Memorial services are one of the cremations services we offer. Traditionally, many people have a food reception after memorial services. The reception allows the grieving family and other mourners to gather together in an informal setting to eat and share stories and memories of the deceased loved one and to provide additional comfort and support.
If you’ve been asked to arrange a food reception after a memorial service, you have many options to choose from in term of what to serve and how. It’s important to remember how mentally, emotionally, and physically hard the death of a loved one is on everyone.
Even if the memorial service is held several weeks or several months after a family’s loved one has died, they are still in the process of grieving and the memorial service will likely intensify their feelings of grief.
Having a food reception after the memorial service can help the bereaved family decompress and refuel physically while being in the encouraging and supportive environment of people who care for them.
The easiest option for a food reception after a memorial service is to have a buffet. This lets people come and go for food as they please and it facilitates an atmosphere that is fluid and engaging. This ensures that everyone gets a chance to speak to members of the grieving family and that they are able to move among everyone easily.
The first thing that you should consider when you’re planning a buffet for a food reception after a memorial service is the time of day when the service will be held.
If the service is held within a couple of hour of lunchtime, then a great idea for a lunch-like buffet is to create a sandwich station. This way people can take their time getting food to eat without having to worry about food getting cold. Additionally, sandwiches are easy to eat while standing or walking around.
Include a variety of deli meats, cheeses, and breads with tongs placed in each item for easy and sanitary service. Provide individual packets of condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, and catsup.
Be sure to have traditional sandwich accompaniments like lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, and dill pickles (this will also ensure that people who may not eat meat will have items to make a sandwich with) as well.
Round out the sandwich station with single-serve bagged chips, deli salads like potato salad and pasta salad, and single-serve bagged cookies and cakes.
If the service is in the early afternoon, you might want to have a light snack buffet of cheeses, fresh fruits, cut fresh vegetables, and crackers. If you choose to include dips and crackers, be sure to have spoons and tongs to maximize sanitation (you don’t want people touching the food directly).
Another buffet option for this time of day is a dessert buffet. None of these need to be homemade. You can simply provide a variety of store-bought cookies, dessert bars, and cakes (sliced).
Drinks should be family-friendly and should include things like water, juices, sodas, tea, and coffee. Provide ice for drinks that should be cold and have sweeteners and creamers for coffee drinkers.
To make cleanup easy after the food reception, use disposable plates, napkins and dinnerware. Be sure to have thermal disposable cups that have lids for coffee drinkers and make sure to have sturdy plastic cups for all other drinks.