The funeral tea is a particularly British tradition. In the States, it’s pork at the parlor, American student Josh tells us.
Funerals are usually held 9am-5pm. This means we have some unusual catering requirements… hence the ‘funeral tea’ – sandwiches and scones with a cuppa at 4pm, sherry and sandwiches at 10.30am in a hotel near a crematorium.
Food is often the last thing on people’s minds after a death but it can be healing to sit and ‘break bread’ with loved ones – a chance to share stories and reflect together, catch our breath and try to come to terms with a new reality.
The big advantage of using a hotel near a church or crematorium is that the staff are used to the job and help ‘MC’ – organising, making any annoucements needed to form the occasion. You might elect to go to a favourite restaurant for lunch or dinner… maybe asking for a set price to keep an eye on costs. Often the host will offer a drink on arrival and then folks can buy their own. It all depends on budget. Don’t get into debt for a funeral. It’s no way to honour our dead.
The big advantage of doing it yourself is that it’s much more personal… and it keeps costs under control. It’s also a great way to invite people who want to help to contribute: bring-a-dish buffet, a bit of baking or a pot of soup for the gathering. (It’s also an idea to ask folk to help by picking up glasses and boxes of wine/beer if you’re self catering.)
Often, people do both. Quick sherry toast and sannie at the crem and ‘back to ours’ for close family and friends for something closer to the traditional wake… often descending into a bit of a hootenanny by the end of the day… a fine way to celebrate and say goodbye, getting rid of pent up tensions and emotion.
We have lots of caterers and events planners listed in our directory in our Marketplace.
Many show costs… like £7 a head for a funeral tea – so you can plan.