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Choosing the Right Caterer for the Funeral of Someone You Love: A Guide for Families

Losing someone you love is undoubtedly one of life's most challenging experiences, and amidst the grief, there are numerous decisions to be made. A dear friend once told me that organising a funeral was like having to organise a wedding… with only a few days to do it.  But having the right people in your corner can spread the organisational burden and lessen the exhaustion at this difficult time.

An essential aspect of funeral planning, often overlooked until the last moment, is arranging the wake or reception following the service. People readily gather over food, and your friends and family will want to celebrate the life of someone they love, as well as support you as you grieve.  Selecting the right caterer for this occasion can alleviate stress and ensure that the event honours your loved one's memory with dignity and care.

Understanding Your Needs

Before diving into the selection process, take some time as a family to consider your specific needs and preferences. Are you envisioning a formal sit-down meal, a more relaxed buffet-style function, or perhaps a morning or afternoon tea with a selection of light refreshments?  Consider where you’d like to hold the wake. For instance, you might choose a church hall or a community centre close to where the funeral service is being held, or you may be more comfortable in the home of a family member or close friend. 

It is often very difficult to determine how many people will attend.  If your loved one was a member of a faith community, talk to the pastoral staff for some guidance on numbers.  They will have a sense of how many parishioners are likely to attend which can provide you with a good starting point.  In most instances a best guess is all that is required to get started with the planning.

Researching Potential Caterers

When researching potential caterers, focus on those with experience in catering for funerals specifically. Look for testimonials or reviews from previous clients that speak to their professionalism, compassion, and ability to accommodate special requests. Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, church pastors or ministers or funeral directors can also be valuable.

Contacting Potential Caterers

Once you've compiled a list of potential funeral caterers, contact them by phone or, if you’d prefer to meet in person, schedule a meeting to discuss your needs in more detail. Use this opportunity to ask questions about their menu options, pricing, and any additional services they offer. A compassionate and attentive caterer will listen carefully to your wishes and offer guidance to help create a meaningful and personalised menu for your event.

Customising the Menu

Every wake is unique, and the menu can reflect the personality and preferences of your loved one. Whether they had a favourite dish or enjoyed a particular cuisine, incorporating these elements into the menu can add a personal touch to the event. Additionally, consider any dietary restrictions or cultural traditions that may need to be accommodated.  If you’re not aware of the dietary requirements of your guests, ask your caterer to provide some options for the most common dietary requirements as part of their package.  That way you can feel confident that all guests feel welcome and comfortable.

Ensuring Professionalism and Reliability

On the day of the funeral, you will have enough to think about without being concerned about the catering. You'll want to entrust the catering responsibilities to a team that is professional, reliable, and respectful of the solemnity of the occasion. Choose a caterer who arrives on time, sets up discreetly, and attends to guests with warmth and empathy.  A good caterer will ensure that their preparation will not disturb the service.  If both service and refreshments are to occur in the same space, the caterer should arrive early enough to complete their tasks prior to the service beginning.  Their ability to handle logistics seamlessly will allow you to focus on honouring your loved one and supporting your family members during this difficult time.


In summary, selecting the right caterer for the funeral of someone you love is a significant decision that can have a profound impact on the overall experience for you and your guests. By taking the time to research, communicate your needs, and collaborate with a compassionate and experienced caterer, you can create a meaningful and memorable farewell and allows you to celebrate the life and legacy of the person you love.

If we can provide support for you at this difficult time, please don't hesitate to get in touch. More information on our funeral catering packages can be found here.