Funeral Receptions

After the loss of a loved one, many families decide to host a funeral reception for friends and family. It is customary, although not required, to hold a post-funeral reception. At this gathering, family members and friends can have the opportunity to see each other in a less formal environment. The funeral reception gives mourners the chance to share more intimate stories and memories, support each other, and continue the celebration of life.

Close family members and friends might consider throwing a reception after the funeral of a loved one, allowing those that attended the funeral a more casual, relaxed place to share stories and companionship after such a difficult time. If you do choose to host a reception after the funeral, you’ll allow all the people in your loved one’s life an opportunity to get together to share stories and friendship. It gives family and friends a chance to lighten the mood and enjoy each other’s company outside of the funeral home.


After a funeral or memorial service, some families plan a reception. The funeral reception often takes place in a different setting, and it serves as a smaller and more intimate gathering to invite close friends. The post service reception is usually more casual and not tied to strict schedules, making it the perfect setting for family members and friends that are coming from outside the city.

Many customs have food at a funeral reception. It is common for them to take place at restaurants or at the home of a close family member, typically catered. Some prefer a more intimate approach with immediate family only and a cooked meal. Ultimately, the decision comes down to yours and your family’s wishes and what you are most comfortable with.


Usually the immediate family members – spouse, children, or parents – are the ones tasked to plan a funeral reception. However, it can be overwhelming to plan the reception while also taking care of the funeral arrangements, burial, and everything else involved in the death of a loved one. If you would rather someone else to organize the reception, you can reach out to a reliable family member, or contact your funeral home for assistance.

Additionally, there are catering services and restaurants that have experience planning funeral receptions. If you do not feel comfortable planning the reception yourself, which is understandable in a time of mourning, you can reach out to a venue or caterer to ask for their guidance. Many will be familiar with the process of planning a funeral reception and be able to provide you with the help you need, making it as easy as possible on your entire family.


Nowadays, it is very common to hear families looking for ways to personalize a funeral, and that includes the post service receptions. Through personalization, families, and friends can make sure the funeral or memorial services speak to their loved ones and share their stories as well. Personalizing a funeral reception is a great way to celebrate your loved one’s life. It keeps memories alive, provides the opportunity to reflect on positive times, and can bring a smile to the faced of loved ones during such a difficult time.

A personalized funeral reception is a way to honor your loved one in a way that truly reflects them as an individual, as well as incorporate your family traditions.


The easiest way to personalize a funeral reception is by adding accents to the décor. While funeral flowers are custom and somewhat expected, you could also add:

  • Funeral guest signing books
  • Photo walls
  • Memory tables
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Displays of your loved one’s favorite items
  • Décor related to your loved one’s interests
  • Ask people to bring one item that reminds them of your loved one to the funeral reception


The funeral home will help you plan the funeral, but here are some suggestions for planning a funeral reception. For many, this may be the first time you have ever had to plan a funeral reception and the experience may be overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to start, follow these tips as a basic guideline.


It depends on your family’s preferences. However, most families choose to host the funeral reception either at their home or the house of a close relative. Also, families can choose to plan a post-funeral reception at the funeral home if they have a banquet hall. Restaurants are another common place for funeral receptions, and families sometimes choose to rent out a private room for the reception to allow loved ones and friends privacy while they are still in mourning.

The funeral reception is often scheduled immediately after the funeral ends. This gives an additional opportunity for those who could not attend the funeral to support the family member and pay their respects.


It is difficult to predict how many people to expect at a funeral reception, considering you don’t know how many workmates, old friends, and colleagues might come to pay their respects. It’s good practice to invite all those that attend the funeral, and often, you don’t know exactly who will show up to a service. Be sure to consider the clubs, teams, and associations they might have been involved in and always plan for more than you expect.

Sometimes, families choose a more intimate approach to hosting a funeral reception. It may be an “invite-only,” where the location and details of the event are only disclosed to close family members and friends. If this is how you’re the most comfortable, it is completely okay, especially if the funeral reception is at your home. Additionally, if you are carefully considering the costs associated with a funeral reception, a private reception may be the best route to take.


Getting the event catered can be expensive–and difficult considering the short time you have to plan. But, you might be surprised at the affordability of getting your local deli or supermarket to cater a funeral reception. You can also check with a local restaurant, opting for one that was a favorite of the deceased. In many cases, family and friends will also bring something. Consider that as well before placing a large order.

Many restaurants, delis, and catering services are familiar with the immediate need when planning a funeral reception and can accommodate a short notice. It can be a nice touch to plan the reception at a restaurant that your loved one was particularly fond of. It doesn’t have to be fancy or upscale as long as it is a place you feel comfortable. It can be a great way to commemorate your loved one.

The type and amount of food you get for a funeral reception will depend on financial considerations, the number of people, and the location of the event. Ideally, you want to keep food and drink options simple. If you choose to prepare food, our funeral specialists always recommend following a buffet-style menu setting that includes:

  • Garden salad
  • Baked ziti
  • Dinner rolls
  • Fruit tray
  • Brownie tray
  • Coffee
  • Iced tea

It will also depend on what time of day you plan for the funeral reception to take place. If you are planning a funeral reception for early afternoon after a morning service, serve lighter options than if planning a dinner reception after a late afternoon or early evening service.


After the death of a loved one, people usually say, “Please tell me if there’s anything I can do to help!” Take them up on this offer. Ask them to bring a covered dish or drinks, or help you with any of the other dozen tasks you’ll have to deal with. It will not only lift the burden on you but allow your friends and family to feel that they are helping in a time of need.

During times of mourning it can be easy to forget simple details. Allow others to help you with these. Something as simple as bringing paper plates, plastic cups, serving utensils, ice or extra napkins to a funeral reception can go a long way.

It may also be a good idea to ask a few people if they are able to stay behind after the funeral reception to help you clean up if the event is taking place in your home. It is often after everyone leaves that heavy emotions begin to set in and having support around you can make it easier.


Remember that this event is to help honor your lost loved one. People may come from all over the country to share their sympathies. Set up a table at the entrance to the funeral reception with photographs and memorabilia that remind everyone of their lost friend. Let people know that they can bring some pieces to add to the table. These pictures will be a great conversation starter and allow people to begin sharing their stories about the person you all loved.

Sometimes, when the deceased has been cremated, the funeral reception might hold some ceremonies. Ceremonies can be anything the family chooses to honor their loved ones. Some of the most common funeral reception ceremonies to think about include:

  • Scattering of the ashes ceremony
  • Open-mic speeches
  • Playing a tribute video
  • Candle lighting ceremony


Planning funeral arrangements last-minute can be challenging and overwhelming. That is why our funeral specialists recommend pre-planning the funeral reception when you start pre-planning your funeral arrangements. When you plan, you can avoid the last-minute scrambling and make sure everything your loved one wanted for their arrangements is met accordingly.

If you are also choosing to pre-fund your funeral you can ensure that there is money set aside for the funeral reception, taking the financial burden off your loved ones. Additionally, you can leave instructions if there is a particular place that is meaningful to you where you would like your funeral reception to be held.


If you are looking at your funeral arrangement plans, do not forget about the funeral reception. Contact The Gardens of Boca Raton today and schedule an appointment with one of our funeral specialists to go over your wishes. Together, we can plan funeral arrangements that are a true celebration of life that honors a memorable and distinctive legacy.

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