How to Plan a Funeral Party

Updated March 23, 2017

After a funeral, friends and family may gather for a reception. While not truly a party, a funeral reception offers guests opportunities to memorialise and to celebrate the life of the person who has passed. Plan a funeral reception if you are one of the people who experienced the loss or if you are a friend or family member of the bereaved person. While such receptions are tied to a sad event for most of the attendees, it also provides the opportunity for loved ones to share funny stories of the departed, thus mixing some laughter with the tears.

Ask the bereaved family for permission to hold a reception after the funeral. Locate and secure an appropriate venue; it could be a church reception hall, a clubhouse or someone's home. Contact funeral attendees in advance to let them know about the reception and location.

Organise food details. Ask people attending the funeral to drop off a covered dish at the reception venue before the service, or organise members of the departed's church to cook a buffet meal for the reception. Hiring a caterer is also an option if you can locate one who can plan and deliver on short notice.

Place an adequate number of chairs and tables at the reception venue before the funeral. This will depend on many factors: how physically far the departed lived from his family, how emotionally tied he was to them, and his involvement in his community. You may need to ask someone who was close to the departed to get a sense of an appropriate number for which to prepare. Request the services of a few strong men to help set up tables, if necessary.

Ask several reception guests to help clean up after the gathering. This will most likely be friends of the departed rather than family members. Store leftovers in containers and give to the family, if they say they would like that.


Avoid putting any pressure on the grieving family. If you sense any stress about the thought of a reception, consider not having one. The grieving loved ones are the most important people to consider.

Things You'll Need

  • Venue to hold the reception
  • Seating for guests
  • Serving dishes
  • Paper or conventional plates, cups and napkins
  • Utensils
  • Buffet-style food, possibly potluck
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About the Author

Alyson Paige has a master's degree in canon law and began writing professionally in 1998. Her articles specialize in culture, business and home and garden, among many other topics.