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What to Expect at a Funeral Reception?

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    After a funeral or memorial service, it is traditional to host a reception, although doing so is by no means obligatory.

    Friends and family will have the chance to catch up in a relaxed setting thanks to the get-together that is being planned.

    Mourners have the opportunity to console one another, share stories and memories, and carry on with the celebration of the life of someone who was important to them during the reception that follows the funeral.

    A repast is a term that is sometimes used to refer to the reception that takes place after a funeral. Traditionally, the repast was a meal that was held after the funeral and was attended by close friends and family.

    The nature of the repast has changed in modern times, and it now typically involves larger gatherings of people. There are still those who believe that the best way to start the day is with a small, private dinner.

    For some people, the repast will be a more significant and festive event, and it may even include a programme commemorating the celebration of the person's life. The terms repast and funeral reception are often used interchangeably in modern parlance.

    The funeral service itself is becoming increasingly personalised, and this trend has carried over into the reception that follows the service.

    The celebrations can be as laid-back as a potluck at a relative's house or as formal as a sit-down dinner at a restaurant or banquet hall.

    Since there are no hard and fast rules regarding the after-funeral reception, either of these options is completely acceptable. The reception could be as simple or as elaborate as the host would like it to be.

    No matter what kind of funeral reception you decide to have, the event will require some advance planning. Just make sure you keep the goal in mind at all times, as well as your own requirements.

    Also, consider what the person whose life you are celebrating would have wanted. Here at Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals, we provide religious and traditional funeral services.

    Remember, your goal is to give those who cared about the deceased a chance to remember and share. You are not expected to host an extravaganza unless that is what you want to do.

    Funeral FAQs

    Immediate family is limited to the spouse, parents, stepparents, foster parents, father-in-law, mother-in-law, children, stepchildren, foster children, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and first cousins.

    Funeral etiquette dictates you shouldn't applaud unless prompted to do so by the person holding the service or following the lead of the grieving family.

    The water used to wash the corpse before placement in the coffin was traditionally kept to be thrown in front of the hooves of the horse drawing the funeral carriage. Later, this developed into the symbolic act of neighbors and family throwing buckets of water as a mark of respect for the dead.

    The rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran, free of charge, is mandated by law. An honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran consists of not less than two members of the Armed Forces.

    Thank you so much for leading the service with such grace and kindness. Your assistance in preparing the eulogy meant the world to my family and me. You took the time to create a memorial that truly honored the man my father was, and I now understand that I carry his memories with me always.

    Reasons to Have a Post-Funeral Reception

    Following a funeral, people often take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with one another and reflect on the life of the deceased during a reception or other type of gathering.

    People who may not have seen each other in some time are frequently reunited at funerals; the reception that follows the service also affords attendees the chance to catch up with old friends.

    It is common for funerals to be solemn and formal occasions; in contrast, a reception can be a less solemn and more relaxed setting in which people can come together to celebrate the life of the deceased.

    After Funeral Reception Planning Do's and Don'ts

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    Do ask for help.

    Do pick a spot that is convenient for you or that holds some significance for the departed person.

    If you'd prefer to keep things straightforward, you certainly are free to do so.

    Personalize the reception by displaying photos and other memorabilia at the event.

    Bear in mind that there are no unbreakable laws or regulations. You are free to determine how the reception will be organised.

    Do not put undue pressure on yourself to prepare an entire meal.

    Do not refuse to accept assistance.

    When searching for a venue, it is important not to overlook non-traditional locations.

    Don't let yourself get pressured into serving alcoholic beverages.

    Make sure you add some personal touches to the event.

    Take some time to calm down and inhale deeply before you start making plans. You will be able to make rapid advancements if you answer the questions that are presented below. Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funeral Directors are here to help make the funeral process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you and your loved ones.

    Where to Host a Repast

    The location of the post-funeral reception ought to be chosen with consideration given to the number of attendees as well as the ease with which local venues can be reached.

    Others may opt to go to a restaurant, the fellowship centre at their church, or a public hall, while still others would rather have it hosted by a member of their own family at their own home.

