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3 Key Etiquette Tips for the Post-Funeral Reception


Lifestyle Improvement

Posted On: Apr 05, 2017

3 Key Etiquette Tips for the Post-Funeral Reception

Attending a gathering after a funeral is a time-honored tradition in most cultures, although the details vary from religion to religion, country to country, and culture to culture. However, if you've never been to one of these events before, if it's a particularly emotional event for you, or if you're simply not sure how you're supposed to behave, it's a nerve-wracking occasion as well as an upsetting one. Nothing can soothe the pain and anguish of losing something or seeing someone you love lose someone. That being said, we can help to put you at ease by sharing the most basic pieces of etiquette for post-funeral receptions and get-togethers.

Find Out If It's a Potluck

This might not seem like the most pressing matter, but answering it can reduce the risk of any discomfort or awkward moments. Sometimes, a post-funeral reception occurs at a family home. It may also take place at a church, the funeral home, or a restaurant. The family of the deceased will let guests know about the details, such as whether the event is catered or potluck. Depending on your relationship with the survivors, however, it's almost always acceptable to bring some kind of food or beverage, even if you leave it afterward.

Feel Your Feelings but Be Respectful

The get-together after the funeral isn't quite as staid as the funeral itself. The ceremony is somber and sad, but during the reception, everyone generally begins to share stories about the deceased. Many of those memories will likely be funny, amusing, or touching. Just as it's okay to cry, it's also perfectly acceptable to laugh—just be respectful. An affectionate laugh in response to an anecdote is not the same as a bawdy guffaw at an inappropriate joke or story.

Don't Overstay

While viewing hours and funerals themselves typically have an end time, the reception may not. People tend to filter out over time until only the family and closest core friends remain. If you're part of that group, no worries—no one's playing coy around you. If you're not, then don't overstay your welcome. Remember that the bereaved are exhausted, emotionally and physically. Should you stay, then offer to lend a hand with the cleanup.

The most important thing to remember is that you're there to provide support. That's the most meaningful gift of all.