Memorial Service Food

Memorial Service Food

Memorial Service Food - a Buffet

Memorial Service Food or refreshments are not always served at a Memorial Service; they are dependent on the timings of your service (for example a 10:00am to 11:00am service) food and or refreshments may not be expected by guests.  However, there is a trend and almost, an expectation to provide food and refreshments after the service.

There Are Guests, And Then There Are Other Guests
The host may invite certain guests after the service for sandwiches, lunch, afternoon tea, an evening meal or even to a party to Celebrate and finish the day off. Then there are guests that are not so close (work colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances etc.,) would not be invited on.  It is almost like being invited to the evening reception of a Wedding and not the Wedding Breakfast.

There is no right or wrong answer in what to do or to serve.

Influences of what to do can be:

•    The number of guests.
•    The time of day.
•    The closeness of the guests/attendees to the host.
•    What you the host, would really like to do and offer your guests.
•    The location.
•    The facilities you have to hand.
•    The budget.

Food and Catering Ideas

Following are just some food ideas or options for both venue and outdoor locations.

In alphabetical order:


BYO (Bring Your Own)
For ‘outside’ venues or locations, a picnic type service may be more of a practical idea.  People want to contribute and help; they may feel it is ‘something’ they can do to show their appreciation and love for the person that has passed away.

The food they bring may not be homemade, but shop bought.  This is fine.  It is the idea and the ‘togetherness’ that counts and shows real emotion and feeling.

Create a  ‘menu’ or list of what food, style, or theme of food you wish to have and then ask invited families, couples, individuals to bring something from that menu.  The logistics of bringing food to the venue or location would not be an issue as you would ask the preparers would bring their food with them.

For outdoor locations, tables, cutlery, glassware, napkins, bowls, plates and so forth would need to be organized and delegated to someone (with a checklist of what to bring).

Place the food (and drink) on a table or tables, guests can then, like at a wedding or birthday party buffet, help-them-selves.  Eco friendly disposable items (knives and forks, plates etc.,) would be appreciated by many.  It saves taking them back home and washing them! Don't forget rubbish bags.

With this style of catering, the costs can be shared if your budget is tight and there are too many guests to cater for yourself financially.

Catering Units, Mobile / Food Wagons
Depending on the guest numbers you are anticipating, there are dozens of different mobile catering  companies that are willing to pull-up outside your venue or where the service is to be held outdoors and serve their food from their catering hatch.  Negotiate a fee for their services and food. They are all open to negotiation. Don't take their first price!  It may a per head cost or a total overall fee.

There are as many types and styles of food available as there are catering units for hire in the UK.  The diversity and choice is simply huge.  

Here is a very small sample list of the types of catering / food services you could have:

  • Burgers
  • Caribbean
  • Chinese
  • Chocolate Fountain
  • Coffee
  • Cray Fish (Fresh scampi)
  • Crepes
  • Fish and Chips
  • Fish Bar
  • Donner Kebab
  • Doughnut
  • Game Food
  • Greek food
  • Gumbo / Southern American
  • Hot Chestnuts
  • Hot Dogs
  • Hog Roast
  • Indian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Mexican
  • Noodle Bar
  • Pizza
  • Popcorn
  • Sandwich bar
  • Sushi
  • Tex-Mex
  • Thai
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian

Outside Caterers
For venues with just a kitchen space or even nothing at all, an option could be to hire  outside caterers that prepare all the food and refreshments in their own kitchen. Bring it to the venue and serve your guests/attendees.  They may set-up portable ‘marquee’ outside with stoves and kitchen equipment in order to serve hot food.

The food can range from simple hors Oeuvres and ‘nibbles’ to complicated and elaborate meals. Talking with them, you will be able to arrange a menu that fits your bill and what you wish to have at the Memorial Service or afterwards. It does not have to be an expensive, elaborate or Michelin star.

Perhaps you have a favourite restaurant that you trust, enjoy, and would like to share the with the guests/attendees. The style of restaurant could be anything. Discuss a menu that you think would be applicable and acceptable. Discuss price, timings, availability and what they can do.

They might prepare the food (whatever it may be) at their restaurant and bring it to your venue or outside location.  The service you require could be  deliver-and-drop with you and your helpers serving and sorting out the logistics of serving or the restaurant may provide waiting staff, glass collectors and so forth. Restaurants are and can be flexible as most tend to be small operations with service being their main or number one goal.

Venue Catering
The venue may have their own kitchen you can use.   By simple planning and help from friends you may be able to cater for the attendees yourself. Providing you own food may be one of the cheapest options – but you will need able bodied hands to help and run things for you.

With Wholesalers such as:

  • Booker
  • Costco
  • Makro
  • and many other local cash-and-carry firms

There is plenty of scope to purchase large quantities at wholesale cost your Memorial Service Food. If you do not have a wholesaler account, ask around to find a friend, colleague or someone who has.  It can (apart from drink) save you a small fortune.


Venue Chef
If the Venue  has its own kitchen, there is a good chance they will or may have a chef and kitchen staff. Outline you ideas and what you would like when, they will be able to create a Menu or at least make suggestions as to what they can do to make the Memorial Service special and – memorable.


Venue Restaurant
The venue may be a Country House, Conference centre, hotel or even a restaurant. They may be able to lay-on a complete menu for you and your guests. They will more than likely look it as a ‘per head’ price. Negotiating what you would like, and the price you would like to pay may be a possibility. Most venues will 'negotiate a price'.

The venue will be able to supply waiting, serving and front-of-house staff should you wish it.  The type and style of venue will dictate the cost.

Memorial Service Food Summary

By Planning your own Memorial Service Food, be it calculating and purchasing it as well as serving it yourself or even negotiating with a venue, it can either save you a lot of money or you having exactly what you would like. Memorial Service Food is important to many.  It can be expected by some and not to others. Memorial Service Food all depends on the service, the venue, the location and what you have in mind. There is no right or wrong answer or solution.


Let's move on to SECTION SEVEN - The Invitation


Sections to The Ultimate and Complete Memorial Service Guide:

Section ONE - The Basics
Section TWO - The Logistics
Section THREE - The Room
Section FOUR - Equipment
Section FIVE - The Bar
Section SIX - Catering and Food
Section SEVEN - The Invitation
Section EIGHT - The Service
Section NINE - Decorations
Section TEN - Give-away, Take-Aways and Afterwards
Section ELEVEN - Memorial Service Summary