    It is possible to host a reception at the home of a member of the family or a close friend, as well as at a restaurant, an event venue, or the social hall of a religious house of worship.

    There are some funeral homes that also have areas that can be used for receptions.

    If the weather permits it, holding the gathering in a park is another viable option that has nothing against it. When faced with a choice, many parents of young children go with this particular alternative.

    Talk to the person in charge of the funeral if you would like to throw a gathering but are unsure of where to hold it. A person who has been trained to assist with all aspects of the funeral is referred to as a funeral assistant.

    People Visiting & Socializing

    When you walk in, you can generally anticipate that everyone who is already there will either be standing around or sitting at tables, simply chatting with one another.


    It is appropriate to make an announcement about the gathering if each person who comes to the funeral is also invited to the gathering.

    Be ready to provide an address as well as directions for those individuals who do not use a navigation app on their smartphone.

    For a more intimate gathering following the funeral, it is appropriate to discreetly distribute invitations or notices indicating the location and time of the repast.

    You could also throw a smaller party at a different time for your immediate family and a select group of close friends, in addition to throwing a larger party for everyone.

    Less Solemn Atmosphere

    The weighty sense of solemnity that pervaded the funeral service is most likely to have lightened up a little bit by this time.

    People are starting to converse with one another, share anecdotes and jokes, become reacquainted with old friends and family members, and take pleasure in consuming alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

    There may be a group of people standing nearby who are comforting the deceased person's next of kin as well as other members of the deceased person's family.

    No Casket

    The casket of the deceased person will not be present. After the funeral service, the body is typically either buried in the cemetery or taken to the facility where it will be cremated.

    If the cremation took place prior to the funeral, the urn containing the remains of the deceased may be displayed in the reception area, possibly on a memorial table that has been decorated.

    Providing Food And Beverages

    It is common practise to hold social gatherings at private residences in the form of potlucks, in which invited friends and family members each bring a dish or beverage that they have prepared.

    You also have the option of placing an order for deli platters at supermarkets or delis, having food delivered from a restaurant, or having a catering company take care of all the necessary arrangements.

    In some types of religious communities, it is customary for the social committee to be in charge of providing the reception with both food and beverages.

    You might be able to bring in whatever foods you want to eat if you have the reception at the funeral home, but they might have certain restaurants or catering companies that they prefer to work with.

    Religious Considerations

    Be aware that some religions have specific foods that are eaten or prohibited after a funeral, and if you follow any religious traditions, you should be aware of this.

    (For instance, traditionally, Mormons will consume potato casserole, and traditionally, Jews will consume eggs and refrain from drinking alcohol.)

    In addition, the period of mourning that follows a funeral service can vary from religion to religion, and it often begins right away.

    When to Host a Repast

    The reception that follows the funeral can take place immediately after the service, later in the day, or even several days after the funeral itself.

    It is in everyone's best interest to get this done as quickly as humanly possible after the funeral service, as this will ensure that those who came from far away will still be in town to pay their respects.

    Special Touches

    A reception that is held after a funeral does not need to have any decorations or entertainment. You may, however, want to add some special touches to the repast, such as decorations that will commemorate the deceased person. These could include things like flowers or candles. The following are some factors to take into consideration:

    • Table to be displayed with photographs taken at various times throughout the individual's life
    • The deceased's prized possessions, such as trophies, mementoes from their travels, and items associated with their hobbies, are presented to the family.
    • The deceased's family or the funeral home received flowers and plants as a condolence.
    • Music that will bring solace to those who are grieving
    • Favorite dishes or beverages that people may have shared with the deceased during their time together

    Additional Considerations for Guests

    It is essential to keep in mind the reason for your presence there.

    It is best to keep the noise level down and save the jokes for a later time, unless the deceased person specifically requested a boisterous celebration.

    You are not required to act sad, but you should always show respect to those who have recently lost a loved one.

    Acting as if you haven't eaten in days when it's time for refreshments is not appropriate behaviour. Take on a smaller portion size, and fight the urge to wolf down your food.

