Locations for Post-Funeral Receptions

Mar 3, 2010 | 0 comments

It’s okay to get creative with a post-funeral or memorial service reception! In fact, as Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”

Often, a post-funeral reception will be held at the home of the bereaved or a close family member. In some cases, a reception will be held at the church immediately following the service. Alternatively, some families opt to hold a gathering at a restaurant or at a place special to the deceased. When funeral planning, consider the pros and cons for each choice.


  • Pros: Accessible location, no cost, most of the items for a memorial display would be at the home of the deceased; it’s convenient for family; there are no restrictions on use.
  • Cons: The house may not be in entertainment-ready condition, especially after a long illness; the family may not have the tools for entertaining; or the family prefers the home remain a private retreat.


  • Pros: The reception can be held there right after the funeral or memorial service; most church reception halls have all the needed equipment for entertaining; use of the hall may be included as part of church membership or have a minimal fee.
  • Cons: Use of alcohol may be prohibited; the building may not be available on certain days; and any activity there will be subject to rules of the church. Another consideration: funeral attendees who go to the burial will then have to retrace their steps back to church for the reception.

Restaurant or Bar

  • Pros: A restaurant or bar that was a favorite place to dine can be a nice way to reflect on the life of the deceased. With advance arrangement, a menu of the foods and drinks they loved can be prepared. All the set up, serving, and clean up is handled by the restaurant staff, allowing the family time to focus on receiving condolences and sharing stories.
  • Cons: There may be limited availability of use, either in space or time. This approach may be more expensive than hosting a reception at home, unless of course, you own the place.

Special places

  • Pros: A special place for a post-service reception can be any location with great meaning, such as a favorite beach, theater, museum, art gallery, botanical garden, zoo or public park. Being in a place the deceased loved to be helps everyone remember that person with great clarity.
  • Cons: Getting permission to use the place for a reception may take time. Bringing the accoutrements for entertaining to a remote spot can be a challenge. If outdoors, accommodations for bad weather and restrooms must be taken into consideration.
A Good Goodbye