Party Catering

Food and drink can be an important part of our family and identity. Did the deceased have any favorite foods? Does the family gather around the table for special meals?

Think about the food and drinks to be served at the reception and how they portray the deceased. It's not about how much you spend but the choices you make.

Perhaps they were Italian and well known for her lasagna. What better way to honor her than to serve her lasagna at the reception? You could even share the recipe as a nice memento for guests to take home. On the other hand, perhaps the deceased was known for not cooking but loved Indian cuisine. You could choose Indian cuisine for this final celebration.

Whatever you choose for the menu, consider these tips when planning a reception.

  • Estimate six bite-sized refreshments per person
  • In order to calculate how many people you should prepare for, estimate how many people you think will attend and then add half that number just to be safe, particularly if the deceased was younger
  • Do not serve alcohol without food
  • Have three times the number of glasses as guests to avoid running out
  • Unopened wine bottles can usually be returned to the liquor store or you may be happy to have them available for drop-in visitors
  • If you are using a caterer, see if they can be flexible and have a "plan B" for stretching refreshments if necessary without holding you to a guarantee that is too high
  • Guests are there to support you and won't expect a large meal
  • Most caterers come prepared with good carry-out containers and are happy to pack up leftovers for the freezer
  • If the reception will be held at an outside venue, ask if there are additional costs, such as corkage fees. Also find out whether you will be allowed to take leftover food or alcohol home. This could be convenient as you will most likely still have family and friends around and lots to do

Adapted with permission from Celebrating a Life by Faith Moore, published in 2009 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang

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Celebrating a Life: Planning Memorial Services and Other Creative Remembrances
By Faith Moore
Faith Moore