Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 04.17.2021

Post-Funeral Receptions (As A Way Of Communal Mourning)

Post-Funeral Receptions (As A Way Of Communal Mourning)


Cross Checked By: JOSHUA SIEGEL

Funerals and memorial services are important ways to honor the life of someone who has passed, but they don’t always provide an atmosphere in which family members and friends can gather informally and have conversations about the many emotions they are experiencing. For many, a post-funeral reception is one of the most helpful aspects of the mourning process, because it enables them to share their feelings of loss with those who feel the same way. Let’s take a closer look at post-funeral receptions as a way of communal mourning.

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What Is A Post-Funeral Reception?

A post-funeral reception is a gathering that follows a funeral or memorial service. It’s a more informal event, typically held immediately after the service and often hosted in someone’s home - perhaps a member of the departed’s family or a close friend. Other venues can include restaurants, event halls or funeral homes.

What Should I Expect At A Post-Funeral Reception?

Most post-funeral receptions involve food and drinks, presented buffet-style for people to serve themselves. Some receptions are potluck, meaning that guests are encouraged to bring dishes; the host will usually let guests know in advance if this is the case. In other instances, the host prepares and provides all of the food or beverages, or has the event catered. Seating is often arranged in clusters, to allow for people to talk in small groups. There may also be a photo wall or a display of objects that held sentimental value to the deceased. 

In terms of duration, post-funeral receptions generally last anywhere from two to four hours, although some can last much longer; guests are encouraged to stay for as long as they feel comfortable (or their schedule permits).

While funerals and memorial services can be more serious occasions, the tone at post-funeral receptions is often a bit lighter. This is a chance for those who knew and cared about the departed to reminisce about that person’s life, share their memories and find some communal comfort in the mourning process.

Who Should Attend A Post-Funeral Reception?

Are you wondering if it’s appropriate for you to attend the reception? If you haven’t received an invitation, this is one of those situations where it’s best to use your judgement. If you were a relative or a close friend of the departed, you are most likely welcome to come; perhaps the host didn’t send invitations and is depending on word of mouth. If you did not know the person as well, you may want to check with someone who can ask the host how large the gathering is and if acquaintances should attend (avoid asking the host yourself, as it might potentially put them on the spot). Of course, as with funerals and memorial services, if you think there is any reason why your presence at the reception might be upsetting to the deceased’s loved ones, it’s best to skip it, no matter how good your intentions may be. 

Should I Plan A Post-Funeral Reception For My Loved One?

Again, this is a matter of your personal preference and what you feel comfortable doing. Post-funeral receptions are a helpful way for family and friends to connect with each other in a more casual setting; they encourage conversation and a celebration of life of a loved one. But you’re certainly not required to have one if you don’t want to. 

If you would like to have a reception but the idea of planning a funeral reception feels too overwhelming, ask for help. You’re more than likely to find several people who would be happy to take the burden of organizing the event off of your plate. They can manage the guest list, host at their house, prepare or order food and clean up when the gathering is over.

Being able to express your feelings in a comfortable, communal setting is an important element of mourning. By providing a relaxed setting for a group of people to communicate their thoughts, emotions and memories, post-funeral receptions play a significant role in helping loved ones navigate the process of grief.

Do you have other questions about mourning, grief or end-of-life planning? Titan Casket is here to provide you with all the answers you need.