Author Topic: Funeral A/B List (Update Post 107)  (Read 11797 times)

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Figgie

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Funeral A/B List (Update Post 107)
« on: June 07, 2013, 04:01:45 PM »
I really don't need advice, as this is family and we must attend the wake/funeral for family reasons.  But in all of the funerals I've ever attended, I've never seen this particular situation and I did wonder if anyone else here on Ehell had run into it.

My spouse's uncle (husband of his father's sister) died.  The funeral will be on Monday at their church.  The wake is one hour prior to the funeral.  So, the wake is at 6 p.m., the funeral at 7 p.m. and then a drive across a metro area for the graveside service at the cemetery.  Yes, this will most likely be in the dark, but I'm not the one planning this. :)

We will be at all of the above.  The timing is the way it is because my spouse's aunt didn't want to provide a meal.  However, my spouse got a phone call from his aunt telling him that we are invited to a meal in a restaurant after the graveside service but not to tell anyone else since not everyone was being invited.

I've never had this happen before.  Either there is a meal or there isn't and I've never been invited (maybe I've always been on the "B" list and didn't know it)  :)  to a meal after a funeral that didn't include everyone who attended the funeral.

Oh well...as my spouse said, we are just observers, not participants and it will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially since I doubt very much if people won't just ask other people if they are coming to the restaurant after the graveside service.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2013, 05:33:27 PM by Figgie »

MrTango

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2013, 04:08:52 PM »
I don't see this as an A/B List situation at all.

Funerals are not social gatherings*, so much as they are an opportunity for the bereaved to pay their respects to the person who died.  The dinner after the funeral is a social event hosted by your spouse's aunt, who is well within her rights to invite or not invite whoever she chooses.

With that said, it seems to me that she's trying to communicate that the family dinner after the gravesite service isn't part of the funeral itself, so she doesn't want people who are attending the funeral to (incorrectly) assume that they are invited to the restaurant too.

*I've never been "invited" to a funeral, and I feel that one doesn't need to receive an invitation in order to decide to attend.  It's usually an event open to the public.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 04:10:27 PM by MrTango »

Sharnita

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2013, 04:14:32 PM »
Mixed feelings.  In general I would say that I give grieving family a break.  However, when people make the effort to attend a funeral, especially in a case where they might be doing it after a long work day, it seems like the gracious thing to do would be to include them in dinner.  Nobbody says it has to be big/fancy/expensive.

WillyNilly

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 04:17:16 PM »
I don't think this sounds off at all. Some funerals have meals some don't. Sometimes they are in a family member's home, sometimes they are in a restaurant. Sometimes everyone is invited, sometimes only close friends and close family are invited. And as often as not when there is no 'part of the funeral' dinner, private groups of attendees will break off on their own for dinner. You have been invited to either to the funeral dinner as a close family member, or to break off to a private dinner at a funeral where there is no formal dinner as part of the service.

Its unreasonable to think the grieving family shoudl always be expected to host every funeral attendee to a meal - I have never ever heard of funeral where food was provided offsite but people weren't specifically invited to partake in it. Sometimes its a general invite "mourners are invited..." during the service, sometimes its a private invite, but its always by invite only.

lkdrymom

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 04:18:57 PM »
I think there are alot of factors involved.  When my mom died we invited anyone who attended the graveside service to lunch.  When my cousin's husband died I saw at least 20 of his son's friends at the luncheon.

While I was dating DH2 his mom passed. There were only about 10 people at the graveside service.  I am not sure why they did not invite everyone out to lunch, but they only invited 4 others to come. Turns out others who attended the service decided to stop at the same restaurant we were at which was very awkward.  All ended eating together then one of the nephews paid for the lunch for everyone. DH and BIL did not know this under after nephew left. They were upset by this. I was embarassed that they did not invite everyone (mom left them enough not to worry about buying lunch for a large group).

On the other hand this week my son's friend died. You can imagine the turnout for a 17 year old. Could not expect to invite everyone in that case.

TootsNYC

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 04:28:30 PM »
I always thought that the default was that the FAMILY had a meal. And that not everybody who attended the service was family.

I always assume that unless I'm close family, I don't go to the meal. Especially not if it's at a *restaurant*. It's one thing if the meal is at the church; I might expect it to be more inclusive. But even then, I don't assume that I'm included if I'm a work colleague or a social friend, unless I see other indicators.

And even when my mother's church hosted a soup potluck after her funeral, the minister made it a point to announce that everyone was invited.

But a restaurant gathering, to me, is invite-only.

Because nobody gets invited to the funeral; that's usually open to all.

So there is not an "A" list to the funeral. It's not like a wedding. There's NO list for the funeral. There's not etiquette for inviting anybody to a funeral--look in the books. No format, etc.

I think your aunt is completely within the bounds of propriety, and it's a good thing she mentioned this to you so that you don't proceed using assumpions from previous events.

