Funeral Foods

A guide to planning a funeral tea, reception buffet or food for a wake

Last updated: 17 July 2019

Funeral foods

Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash

Whether it’s cake and a cuppa at home, or a running buffet at a hotel venue, it’s traditional to provide food for a wake, or a funeral tea.

If you are doing your own catering for a funeral reception, it’s sensible to plan for funeral food that’s straightforward for you to pre-prepare.

Catering for a funeral wake will depend on the number of mourners you’re anticipating – and if a large number are expected, a hired venue, or community space at your place of worship might be a good place to hold the wake.

If you’re planning for funeral food then it could be a good time to call in favours from friends who offer to help – from making sandwiches, baking sausage rolls or keeping the kettle on the boil.

Finger-foods on the go are ideal for a funeral or wake, enabling guests to mingle with other friends and family.

A pub or hotel venue should be able to provide you with a funeral food menu, while a funeral director can help you arrange catering for a funeral at your chosen venue.

Some funeral homes have their own facilities for a wake and can provide catering.

It’s unusual to directly invite people to a funeral or wake, but if need an idea of how much funeral reception food you’ll need to arrange, you could include an RSVP on the funeral notice.

Some people opt for hot and cold foods at a funeral, but cold buffets make sense if you don’t have caterers or an army of volunteers to ensure that heated foods are kept piping hot.

If you’re making your own food, it might be a good idea to include labels on platters of food to identify those that are veggie or vegan, or unsuitable for people with an allergy.

Funeral buffet ideas

Whether you go all out with a buffet spread or host a funeral tea, here’s a list of ideas for your funeral reception menu.

Sandwiches Carved meats: Roast beef, turkey or gammon are popular choices. Pasta salad, potato salad and coleslaw Quiche Cocktail sausages Sausage rolls Selection of cakes and biscuits A platter of cheese, meats and bread Fruit and vegetable trays Scones with clotted cream and jam Coffee/tea/juice

What funeral food can I take to a wake?

Sometimes it may be appropriate to take food to a wake, particularly if it is held at home, is a potluck meal or to a celebration of life gathering.

It might be a good idea to bring foods that could freeze well or could stay a day or two in the fridge to be used as leftovers - pasta bakes, casseroles, pies and stews are always effective options.

Read on for more information on how you can organise a funeral wake or reception.