Deidre Blair of Final Reflections, shares some oft-overlooked considerations when creating a after-funeral reception with a buffet-style serving setup:

A funeral home employee set up this space to accommodate 75 guests for a post-funeral gathering.  This photo shows you what not to do when setting up a gathering in your home.  

If you feed more than 35 people, there should be two lines for guests to go through the buffet.  In this photo there is only one line and the guests will block the empty chairs while waiting in line for food.

This is a buffet lunch, meaning the guest serve themselves.  The server is taking up precious space behind the serving table.  He should be out in the dining area assisting the elderly with their plates or clearing dirty dishes. 

There should be low tables in a room this small.  High top tables make it more difficult to move about.  There are too many different table heights in the space.  The table linen on the high top table is too short, thus exposing the metal legs.  The vases on the table are out of scale.  A low container with billowing flowers would be more appropriate.

There are two high windows which you can not see in this photo.  The artificial lighting speaks loudly in this room without the tiny candle votives on the table.  Candles should not be lit in the daylight.  The arrangements, in the left hand corner of this photo, are too clustered.  The arrangements should be scattered around the room. 

The shiny damask linen on the table is too formal for this daytime gathering.  A single linen is plenty.  An underlay and overlay for this gathering looks terrible.

I was asked to create seating for 75 guests in the same room.  I focused on the deceased passion.  He was a gardener and loved sunflowers.  I took small vases, places natural color rocks in the bottom of the vase.  I put one sunflower in each vase.   

I placed the silverware and napkins at the table, giving the guest one less thing to carry from the buffet table.  You cannot see the buffet table, but it is in an L-shape.  I set up the buffet near the entrance door.  Guest approached the table from both sides making the waiting time seconds instead of minutes to get their food.  

The clean lines and simplicity of this table setting makes the room more spacious and attractive.

  A widow at 36, Deidre sought out a different type of service to commemorate her late husband.  Drawing on her skills as owner of Awesome Events, Deidre created a memorable early morning golf course service, complete with memorial items attached to golf cart steering wheels and lunch in the clubhouse.

Deidre brings her knowledge of event planning to the funeral industry with Final Reflections, a service designed to help funeral directors more effectively serve families after the interment or cremation.  You can visit her blog or call Deidre at 866-254-6691.