Holding A Funeral Repast- What You Need To Know


Losing a loved one is a terrible thing, it fills a void in the heart that never heals. There is certain happiness too in this, the acknowledgment that your loved one is in the warm embrace of God free from these worldly aspirations. What can we do to celebrate the life of a loved one? To show them that they meant the world to you!

Holding a Funeral Reception is a critical part of the whole healing process, loved ones gather to cherish the life of the departed. For those that don’t know what a repast actually is, here is the definition:

In a repast, mourners gather to share their sorrow, they also celebrate the life of the departed. This is a good opportunity to show how much the departed meant to their family and friends. Repast also means the taking of food, like a meal at a funeral.

The Repast Reception may seem like a tradition but it is much more than that. Serving food and sharing grief with your loved ones is the first step towards healing, although the wounds in the heart can never be healed, they can at least be taken care of.

Repast meals are supposed to be comforting, and cherished memories of the departed are shared. How they changed the lives of others and how they overcame struggles in their own lives are shared. Funeral Repasts have varying lengths, although you can expect them to last between 1-2 hours.

Lives are like rivers: Eventually, they go where they must. Not where we want them to.

Richard Russo, Author and Screenwriter

What Is The History Of Repast?

For centuries we have been holding funeral receptions and funeral repasts but where does it all come from? What is the meaning behind this? If we take a detailed look at the word repast then it dates back to 14th Century France, it means “A Meal, Food”. 

Repast is also derived from the Latin word Repastus which means “Meal”.

The Purpose Of Holding A Funeral Repast 

Holding a Funeral Repast might be considered a tradition for some but it is so much more than that. It is a way to bring loved ones together, to comfort and care for each other. Here are some of the purposes of holding a funeral repast.

To Bring Comfort 

In times of sorrow and grief, all of us need comfort and bringing loved ones together is a really good way to give comfort. Talking and sharing feelings with each other unburdens the heart and allow true feelings to let out. All of this is better than bottling the grief inside, doing so will only bring much turmoil and pain.

Being left alone at a time like this can easily kill the person inside, holding a funeral reception or a repast will allow the mourners to comfort each other, chat, and remember the dead in kind words. This is a helpful way to include introvert people too, those who are too shy to speak out can just listen and be involved in the process. Grieving together helps and holding a Funeral Repast might be the best way to do it.

Family Reunion 

In sickness and in health, family is always there for each other but sometimes borders and other pledges of duty can keep family members away from each other for a very long time. Funerals bring a family together, it even brings loved ones together that have not seen each other for decades.

In a situation like this, family members can bond again and gain emotional support. A Funeral Repast allows a safe haven for family members to have a reunion and share thoughts over a hearty meal.

To Offer Condolences 

Offering condolences to the family of the departed often seems difficult at a funeral, there is so much going on, and the right opportunity rarely arises. Funerals are not planned after all and they can catch a family when they are completely unaware. It also does not seem fair to disturb the afflicted family when they are in shock and grief. 

The Funeral Repast is a much more “Informal” gathering where only close friends and family friends are expected. This is also the right opportunity to offer your condolences directly, this would feel intimate and much more supportive.

Cherishing The Life Of The Deceased 

Life is incomplete without death because death teaches us that life is worth living. People accomplish amazing wonders in their lives, they change everything around them which also affects other lives. Cherishing the person that brought some change in your life is a wonderful way to remember them and a Funeral Repast provides that opportunity. 

Where Funerals are more formal, Repasts are informal and people can talk about anything. There are no barriers and everything at that time comes from the heart. People will be sharing stories about the deceased, what made them special, and how they brought joy into the lives of others. Family members and friends can take advantage of a Repast fully to celebrate the life of the deceased in a manner that won’t be forgotten. 

Bringing Closure 

As the word Repast means “Meal”, sharing a meal with the family of the departed is very necessary. It brings a certain closure to the funeral process, it also soothes people that are still grieving. While sharing a meal, there is a special feeling of togetherness, people get to know that they are loved.

After sharing a meal, people talk to the family and help bring them closure. They simply don’t rush back home, they make sure that the grieving family feels safe and taken care of. This is a sense of protection that a Funeral Repast offers. No matter how hard things get, your loved ones will always be there for you!

How Does A Funeral Repast Invitation Look Like?

The Funeral Repast can either be for the public (The people that attend the Funeral) or it can be for a privately selected group of people. This group is usually close friends and family members. Private Funeral Repast invitations will be given out to the selected people via mail or E-mail.