    Don't linger for an excessive amount of time. It is time for you to leave when you see other people leaving or when the host begins to move around nervously.

    Before you leave the reception, be sure to extend your gratitude to the host and offer your condolences to the members of the family. Let Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals help you select the type of funeral service that best fits your needs and your budget.

    Who Be Will in Charge of Organising the Funeral Reception?

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    Proceed with planning the reception if you believe you are capable of handling the responsibilities involved. It's possible that it will serve as a welcome distraction for you, depending on the circumstances.

    If it seems like it might become too much, take it easy for a while and think of some other solutions.

    You won't have a lot of time to make the arrangements unless you do some sort of planning ahead of time. When deciding whether or not to do it yourself, you should keep this fact in mind.

    There are a number of options available to you if you would rather have someone else take care of the specifics, if this is the case.

    It's possible that a dependable friend or member of the family is the answer to your problem. If you choose to hold the funeral or memorial service at a church or funeral home, it is possible that these establishments have a trained professional on staff specifically for this role.

    A lot of the time, churches have volunteer groups that are more than willing to assist. You might want to think about hiring a professional funeral celebrant or event planner who specialises in handling funeral preparations.

    Where and When Will the Reception Be Held?

    The reception for a funeral is typically held in one of three places: the home of a friend or relative of the deceased person, the banquet hall of the local church, or the parlour of the local funeral home.

    Additionally, a lot of people go with a neighbourhood eatery. When considering the location of the event, you will need to take into account the possible number of guests. Don't overlook the possibility of holding the event in one of the community's parks or other open-air areas. Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals provides professional burial services in Melbourne. We understand that the death of a loved one is a difficult time, and our team is here to help you through every step of the process.

    How Will You Personalise the Event?

    The purpose of the funeral reception is to give those who are attending the opportunity to share memories and further reflect on the life of the person who passed away, as we have mentioned previously.

    By including details that bring to mind your loved one, you can help to foster interaction and make the reception feel more personal.

    There are a lot of well-known and straightforward approaches to take here.

    Putting together a photo wall or a memory table are two of the most common things people do. Displaying some one-of-a-kind items that belonged to the deceased, particularly if they were an avid collector, is another option worth considering.

    Other ways in which you can inject some of your own personality into the funeral reception include:

    • Serving dishes that were the decedent's favourites before they passed away.
      playing music in the background that was meaningful to your loved one who has passed away.
    • Making plans for a group activity, such as a ceremony involving the lighting of candles.
    • Guests are encouraged to share their stories and memories by being given the opportunity to speak into an open microphone.
    • Putting together a video tribute that will be shown during the reception.
      presenting guests with a memento that they can take home with them.

    These are just a few of the ways you can make the funeral reception unique. You can find many more inspiring ideas on popular social media such as Pinterest.

    Should You Decorate the Venue?

    The location of the reception, the amount of time you have available, and the resources that are available to you will determine whether or not you choose to decorate the venue.

    Many people have discovered that having flowers delivered to their homes can make even the most dreary room appear brighter.

    Personalization can also be achieved through the use of decorations. For instance, if the deceased enjoyed spending time outside, arrangements of wildflowers may be the perfect way to pay tribute to their life.

    Warmth can be generated by combining the use of photographs and candles on tables.

    It is not necessary to plan as if you are hosting a wedding even though it is possible that you might want to decorate the room in order to create a certain atmosphere.

    Keep in mind that you, too, may be experiencing loss. As long as you keep your loved one in mind and put forth as much effort as you possibly can, the space will turn out just fine.

    The guests are not there to criticise your ability to decorate; rather, they are there to celebrate the life of your loved one and enjoy each other's company.

