Repast or also known as post-funeral receptions give families and friends a chance to remember their deceased loved one in a casual setting. It is often held at the home of the family while some families do it at a different venue like restaurants or their church. At a repast, food and beverages are often serve. Some families even allow a liquor or drink to be served. although a post-funeral service is a casual one, be mindful of your behavior and how you act especially towards the bereaving family – we call it repast funeral etiquette.
Repast Funeral Etiquette That You Should be Aware Of
Regardless of where the reception is being held, be aware of the following guidelines when attending a repast.
- BE ON TIME AND BE DISCREET – if you are going to attend the post-funeral reception and you arrived early, do not go in and attract everyone’s attention during the funeral service. Be discreet and put your smartphone in silent mode
- EXPRESS YOUR CONDOLENCES – express sympathy to the bereaving family in the simplest way possible. A few short-word of sympathy is enough, there is no need to recite a poem
- DRESS PROPERLY – there is no need to wear ‘all black’ yet avoid wearing something colorful or flashy. Do not wear slippers or flip-flops. Attending a funeral shows respect to the deceased and so is attending a post-funeral reception
- REGISTER– do not avoid the register book because the family will surely keep it for years and finding your name written in there will surely give them comfort in the years to come (every person who showed love and gave time will surely make them smile every time they look back at this dark time)
- BRING A GIFT – nothing can lessen a grieving family’s agony and pain after losing a loved one yet there are sympathy gifts that can give them comforts such as flowers or a condolence card
- EAT AND DRINK MODERATELY – it is common during repast for food and drinks to be served. Eat as much as you can but avoid wasting your food by taking more than what you can eat. If wine is served, drink moderately. Also, don’t go there to stand, if a food is served, then eat
- KEEP YOUR CHILDREN IN LINE – going to a post-funeral reception is easier if you are with family members, even children. There is no rule that says you cannot bring your kids but make sure to explain to them what the occasion is
- REMINISCE AND LAUGH – repast or post-funeral reception is a casual setting for people to remember the deceased and talk about him or her. Laugh if something funny is said but don’t overdo it. Reminisce the good times and avoid bad-mouthing the deceased. Avoid starting a gossip or discussing sensitive issues to the grieving family like wills.
- RESPECT TRADITIONS – in some culture, there are traditions being observed during the repast. Respect their traditions and do not insinuate your own beliefs
A repast is still a somber event hence you should keep everything in moderation. Drink moderately, eat moderately, laugh moderately, and remember and share only your good times with the deceased.
How Long to Stay and What to Bring at a Repast?
Depending on where the post-funeral reception is held, be aware of the best time to leave the reception. If it is in the funeral home or at the church, check the allotted time given to the bereaving family with the person-in-charge. If it is at their home, it means there is no time limit but if you will be one of the few left behinds, make sure to help with the cleaning.
At most, stay long enough to express your love and sadness for their loss but don’t overstay – the family will also want to rest after sleepless nights during the wake.
As for what to bring, there is no need to bring anything extravaganza but if you can, you can send flower ahead of you, in time for the funeral or for the repast arrangement. Aside from guests, the presence of beautifully arranged flowers can also lighten up the mood during a repast and provide comfort to the grieving family, knowing that their deceased loved one is truly loved by many people.
Is Presence Not Enough?
Some people will say that attending a repast is enough to show their support and love for the grieving family. This is true. However, our manners reflect our feelings - and - in a repast, our manners will show how sensitive we are with the feelings of the grieving family.
Your presence alone will provide comfort to the grieving family yet if you know these etiquettes in a repast, then you are one less person that they have to think about. A repast is not just about showing up and say, ‘hey Norma, I am here to share your grief,’ it is also a way to show continued support and to offer extra help in the future. Some use this opportunity to lighten up the mood of the family and to offer their numbers in case they needed help in the future.
They say that the repast is the most important part of a funeral service because “it is not over until it is over.” A post-funeral reception is a form of fellowship where those left behind can breathe in a more relaxed environment with the support and love of their friends and families.