Here is an example of a Funeral Repast Invitation:

Celebrating The Life Of John Doe

There are two scenarios that could occur at a Funeral, if the Repast is open to all then the Funeral Director will announce that the family of the deceased has invited everyone that is attending the funeral for a Repast Lunch/Dinner. The venue and timings will also be announced at the same time. 

In the second scenario, private mail will be sent to close friends and family members. The private mail will include a Repast Invitation card like the one we have listed above. Either way, if you are planning to attend a Funeral Repast Lunch/Dinner then be sure to bring a little something for the family of the deceased, this gesture of kindness will soothe their suffering.

Funeral Repast Quotes and Sayings- Memorable Words To Soothe Suffering 

As a Funeral Repast brings the loved ones of the deceased close, words must be shared that bring comfort and relaxation. A Funeral is one of the appropriate occasions to celebrate the life of the departed through kind words and also to wish them good fortune in the hereafter. Here are some of the quotes that you can borrow for a Funeral Repast.

Death is not extinguishing the light. It is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

Rabindranath Tagore


There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.

George Sand 


Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realise it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.

Sai Baba


Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

Ernest Hemingway


For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

Khalil Gibran


The journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Life has to end Love doesnt
Life has to end Love doesnt


Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

Rossiter Worthington Raymond


How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?

Carson McCullers


Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Irish Proverb

The song is ended but the melody lingers on…
The song is ended but the melody lingers on…


What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.

Helen Keller


How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

A.A. Milne


As is a tale, so is a life: Not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.



The best portion of a good man’s life is his little nameless unrememberd acts of kindness and of love.

William Wordsworth


Perhaps passing through the gates of death is like passing quietly through the gate in a pasture fence. On the other side, you keep walking, without the need to look back. No shock, no drama, just the lifting of a plank or two in a simple wooden gate in a clearing. Neither pain, nor floods of light, nor great voices, but just the silent crossing of a meadow.

Mark Helprin

Grief is the price we pay for love
Grief is the price we pay for love


Only a moment you stayed, but what an imprint your footprints have left on our hearts.

Dorothy Ferguson


If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them.

James O’Barr


Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.


More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world


To me, you were more than just a person. You were a place where I finally felt at home.

Denice Envail


Every life is noted and is cherished, and nothing loved is ever lost or perished.

Madeleine L’Engle


What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.


What Is The Average Cost Of A Funeral Repast?

Holding a Funeral Repast is not hard but it is also not that easy, there are complications involved. Although the main thing that you need to know about a Funeral Repast is that there are no rules involved, you can plan the finances without any kind of problem.

What Is The Average Cost Of A Funeral Repast? This is a common question but the answer depends from family to family. The cost easily cost between $100 and $3000 (Beyond). All of this varies on the venue of the Repast, the food that you will be offering, and other aspects.

The most cost-effective venue will be the home of the deceased where their family will be hosting the Repast. The only cost that could arise here would be of the food and drinks. As there are no specific rules here, you can take any kind of approach. If money is not an issue then you can hire a catering staff and serve food through them. You can always hire a small staff that will serve the food and drinks but that is always optional. 

If you choose to go with Alcoholic beverages then the expenses could rise. If money is an issue and there could be problems if the expenses exceed the limit then the right finger food is the best option to go with. Sandwiches or chicken would be the preferred choice here. Juices and other beverages can also be served.

If you rent a hall for the Funeral Repast then your expenses could rise greatly, you would have to pay the rent of the hall, the food cost, and even the staff cost. Only go for this option if money is not a problem otherwise you could have problems.

The Funeral Repast costs could also come down significantly if you plan for an outdoor venue. Following this approach, you will only have to pay for the food, drinks, and the transportation of tables/seating. Relatives and friends tend to help a lot in this setting, you can always try them out. 

There are some families that would also be planning to decorate the venue of the Repast, flowers could be used for the decoration. Apart from the decoration, professional photographers can also be hired for the Repast. Table seating and Thank you cards can also be arranged for the Repast but this would increase your expenses. As there are no specific rules or guidelines to holding a Repast, this is entirely in your hands.

How To Prepare Finances For The Funeral Repast Lunch/Dinner?

There are many ways to prepare for the Funeral Repast expenses, the family of the departed can arrange them if money is not a problem. Although in some cases, the money to hold a Funeral Repast is not present, what happens then?

In this case, a donation is requested from the people attending the funeral. Close friends and other family members are also more than happy to share the expenses together. Since the cost of the luncheon can easily exceed $3000, it is best to be prepared for anything.

