Selecting a location for the post funeral gathering of your loved one is sometimes one of the easier choices and other times it can be a challenge. Options are limited when it comes to viewing the deceased; viewings are nearly always held at a funeral home. Some families choose to hold a post viewing gathering as well. In many cases these gatherings will be held at the same funeral home that the viewing was held, or even at the very same time as the viewing itself when the death occurred in the warmer summer months. Sometimes these gatherings are even months after the funeral. When the gathering occurs a considerable amount of time after the funeral normally it is because the family was waiting to have a spring or summer burial for their loved one in the event of the departed passing in the winter time. Burials are considerably more expensive if performed in the winter months when the ground is frozen. In these cases the family can choose to have their loved ones held in a public or private vault until such time as the ground thaws and a burial can be performed at a reduced rate. When this happens there are often gatherings of the loved ones months after the departed has actually passed away.
When planning this type of post funeral gathering choosing the location is important. It is important to consider several things, beginning with, who will you invite, where you will hold the event and continuing with, will there be a pre or post gathering burial that everyone is invited to, or will it be a private burial.
Who you will invite can be a tough question to ask yourself. Naturally most people’s first reaction is that they want to invite every single person that they know and that might have known the departed. Once you’ve had time to think a little bit about it you might find it easier to first consider where you will hold event and then build the guest list around the capacity of the location and the appropriateness of the guests.
Common gathering places are restaurants, or pubs or in the home of a loved one. The most common times to hold these events are in the early afternoon because the burials will most often occur in the late afternoon or around 5 or 6 pm. You might choose to have a meal at a restaurant or simply a few cocktails at a pub before the burial. If this is the case you will want to plan ahead of time whether this event will be a pre paid event for the guests you invite, or whether it will be pot luck, or a bring your own drinks sort of event in a case where it is being held in a home. Contrary to popular belief it is not in poor taste to ask the attendees to cover their own meal or beverages in a restaurant if that is where you chose to hold the event. You will also want to consider whether attendees will be invited to the burial after this event.
When selecting guests to invite to the event you will want to consider first the location of the event; if you know that one or more of the friends or family members of the deceased are recovering from alcoholism for instance you might choose to invite that person or those people to only the burial portion of the event if you are planning to gather in a pub. If this is not a concern then there is no reason not to invite all the people who attended the funeral. You might want to use the guest register from the funeral to collect your list of invitees, assuming you elected to have one. In the event of a winter funeral your Funeral Director would have likely encouraged you to have a register so you would be able to keep track of who attended the funeral for exactly this purpose.
This gathering is meant to be a meaningful celebration of the life of your loved one. Try to make it fun, maybe gathering in a place where he or she would have spent their spare time. This will add a personal touch to the event and will put more emphasis on the life events of the deceased.