As people approach end of life celebrations with more thought, the food and beverages being served are becoming an increasingly important element in the overall design of a Great Goodbye. The best approach? Take your cue from the lifestyle and personality of the one your saying farewell to, and the people who have gathered to say goodbye. Consider special elements that the venue might bring (a boat shed, the beach, a formal setting) and work to any other themes or ideas that seem appropriate.
When it comes to catering the best advice is to get plenty of help. Like any event, it’s easy to get overwhelmed; even more so when funerals bring a heightened level of anxiety and stress. It’s probably why until now catering has taken a back seat, and hospitality has been consigned to vats of tea and mini quiches.
Like so much of what makes for a Great Goodbye, the devil is in the detail. The more personal your prepared to get the more likely you’ll have something that leaves a lasting impression. After all, isn’t that ultimately what you’re aiming for in the finale of your loved ones life? And by no means does it mean having to spend up large. Some of the most wonderful send offs were grounded in the simplest ideas. Imagine the simplicity of fish and chip parcels on the lawn, while the kids run around and the adults share stories in the comfort of each others company as the sun goes down. Formal isn’t necessarily better. If he was a beer and burger kind of guy then going super formal won’t ring true.
At Great Goodbyes, we’ve done the leg work to find some incredible venues for hosting the service and/or the after function or wake. Some come with their own wonderful catering, and that can make life easy at a time when there will be a lot going on. Simply place yourself in the caterers capable hands. There are other venues who welcome you doing your own thing and you can arrange your own catering in whatever form suits you best.
Wherever you’re hosting, here are a few ideas to get you started:
If a BBQ fits in with the setting and the mood, fire it up. If it’s a large crowd then get several people working the grill.
Think about a food truck to handle the catering. There couldn’t be a simpler solution. It could be themed to a particular cuisine such as tacos or pizza. You might book a coffee truck for the end of a graveside service. What about a licensed food truck mixing cocktails at your home?
If a picnic on the lawn, or the sand is fitting, spread the blankets, then add lanterns, wine and song. Rug up up against the chill as night sets in. Think about how you might transport everyone to and from the venue and let everyone know to dress casually and bring something warm.
Professional caterers can remove a great deal of stress. Anything from a lamb on the spit to an elegant sit-down affair can be easily arranged. Work to your Great Goodbye theme.
Was she a champagne kind of girl? Ask guests to bring a special bottle and toast the night away as stories are shared. Save a few bottles and remember her all over again 12 months later.
If there a favourite tipple of an Irish or Scottish nature in his history It would be rude not to break out a dram or two. Add the bagpipes to go in all in with your theme.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You can work to ideas using favourite foods and ask friends and family to get busy in their kitchens.
If there is family china and silver that’s been handed down through the generations, lay the tables to create something personal and special.
Create a talking point with place mats or table clothes printed with photographs.