Holding a reception after your loved one’s funeral or memorial service is an important way to honor their life in an informal way. While the funeral is a powerful way to remember your loved one through the lens of tradition, culture, and sometimes religion, sometimes you just want to be surrounded by your friends and family.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Should You Include in a Funeral Reception Invitation?
- What Are Some Tips for Wording a Funeral Reception-Only Invitation?
- Funeral Reception Invitation Wording Examples
A funeral reception is a way to gather with loved ones after the ceremony. There are so many funeral reception ideas to choose from, including a traditional repast, group meal, or even a virtual gathering online.
If you’re wondering how to best word a funeral reception invitation, you’re in the right place. Here are 10+ free ideas for how to phrase your invitation to welcome your friends, family, and funeral guests to join you after the ceremony.
What Should You Include in a Funeral Reception Invitation?
A funeral reception invitation is a bit different from a traditional memorial service announcement or invitation. Not only will you want to welcome your invitees to bring guests (if it’s open to all), but you’ll want to share information about what guests can expect at this reception.
In most cases, the reception is optional. While it’s polite to attend the funeral to pay respects to the bereaved family, many guests might not choose to continue on to the reception. That being said, the more information you include, the more likely it is that your funeral guests will wish to join you in celebrating the life of your loved one.
Your funeral reception invitation should include:
- Who is invited to the reception (close family, everyone, etc.)
- The type of reception (meal, graveside, scattering ashes, etc.)
- The time, place, and date of the reception
- Whether or not an RSVP is required
- Whether food or drink will be served
Because no two receptions are alike, it’s important to be clear in your funeral reception invitations. Many guests likely aren’t sure what to expect, so you want to make the decisions as simple and easy as possible with your wording.
What Are Some Tips for Wording a Funeral Reception-Only Invitation?
Because most people don’t plan funerals or receptions very often, if at all, finding the right wording for a reception invitation can be difficult. There is a specific etiquette to these types of messages, so it’s tricky if you’re not familiar with the proper phrasing.
Since it’s up to you and your family what to do after a funeral, you can also make your own decisions about your funeral reception invitations. These might be sent with your funeral invitations, but they might be what’s called reception-only invitations. This means you’re inviting guests specifically to the reception either in addition to or instead of the funeral service.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when beginning this process:
- Details: Keep your wording simple, sticking only to the details. You don’t need to explain who is or isn’t invited to the reception or why you chose this guest list.
- Food & drink: It’s considered proper etiquette to share whether or not there will be food and drink served at the reception. This allows guests to plan their meals.
- RSVP: You might wish for your guests to RSVP to the funeral reception, especially if food and drink will be served. You can do this digitally with an online tool or by asking guests to contact you via phone.
- Preparations: Last but not least, inform guests if they need to prepare anything for the reception. For example, you might ask for them to bring a photo of the deceased or prepare a few words to share.
All of the above are important to keep in mind no matter what type of reception you plan to have. Now, let’s share some key wording examples to spark your inspiration.
Funeral Reception Invitation Wording Examples
Because finding the right words to invite guests to this important reception can be difficult, we did the hard work for you. These wording examples are perfect no matter the situation.
Feel free to use any of these invitation phrases to use for your own event. They’re also easy to customize and adapt as needed.
- For a non-religious reception
“The family of Sharon Smith requests the honor of your presence at a special reception after the funeral. Close friends and family will gather at the Smith home directly following the funeral service until 5 pm. Light refreshments will be served. Please let us know if you’re able to attend by contacting Suzie Smith at 555-555-5555.”
- For a Jewish reception
“Please join the Smith Family in a small reception following the funeral service of Joseph Smith. We will gather for light refreshments, prayers, and stories in the Marrigold Synagogue reception hall immediately after the service.”
- For a Buddhist reception
“In loving memory of Kan Samsara, the surviving family members invite you to a celebration of his life after the funeral service. Immediate family will gather at the home of Marv Samsara for prayers, food, and laughter as we remember Kan’s life. Please contact Marv to RSVP.”
- For a Christian reception
“We are gathering at Marigold Church immediately after the memorial service to honor James Smith. We will enjoy food, drink, and prayer in honor of James’ life and legacy from 2 pm to 6 pm. We hope to see you there.”
- For a Muslim reception
“The Smith family invites you to join in a small, intimate celebration in honor of Susan Smith. Though she’s gone, she will never be forgotten. A reception will be held after the graveside service at 6 pm. Please bring food and drink to share, as well as stories about Susan’s life. To RSVP, contact Farah Smith at 555-555-5555.”
- For a Sikh reception
“The Ahuja family invites you to join the family in prayer in honor of Harp Ahuja. The family will gather at the Ahuja residence on April 10, 2020 at 4 pm. Light refreshments will be served.”
- For a Hindu reception
“The honor of your company is requested on June 1, 2020 from 2 pm to 4 pm to honor the life of Nadia Parth. We hope you can join for food, drink, and stories after the morning funeral service. Please contact Kari Parth to RSVP at 555-555-5555. The family looks forward to sharing this celebration of life with you.”
- For a celebration of life reception
“To honor the life of Mary Smith, we are gathering after the memorial service at Marigold Park from 2 pm to 4 pm. This was her favorite park, and we will be celebrating her memory. Please bring your best stories about Mary as well as your appetite because small appetizers and drinks will be served. Please let us know via email if you’re coming by contacting Jessica.”
- For a large reception
“The family and friends of Margaret Jane invite all memorial guests to a large reception. From 3 pm to 6 pm in the church garden, there will be light refreshments and drinks. No RSVP is required.”
- For a small reception
“The immediate family of Daniel Andrew is invited to honor his life and legacy at the Andrew home after the memorial service. Please contact Moriah Andrew for details.”
Honor the Deceased with an Informal Reception
While the funeral is the first opportunity to say your goodbyes to someone you love who you’ve lost, it’s not the only opportunity. An informal reception with close loved ones is another powerful form of remembrance. Sometimes even more meaningful than a formal memorial service, this is a chance to gather with those you love to share food, drinks, and memories.
There is no easy way through grief. It’s something that must be experienced, and it’s easiest to handle these challenging feelings when you’re surrounded by those you love and trust the most. To invite your loved ones to an after-funeral reception, use the simple wording above.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, you have more than just the funeral and reception to think about. Handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.