At the end of the service, the guests usually wait for the family to leave the venue first.

If the service is being held in a chapel at a cemetery or crematorium, it may be that there is another service following shortly afterwards.  If this is the case, the amount of time available to speak to guests will be limited, and the funeral directors will request people to move to another area away from the chapel.

If you are having refreshments either at the same venue or another location, it is a good idea to ask the celebrant/clergy conducting the service to make an announcement during the service and/or print the details on the service booklets.

If a burial is to follow the service, the celebrant/clergy conducting the service will announce if guests are invited to attend the burial site, or if they can wait for the family at the refreshments venue.

If you are travelling in a funeral procession (referred to as a cortege), the funeral directors will wait for the family cars to gather behind the hearse before leaving for the cemetery.

You should turn your headlights on and keep a close but safe distance from the car in front, allowing for an adequate braking distance. Everyone in the procession should travel at the same speed. These signals should help other road users to identify your vehicle as part of the cortege.

Refreshments After the Service

Refreshments after a funeral service can be a time for family and friends to share memories.

If you have arranged for refreshments after the service, you may gather together at the service venue, or you may move on to another location.  If there are a large number of guests, families sometimes will have an hour of refreshments for all guests, followed by a more intimate gathering for close family members at home or at a different location.

Regardless of what arrangements you have made, you should keep in mind that you will most likely be feeling tired and overwhelmed by the day’s proceedings.  It is important to look after yourself at this time, so find comfortable seating, try to eat and drink a little to keep your energy levels up, and don’t hesitate to tell people if you need some time alone to gather your composure.

Don’t feel obliged to stay longer than is necessary, if you are struggling to cope.  Guests will understand your reasons, and they will continue to share stories and mingle after you have gone.

If you are concerned about having to order more catering or payment afterwards, ask another family member or friend to look after this for you.

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