Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 01.31.2023

Things To Bring To A Funeral Food Reception

Things To Bring To A Funeral Food Reception

Reviewed By: Scott Ginsberg

Cross Checked By: Joshua Siegel

Given that most of us do not attend funeral receptions regularly, wondering what to take to the same can prove to be a dilemma. Based on your role, and relation to the deceased, what you will have to take to the funeral reception will vary. If you are a family member, you will be required to carry items such as the deceased’s photograph or a guest book. If you are simply a guest, you may be quite confused about what to take to a funeral. Over the course of this article, we will shed light on what is appropriate to bring to a funeral reception, and what isn’t.

Food Items You Can Take To A Funeral Service

As per the traditional norms of many cultures, bringing food to a funeral reception is a part of the tradition. Listed below are some of the most popular funeral food ideas:

  • Potluck: Items like drinks (such as coffee, tea, punch, juice, or soda), pasta, casserole dishes, salads, and desserts (such as cake, cookies, or brownies).
  • Comfort Food: Items such as mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, casserole dishes (green bean casseroles, scalloped potatoes, meatball casseroles), bread rolls, pot roast, stew, apple pie, and cookies.
  • Italian Buffet: Items such as pasta, lasagna, meatballs and sauce, salad, pastries, and tiramisu.
  • Sandwiches and Salads: Items such as ham and cheese sliders, roast beef sandwiches, club sandwiches, egg sandwiches, and tuna sandwiches.
  • Breakfast/Brunch Food: Items such as pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, fresh fruit salads, yogurt parfaits, donuts, bagels, pastries, eggs, omelets, bacon, sausages, juice, tea, and coffee.

Other Gift Items You Can Take To A Funeral Service

If you do not wish to take funeral food items to a funeral reception, you can also opt to take a gift to the service. While funeral gifts are not mandatory, it may be considered impolite to arrive at the service empty-handed. Listed below are some of the most popular funeral gift choices:

  • Flowers: Often the most common gift for funeral receptions, flowers are the easiest way to show respect for the deceased. Many florists also refer to such arrangements as ‘sympathy flowers’ or ‘funeral flowers’. Some of the most common flowers that are offered as funeral gifts include roses, lilies, orchids, chrysanthemums, and carnations.
  • Sympathy Cards: Another common funeral gift is a sympathy card. Handed over to the deceased’s family, this can be offered along with flowers or as a stand-alone funeral gift. Along with a sympathy card, you may also choose to give a coffee gift card, a restaurant gift card, or even a grocery store gift card.
  • Family Photographs: Many people also opt to gift a framed photograph of the deceased – often a gift that is deeply cherished by the deceased’s family. In addition to this, you can also opt to gift them a scrapbook of photographs or even a memorial album.

What Not To Take

When attending a funeral reception, certain unsaid norms need to be followed. Listed below are things you should not take to a funeral ceremony:

  • Certain Flowers: While we did mention above that flowers are an excellent funeral gift, you must factor in cultural norms before doing so. For example, such gifts are viewed as insensitive when it comes to Jewish funeral ceremonies – who instead prefer donations in the name of the deceased. Additionally, you must note that you should send flower arrangements in advance and must not take the flowers yourself to the ceremony.
  • Expensive Gifts: Irrespective of the culture in question, expensive gifts are a strict no-no. Ideally, funeral gifts must fall within the budget range of $20 to $100. This is because of the fact that expensive gifts can shift focus away from the somber occasion. 
  • Loud Electronics: As a rule, do not carry any noisy electronics with you. If you are carrying a mobile phone, make sure it remains on ‘silent mode’ all through the ceremony. 

There is no specific handbook about what to bring and what not to bring to a funeral reception. However, when attending one, ensure you abide by all the cultural norms and pay heed to the appropriate funeral etiquette