Sharnita

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 04:32:56 PM »
Toots, that might be a regional thing.  Around here the family might provide the meal but in most cases all attendees are welcome to te meal.  Of course, family might make up 25% or more of the attendees depending on the situation but the plan there is usually food for everyone.

In the OP's case, the timing particularly strikes me.  It sounds like many people would go right after work, which would mean they would miss an opportunity to get/prepare supper on their own.

Figgie

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 04:37:14 PM »
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.
 

AngelicGamer

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2013, 04:40:46 PM »
They do get invited to a funeral if it is a closed funeral at a funeral home due to not wanting a church service.  With my grandmother's funeral, my mother and aunt didn't want to deal with my grandmother's friends.  They are lovely people but would have raised stinks about various grievances against us at the funeral itself which we did not need.  So we invited the family and a few (3) very close friends that my grandmother would have wanted there.  And yes, everyone came to the meal afterwards where we all had martinis in her honor.

As for the meal after the service, I've never seen it done that you don't get invited to the meal afterwards.  Even if it is at a restaurant, but there is a set menu and drinks.  It could be a regional thing (Midwest here) or just what the family wanted to do.




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Sharnita

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2013, 04:41:58 PM »
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.

It seems like asking for trouble because friends could say "hey, we are going to hit applebee's for a quick bite - do you want to join us?"  It puts you and all the other secret invitees in an awkward position.

jedikaiti

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2013, 04:42:25 PM »
My experience is that there usually isn't a meal with a funeral. Funerals aren't really hosted events with invitees, unless there is some reason to limit attendance. There is nothing to stop Joe Snowflake who didn't know the deceased or any of his family from walking in off the street and attending the funeral. Thus, going out for dinner afterwards isn't really an A/B list situation - it's more like the family going out for food and to catch up and odds are, nobody feels like cooking.

When my grandfather died, my family hosted an open house after the funeral, and anyone who wanted to could come by, but an actual meal was not served. There might have been some finger sandwiches, but it was nibblers and drinks in the afternoon. That's generally what I've seen at other funerals - maybe an open house, but not an actual meal.

The only time I've seen a meal was when DH's mom passed away, and the ladies at the church put together a pot luck in the church gym for everyone who came to the funeral.
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*inviteseller

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2013, 04:48:14 PM »
Maybe it is regional, but I have never gone to a funeral or memorial where there has not been some sort of gathering after, either at a home, restaurant, or the church.  When my nephew passed, the memorial was done after the evening viewing (started at 7) and after (so about 8 30) everyone was invited to the fire hall where my brother volunteers and the restaurant my nephew worked at catered a lovely feast (there was so many people that it was to be at brother's house but the fire hall had more room).  For my ex husband, the church put on a nice luncheon.(where my DD and I were invited but in no way welcomed and made to sit by ourselves in a corner  >:( )  Everyone is always invited and sometimes there are people who show up who couldn't make the funeral.  I see the meal after as a social event, as it is a group of people who have come together for a shared reason (remembering a loved one).   

Thipu1

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2013, 05:07:31 PM »
I don't see this as an A and B list situation.

  In our experience, the wake, funeral and burial of an ordinary person is a public affair.  Anyone who felt a connection to the deceased is welcome to attend.  During the wake or at the cemetery, close family members and close friends are invited to a meal.  The hairdresser who the deceased always asked for  would be very surprised to be invited to this sort of thing although she very well might drop in at the wake to offer condolences.   

Unless the person who has passed was very prominent in the community, there are never formal invitations to any of these things.  There usually just isn't time. 

Sharnita

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2013, 05:14:43 PM »
See, the priest/pastor/officuant usually announces the time and location of the lunch to everyone in the churc or funeral home around here.  They make it clear if it will be immediately after or after the cemetary.

NyaChan

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Re: Funeral A/B List
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2013, 05:32:21 PM »
It is standard to have a meal at the church after a funeral in this area.  My spouse's aunt already knows that she is breaking with tradition.  In fact she was upset with the funeral director for telling her that she needed to have the service either after or before a meal time, as it wasn't fair to expect people to show up and spend 1 - 2 1/2 hours immediately before meal time and then not provide some sort of hospitality.

I think what bothered me the most (thinking about it), is being called and told not to tell anyone else.  Almost as if she expected that we would be rude enough to discuss an invitation publicly without knowing whether or not someone else was invited.  Until we heard from her, I had just assumed no meal or immediate family only meal.


This is what I don't get - a funeral isn't a party or a celebration that you are asking people to come to for your own sake.  If someone comes, it is because the deceased meant enough to them to want to be present and mourn at their burial or they are there to support someone else.  You aren't doing the deceased family who is grieving for their loss some favor by showing up.   

ETA:  in our communities we will usually have some gathering after the burial that includes some snacks, maybe a meal.  I just don't see the serving of refreshments as an obligation or a fairness issue when it comes to holding a funeral service, especially when one can't necessarily control who shows up. 
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 05:36:16 PM by NyaChan »