Food for Funeral Reception

Funeral Reception | Eternally Loved

While funerals are always a somber time, the right kind of funeral food can bring everyone the comfort and peace they need. Luckily, there are many funeral food items you can choose from to create the ultimate funeral reception menu.

Whether you want to cater to a funeral service or are looking for the right funeral food menu to serve to your guests, you’re in the right place. However, the kind of funeral reception food you choose will depend on factors such as your budget, where the event will be held, and how complex you want it to be. 

To find out more about the right funeral food and to get more details on the different kinds of services available, read on below. 

Top 6 Funeral Food Menu Ideas

Funeral Food | Eternally Loved

Depending on your funeral food preferences and where you will be having the funeral reception, there are a few funeral foods that you can choose from. Thankfully, there are many kinds of funeral reception food that will work for most occasions, with themes that are widely used throughout the country.

One – Breakfast or Brunch Menu

This crowd-pleaser is the perfect choice if the funeral is set at an earlier time, where you can host a breakfast or brunch menu for the service. With this option, you will be serving typical food that you would find at brunch, such as:

  • Waffles and pancakes 
  • Sausage, bacon, and ham
  • Pastries, donuts, and bagels 
  • Fruit salads and fresh fruits 
  • Eggs, frittatas, and omelets
  • Coffee, orange, apple, or lemon juice, and tea

Working with a breakfast or brunch menu ensures that you will be serving food that everyone will love, such as frozen hash browns. It also provides a great way to keep expenses low because these foods are usually affordable and delicious. 

Funeral Potatoes

Even using the word funeral potatoes seems weird, but we wanted to point out that almost every meal can have potatoes.

Comfort food is often part of funeral foods and potatoes are at the top of the list.

From potato salad to frozen hash browns you can not go wring with adding a delicious potato dish. Adding cheese to potato dishes is a simple and comforting dish.

Two – Potluck

If you’re unable to prepare food, a simple potluck can help you save time and money compared to catering companies. A potluck is also a great way to have your attendees feel welcome and included, especially during this time of need. To get started with a potluck, be sure to send your guests a message that asks them to make their favorite food to be shared during the reception. 

If you do pick a potluck, here are just a few things that you can expect others to bring: 

  • Casserole dishes such as funeral potatoes
  • Drinks such as punch, coffee, soda, and tea 
  • Pasta dishes 
  • Salads and salad dressing 
  • Desserts such as brownies, cookies, and cakes 
  • Plates, cutlery, disposable pans, and napkins 

This provides a great solution for a large crowd and can become a special tradition that the whole family loves. Great home cooking can sometimes beat catering services and even the taste from your favorite restaurant. 

Three – Comfort Food

The name says it all — comfort food is made for comforting people, no matter what you choose to cook; including funeral wake food, repast food, or funeral luncheon food. Whether you cook comfort food or have it catered, it’s a great choice for all kinds of occasions, even funerals.

By providing comfort food, you can help people feel a little bit of peace during such a difficult time.

Some of the most well-loved dishes include: 

  • Bread and dinner rolls 
  • Casseroles such as meatball casserole and tuna casserole 
  • Funeral potatoes, scalloped potatoes, and other funeral potato recipes
  • Mac and cheese 
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Cookies, cake, and apple pie 
  • Southern funeral food such as green beans, sweet potato pie, potato salad, and biscuits 

Four – Italian Buffet

If you choose to host a funeral dinner, choosing an Italian Buffet is an excellent idea because it provides everyone the opportunity to become more involved compared to the other options presented here. The traditional version of an Italian buffet should be served family-style, making it perfect for a large gathering. An Italian-style buffet will have the following dishes: 

  • Various types of pasta dishes 
  • Hot dishes such as meatballs and sauce
  • Lasagna
  • Pastries 
  • Fresh salad 

Five – Sandwiches and Salads

As we all know, sandwiches are great finger foods and are suitable for a funeral food menu. Additionally, they are easy to clean up and won’t need utensils to consume while being easy to make.

Funeral sandwiches can be various cold cuts where you put your own funeral sandwiches together, or you can get sandwiches pre made.

Many caterers offer premade sandwiches from egg salad to chicken salad. These can be on a variety of bread or croissants.

Salads are another classic food item you’ll find in many funeral menus. Here are just a few ways you can serve sandwiches in a funeral reception:

  • Club sandwiches 
  • Ham and cheese sliders 
  • Roast beef sandwiches
  • Tuna sandwiches
  • Egg salad sandwiches 

Six – Taco Cart

It might seem a bit odd that a taco cart made it to our top six, however, it is one of the the most popular choices. Many taco carts are self contained, meaning there is nothing to do except eat delicious tacos.

Most taco carts are independently owned and they cook, serve, and clean up the area where they placed. Most carts can have ground beef, steak, chicken, shrimp, fish and even chicken nuggets for children.

Finally, taco carts are often an affordable option.

Funeral Decoration

Funeral Reception Food | Eternally Loved

When a loved one passes away, it can take months or even years to recover from the pain and sadness brought by their departure. But what probably hurts more is the fact that we have no choice but to keep moving forward. With that said, you still need to think about how you can best give them a send-off, where careful planning for decorations can properly commemorate a cherished person’s life and journey. 

