How to prepare food for a funeral reception

Updated February 21, 2017

After a beautiful funeral, loved ones often gather together for a small meal in honor of the dearly departed. Food has long been part of many funeral traditions. Keep the following things in mind to prepare food for a funeral reception.

Find out about how many people will be attending the funeral reception. You want to prepare enough for everyone without many leftovers. Ask a funeral director how many people attend an average funeral.

Choose comfort food. Sandwiches make great reception food. You can gather family members together the day before and make various sandwiches. Popular sandwiches are tuna, salmon, roast beef, ham and cheese. Cut the sandwiches into four pieces and place in airtight containers. Refrigerate.

Cut up bite sized pieces of cheese to serve with crackers for another light snack. Keep the cheese in sealed baggies and refrigerate.

Prepare simple desserts like squares, tarts and cookies. People find sweet desserts comforting. Chocolate always goes over well.

Bring large plates or platters to the reception room. Add a variety of sandwiches to the platters. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate.

Decide who is bringing the food and when it will be taken to the reception room. You may be able to bring it in the evening before if a kitchen is available. If not, ask a trusted friend to bring the food in as soon as the funeral service is over.

Have someone make a pot of coffee right before the reception. Have some juice on hand as well.


You can hire a caterer if you don't want to prepare the food yourself. Give the extra food to the family of the deceased. They won't feel like cooking and will appreciate the food.


Watch for food allergies.

Things You'll Need

  • Plates and platters
  • Sandwiches
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Desserts
  • Coffee and juice
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