Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 01.10.2023

All You Need To Know About A Funeral Repast or Repass

People standing by the food at funeral repast

Reviewed By: Scott Ginsberg

Cross Checked By: Joshua Siegel

What Is A Repast Funeral?

A repast funeral takes place after a funeral service. It may amount to a less formal reception than the service or even the memorial. In most cases, anyone can attend the repast. There is also the option of having it as a private affair for only invited guests, but this is rare. Unlike the funeral, the repast is a celebration. It celebrates the deceased's life by bringing their family, friends and well-wishers together to break bread collectively. Since they are informal gatherings, there are no hard and fast rules for many customs or traditions. 

Costs of a Funeral Repast

The final cost of the repast may vary from person to person, depending on many factors. There is scope for you to narrow these cost options by making arrangements that fit your budget. While making this decision, you must be aware of certain standard yet critical factors that influence the final price. 

  • Chosen Venue: It is no surprise that the choice of venue is the most expensive part of the funeral repast. Hosting it outdoors might add hundreds of dollars to your will. If you are not keen on this, you can opt for the cheapest option of conducting the repast at the home of one of the family members. If you are having a funeral or memorial at home or in church, a reception space might already be a part of your package. 
  • Food and Beverages: Having some beverage or/and food options at the funeral repast is essential. The Latin word “repast” translates to “to eat”.  Depending on what kind of food or drinks you opt for may alter your total funeral cost. A completely catered option may cost you a significant amount, but it also ensures that your guests are comfortable. If you want a cheaper option, you could consider making the food and drinks at home or even selecting cheaper store-bought items. 
  • Decoration Costs: Although it is not compulsory to have decoration at a repast, you may be interested in reading about what decoration options are out there and at what costs. Usually, the deceased's family adds an image or framed picture of their deceased loved one. Along with this, there is a guest book and some flowers. The amount and species of flowers depend on your budget. The venue itself may come with some amount of free or rentable decorations as well. 

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Etiquette At A Funeral Repast

It is important that you reach the repast on time. If a guest happens to arrive late, they make sure they enter discreetly. Since it is an occasion where they are paying respect to the dead and their family, they must ensure that their phone is switched off or on silent. Any noise or flashes may distract and disrespect the deceased's family. Children are not advised to attend, especially the very young ones. Although the repast is an occasion of celebration, it must be handled with at most respect. Since most people do not give gifts at the funeral service itself, this is an opportunity for them to do so. This is the time for attendees to offer the grieving family sympathy messages or gifts. You may even ask guests to come with items or to help in any way, whether it is lending drinks, food, silverware, or even asking for assistance with setting up.

Why Attend A Funeral Repast?

Most people attend a funeral repast as a way of supporting the family of the deceased. It may be a tough time for you, and you may need the support of people while grieving. While this support is also offered at the funeral service, this is a more casual and relaxed occasion that offers more time to speak and comfort one another. Guests may also offer extra support in setting up or even offering venue options or items of cutlery to you.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Which is correct repast or repass?

Answer: The terms 'repast' and 'repass' are often used interchangeably, however, the correct term is typically repast, which means, “the act or time of taking food” according to Webster.

Q2: What is the difference between a wake and a repast?

Answer: Wakes and repasts are both gatherings to honor the deceased, but they have distinct purposes:

  • Wakes are traditionally held before a funeral service. It's a time for mourners to gather, share memories, and offer condolences. Food and drinks might be served, but the focus is on grieving and remembrance.
  • Repasts take place after a funeral service. It's a more celebratory event where people come together to share positive memories of the deceased, celebrate their life, and offer support to the bereaved family. Repasts typically include a meal. 

Q3: How do you announce a repast?

Answer: Here are some ways to let people know about the repast:

  • Word-of-Mouth: Traditionally, those attending the funeral service are informed about the repast details in person.
  • Funeral Announcement: Include the repast location and time at the bottom of the funeral program or obituary.
  • Online Platforms: Create an online obituary or event page mentioning the repast details on funeral home websites or social media platforms.