Flower Arrangements

These are the most common pieces of decoration associated with funeral services. Even if you’re not a fan of flowers, it doesn’t mean that arranging them needs to be unappealing or tedious.

You can go beyond the traditional way of presenting flowers by using different shapes, types, and sizes. Having beautifully made flower arrangements can instantly transform a gloomy room into one that celebrates life. 

Candle Displays

Apart from flowers, an arrangement of candles are ornaments that you can use to celebrate a loved one’s life. Because they give off calming energy, they are a great addition in places that are emotionally charged, such as funeral services.

Candles come in a wide range of scents and colors, so you can choose the particular message you want to send across to your guests.

Favorite Photos

While hanging photos by a string is often found during happy celebrations such as weddings or thanksgiving parties, it also makes sense to have them at a funeral. The reason for this is that memories can be caught through a camera’s lens, allowing us to preserve our loved ones the way we always want to see them. Having their photos around the reception area will allow family and friends to commemorate their happiest and brightest moments. 

Their Favorites

You can also set aside a small space in your chosen venue to place your loved one’s favorite things. By doing this, you can remind everyone who attends the funeral service of the life your loved one enjoyed: from their early years as a naughty toddler to their older years as a professional.

By setting aside a few items that are special to their heart, you can bring them back, even for a short time. 

What To Bring to a Funeral

Whether you’re holding a large or small ceremony, it will be highly beneficial to know what you need to bring with you to prevent feeling uncomfortable during a funeral. If you are a grieving family member, be sure to bring keepsakes to ensure that things run smoothly.

Friends and acquaintances should bring something — a small token that will show your support for the family. 

Here are just a few things you can bring to a funeral:


You can bring photographs and of course ask the whole family to pitch in and dig up photos. Most celebrations of life are distinct from a funeral because you can follow personal preferences and have as many photos as you like.


It is a great idea to have tissues set out on each table for the grieving family and friends. Most celebrations of life follow some family traditions in regards to having humor and serious moments, but one thing is for sure – tissues on hand are important.

Sympathy card

Some receptions are held at the funeral home while others can be at the beach or a backyard. There is usually a place to leave cards. So if you want to bring a sympathy card for the family, that is a thoughtful gesture.


Flowers can be sent or brought. Much like a funeral reception flowers can are usually always welcomed.

A donation

Making a donation in honor of the person who has passed is also a great idea and very appreciated.

Share stories or memories

Some celebrations of life have a time where people are asked to share stories or memories. This is a fun time to here from others percetion.

Walking shoes (for outside)

many times a celebration of life or funeral reception is held outside. It is a great idea to have a comfortable pair of shoes in case you are walking on the beach or a distance to get to the celebration area.

An umbrella (for rain)

Is there ever a bad time to not have an umbrella. If it rains, it is optimal to be able to have an umbrella handy.

A guest book (if you are the organizer)

Having a guest book allows individuals to sign in. This is often a book that is referred to when family reflect on what happened during the celebration.

It is also a great way to have a list to write thank you cards if needed.

Celebration of Life Service

Food for Funeral Reception | Eternally Loved

Maybe you’re planning a funeral service and aren’t sure about your options — a celebration of life service is a type of ceremony where people can come together to celebrate, rather than mourn the life of the deceased.

These are commonly held after the physical body has been through cremation or burial — because of this, there’s more time for you to plan ahead. Additionally, it allows you to make bigger and better decisions about what to serve, and how you would like to celebrate the life of someone you loved dearly. 

While you shouldn’t really be concerned with social expectations when it comes to celebrating the life of a loved one, it’s also important that you are able to meet your guests’ emotional needs.

The celebration can be anything you want it to be, but think about who will be there and what they will want or need. You can then incorporate unique characteristics and the personality of the deceased — this could be their favorite music or place, where you can begin celebrating their remarkable life. 

Memorial Services

These are similar to funeral services in a number of ways, but the main difference between the two is that during a funeral, the body will be present, whether it is an open or closed casket. In a memorial service, the body will not be present, but instead, an urn or a framed portrait will serve as the focal point. Choosing either ceremony will provide you with the opportunity to mourn the loss of your loved one while giving you time to settle into the reality of the situation. 

Taking the time to organize such services will allow you to start on the right path to healing. Whether you decide to have a ceremony in a small, big, formal, or casual setting, it’s important to have a service that will allow you to spend time with family and those closest to you. Moreover, there’s no need to worry about when the service is held — many families will usually hold a service a month or more after the death of a loved one. 

Eternally Loved Plans Celebrations of Life and Funeral Reception Food

Celebration of Life Food for Reception | Eternally Loved

There is no right or wrong answer to how you should mourn the loss of a person but it’s important to remember what kind of role memorialization will play in your process.

Be sure to take your time and decide on the kind of celebration of life or funeral home service that will best capture the essence of the person you loved dearly.

Moreover, don’t forget to think about the kind of food you want to serve to your guests, and how it can bring everyone together during funeral receptions.