There are also some situations in which the government is willing to help with funeral expenses.

How To Choose The Best Venue For A Funeral Repast

Choosing the perfect venue for the Funeral Repast is also very important, it needs to be comfortable for the family of the departed and the attendees. The Repast could be an open or a private event as we discussed earlier, this is completely dependent on the host.

The venue has to be decided before the funeral takes place as it will be communicated after the ceremony. The Repast could be scheduled for both day and night, both of these timings are feasible. As for the setting of the venue, that is where the host needs to be considerate. Here are some of the options that could be used for the venue.

Church/Place Of Worship

A church or place of worship is going to be very familiar to both the family of the departed and the attendees. A funeral takes place in the church before the actual burial process, so holding that or another place of worship for the Funeral Repast is actually a very good choice. 

The attendees can return from the funeral service and then attend the repast. Another good reason to host the repast at a church would be that volunteers are more than willing to help with the repast, this way expenses could be controlled. 

As you would know, many churches have volunteers who love helping around and their help would be much appreciated at a funeral repast. They can help serve the food, set up the tables, and even clean the place after.

Funeral Home

A Funeral Home is another great option for a Repast Venue. The mourners are going to be there and these funeral homes often have parlors that can accommodate a lot of people. Tables and seating arrangements can easily be installed there and food can be served. You won’t have to worry about staff from anywhere else because these funeral homes have a staff of their own that help around with the Repast. 

Just make sure to discuss all the costs before the preparations.

A Favorite Restaurant Of The Deceased 

Holding the Funeral Repast at the favorite restaurant of the deceased is another way to cherish and celebrate their lives. If you are going with this option then certain arrangements will have to be made with the management. You will have to make sure that the tone of the restaurant is well-suited for the Repast, we don’t want funky music playing while people are mourning.

You will have to discuss with the restaurant management about the food and the seating arrangement. 

An Outdoor Venue 

Going for an outdoor location is also a really good option, this way the expenses can be managed easily. A place of nature is going to create a beautiful feeling for the mourners, this will be necessary for their healing process. A park, mountain venue, or a favorite place of the deceased are all great options to go for. 

This option also comes packed with risks that you would have to be careful about. You will have to pay extra attention to the weather forecast, you don’t want it to rain when the Repast is in place. You will also have to transport the tables, seating arrangement, and food to the venue. Also, don’t forget to clean up after the event is over.

What To Serve At A Funeral Repast?

Now the big question remains, what should be served at a Funeral Repast? Should you go for a lavish meal or would comfort food suffice? There is no right or wrong option here, and there is no fixed menu that everyone has to follow. This is a time of mourning, so people will be there to chat and share memories. There is not that much emphasis on the food that will be served but there are still some good options that you can go with.


Pasta is a great comfort food that you can prepare for the Repast, it is quick and easy to manage. You can make it and freeze it before the Repast and then just heat it up. It doesn’t go bad and can cater to all diet types. You can make the pasta at home or order it from a catering service.

pexels engin akyurt


Sandwiches are also good to prepare for a Funeral Repast, you can try out different recipes for them. You can easily make different kinds of sandwiches and then just put them on the table. One of the favorite sandwiches to try out are cheese, tomato, and mayonnaise. Chicken are ham sandwiches are also preferred, with sandwiches you can keep things simple and yummy or go for something fancy.

pexels danika adderley

Rice and Chicken 

Rice and Chicken are both comfort foods that you can serve. You can try serving them together or individually, there are also a lot of recipes that you can try. Chicken can be eaten as finger food or a full meal, it depends on how you will be serving it. 

You can also try making chicken nuggets or chicken tenders for the kids if they will be attending, those are hot favorites. If you are planning on serving snacks then spring rolls are also a great option to go with.

pexels denys gromov
Rice and Chicken

Soup and Breadsticks 

Who doesn’t love warm soup with some breadsticks? This is an option that can easily be catered to anyone, people of all diet types love soup. Soup would also look amazing if it is cold weather, there would nothing more soothing than a hot cup of chicken soup.

pexels fox
Soup and Breadsticks


Death is something that is inevitable, but it is something that we must prepare for. Losing a loved one is a feeling like none other, it creates a terrible wound in the heart that can never be healed. Although there are some ways that can heal us in time, holding a Funeral Repast is one of them. 

It is a way to honor the dead and bring comfort to the mourners, it is a way to bring together the people that we love. Hopefully, now all of your questions about a Funeral Repast will be answered. 

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