top of page


Many memorial services offer a reception afterwards


A menu should be based on the likes of the deceased. If the deceased was particularly fond of dessert a selection of desserts could be offered, along with tea and coffee. Decide if you want a caterer or potluck. Keep in mind that many local grocery stores and bakeries do low-cost catering, and people are generally willing to bring food or desserts to create a potluck.


☐ Choose catered, pre-purchased (for instance, veggie trays and desserts), potluck, or other:


If they loved champagne, or wine, and the budget allows it, then that might be something to offer guests.

If you are planning toasts at the reception, then the deceased's favorite alcohol could be served; for example the lover of scotch could be toasted with one shot glass provided for every guest.

Food & Drinks

At a reception following a funeral, it is customary for food to be served, whether that be an entire meal or some simple refreshments. As mentioned above, when it comes to deciding what food to serve at a funeral reception, it helps to think of three main points.

  1. What is your budget,

  2. What time of day will the reception be held (i.e. lunch? late afternoon?) and

  3. What were some of your loved one’s favorite foods and drinks, and do you feel that it is appropriate to include them?

If you really want to provide a nice meal for your guests but aren’t able to on your own for one reason or another, go with a potluck. Potlucks are traditionally a very popular funeral food option everywhere, and especially so in the south.

For a potluck, everyone brings a main or side dish for all to enjoy. Viola, you now have enough food for everybody without going over budget. As an alternative, everyone can pitch in to pay for catering, perhaps from a deli or restaurant that was one of your loved one’s favorites.

Some people also wonder whether or not it’s appropriate to serve alcohol following a funeral. The answer is, it depends entirely on the family and their wishes. It can also depend on the circumstances surrounding the deceased’s life or death. For instance, were they a recovered alcoholic who’d been celebrating sobriety for several years? Then it may not be prudent to serve any alcohol at the reception.

On the other hand, were they a wine connoisseur who loved nothing more than to enjoy a glass or two of their favorite drink each and every evening? Then by all means, honor them in this way, because they would have loved that.

All-in-all, when deciding on foods and drinks to serve, it really boils down to one simple question: would they have been pleased with your choices? Therein lies your answer.

bottom of page