required, but it’s the perfect place for people to connect after the service, and that’s an important part of the healing process. Here, we offer a sampling of questions to ask yourself while you’re making your plans.

  • Why host a reception? As mentioned above, a reception offers people a place to connect. By serving food in a welcoming place, you’re fostering a relaxed atmosphere in which people can tell stories, share memories, gain closure, and help each other to heal.

  • Where should you hold the reception? In times past, people hosted receptions in their homes, with friends and family members bringing dishes to share. That’s still done in some cases, but the big trend right now is for funeral homes to provide reception space onsite, often with catering service provided, for the convenience of the families. If you have your heart set on a particular funeral home that does not offer this service, don’t worry. Many people find that choosing a restaurant that was special to the person who has died is an excellent and easy alternative.

  • What kind of food should you serve? The kind of food served at a reception depends largely on your heritage, tradition, where you live, and where you’re holding the reception. Some people serve only appetizers and light snacks, or pastries and coffee, while others provide a full spread. Others prefer to host a potluck style reception, inviting guests to bring their favorite dishes to share. If you’re dining at a restaurant, you might choose to have a limited menu or serve the food buffet style. Get some help planning this, whether it’s from a friend, a funeral director, or a restaurant manager.

  • Do you need audio-visual equipment? This may seem like an odd question, because you’re probably not planning on incorporating entertainment into the reception. It can be nice, though to play music or a DVD tribute to your loved one. If you choose a private reception hall over a restaurant, you have much more freedom to customize your experience.

  • Who should “work” the event? Obviously, if you choose a restaurant there will be staff, and the same is true for a catered reception. If you choose to go the potluck route, though, it’s a good idea to delegate responsibility. Friends and family members want a way to feel helpful and useful, so choose someone to organize details, and others to see to the logistics of the event.

Planning the post-funeral reception can also be part of the pre-planning process. When you preplan your funeral, you get to decide on all aspects of the day, from the service to the reception to your final resting place. For more information about pre-planning, contact Cincinnati Cemeteries for more information by visiting our website .

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