    Common Funeral Reception Events

    Besides those above, and depending on the funeral reception's location, the following events may also occur at some point:

    • Sharing. Those in attendance might be asked to relate any fond recollections they have of the person who has passed away. Don't be concerned; if you don't want to, you won't be required to make a public presentation at all.
    • Photos. It's possible that a photographer took those photos of the family. If you are a member of the immediate family, it is highly likely that you will be required to appear in the photographs. If this is not the case, you are free to turn down any invitations to be photographed.
    • Special Mini-Events. At a lot of receptions, there will be a slideshow playing on a screen; sometimes, the lights will be dimmed, and people will pause what they're saying to watch the slides or the video. A member of the family or the officiant might offer a few words. There is a possibility that one of the activities will involve filling out cards entitled "My special memory of you." It is possible to arrange for the releasing of doves, butterflies, or balloons during the reception if it is being held at an outdoor location.
    • Prayers. A member of the clergy or the family might say a blessing, and there might also be some quiet time for praying and thinking. You will not be required to take part in the event if you do not adhere to the same religious tradition as everyone else. Nevertheless, it is proper etiquette to remain silent during prayers, pay attention to what is being said, and perhaps even bow your head.

    What Should I Say?

    After going over what you should anticipate, we can now discuss the appropriate behaviour for attending a funeral reception.

    It is a good idea to express your condolences to the departed person's family as soon as you arrive at the location of the memorial service.

    If you were unable to say your goodbyes to the deceased during the visitation or funeral, it is especially vital that you do so now.

    You can also strike up a conversation with anyone else who you happen to know who is present, either while you are travelling there or after you have arrived.

    If you see someone you don't know, it is perfectly appropriate to introduce yourself and ask them how they knew the deceased or the family. This is especially true if you are the type of person who thrives in social situations.

    If you aren't someone who naturally thrives in social situations, don't worry if the thought of conversing with other people makes you feel uncomfortable at first.

    At funeral services, everyone, including those who are currently grieving for a loved one, feels a little out of place.

    It is normal to be concerned about what to say to comfort those who are going through a difficult time. Simply make sure that you are being genuine and that your words are coming from a place of empathy. To phrase it another way, be genuine.

    If you are having trouble deciding what to say at the reception, the following are some suggestions that may help you:

    • "My heart goes out to you on the passing of your loved one." (You might want to give them a hug at this point.)
    • "Is there anything I can do for you today or in the days ahead?" "Is there anything I can do for you today?"
    • "I can't even begin to fathom what you must be going through right now, but please know that you have a friend in me."
    • If there is anything at all that you require, don't hesitate to give me a call.

    Bear in mind that there are some situations in which there are no words that you could say that would help ease the pain.

    When someone is going through a difficult time, it can help to give them a long hug and cry with them. More advice on what to say to someone who is grieving can be found on this page.

    What Should I Avoid Saying?

    On the other hand, there are just a few things that you'll want to avoid saying to the family at the reception:

    • "I completely understand how you are feeling." There is a possibility that this sentiment originates from a good place; however, not everyone will comprehend or value it. No one other than the bereaved can truly understand how they are currently feeling.
    • "At this point, he or she has moved on to happier times." When attending a funeral or a reception, you might think that this is a standard thing to say. You should avoid saying it because it will only serve to bring up painful memories and remind the grieving person that their loved one is no longer with them.
    • "I don't know how you're doing it, but everything seems to be going so smoothly thanks to you." It's possible that the person you're talking to is just trying to appear resilient on the surface so that they can avoid falling apart when they're by themselves and give themselves permission to start grieving in earnest.

    What Should I Do?

    We've hopefully already answered this question with the information above, but let's break it all down for you here:

    • Be present. Simply attending the funeral reception demonstrates respect for the family of the deceased and for the person who has passed away.
    • Offer your condolences. You should express your condolences to the family and let them know that you will be there for them in any way that they may require assistance.
    • Introduce yourself to people you don't already know, and tell them about your favourite memories of the person who passed away.
    • Keep in mind what you should say as well as what you should avoid saying.
    • Just be who you are. Does it go against your nature to engage in idle chitchat with everyone in the room or to show a lot of emotion when you're talking to anyone? There is no necessity for you to do so. Do you like to make people smile? Maintain a cordial demeanour and even crack a few jokes, but do so in a way that is appropriate for the event at hand and avoid going overboard.

    Visit Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals to know more about our prepaid funeral service and find the best funeral option for your unique situation.

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