Some families choose to have a wake and funeral in the same day. Having a refreshment area during this day of mourning provides a place for friends and relatives to gather for conversation or simply take some time to rest during this potentially stressful occasion. As you plan a funeral, take some time to make arrangements for a refreshment area. Here are a few helpful tips to use as you plan for wake or viewing portion of the funeral services.
Choose Between Catering And Potluck
You may find that friends and family want to make a dish for the wake. This often provides a way for them to do what they can to help the bereaved. Ask if anyone is interested in bringing dishes before you hire a caterer. If many people want to participate, you may be able to skip professional catering services. However, for wakes with people coming from out of town, a potluck may be more difficult. You can choose to have the entire wake catered, or you can use a combination of pot luck sides along with catered meat, vegetable and fruit trays.
Consider Food Allergies
If someone in your family has food allergies, such as a nut allergy, take steps to ensure that the food you have brought in is safe for everyone. For potlucks, send a gentle email reminder letting everyone know what not to bring. If you hire a catering service, alert the staff to any allergies to appropriate menu options can be selected.
Create A Children's Area
Children can be picky eaters, but they may need one or several snack breaks throughout the day. Select kid-friendly snacks, such as mini deli sandwiches, cheese and crackers, or fruit cut into fun shapes. Bring plenty of juice boxes, and look for disposable appetizer plates that can hold pint-sized servings. You may also want to add a few coloring books and boxes of crayons to the table so little ones can grab a snack and an activity to keep them busy while adults are holding conversations. They can also remain in the refreshment area during the funeral services if they are not able to sit still for long periods of time.
Have A Plan For Leftovers
Depending on how many people attend the services, you may have a significant amount of leftovers. Consider what you will do with this food after the wake. If you are hosting a funeral dinner at your home after the graveside service, you can take the food home and put it out along with the rest of the dinner spread later in the day. Another option is to donate it to a local soup kitchen, which provides a way to do something positive for the community in honor of your loved one.
Talk to a funeral director, such as at Maham Funeral Home, about the different rooms available for the refreshment area, and ask about help with setup before the services begin. In some cases, the funeral home may have refrigerators you can use to store perishable items.