8 Creative Funeral Reception Ideas


When a loved one dies, it’s natural to want to honor them in a special way. Many families come to Krause Funeral Homes to plan a funeral or memorial service – yet more and more Milwaukeeans are discovering they want to continue the tribute after the funeral is over.

At Krause, we have a team of experts to plan receptions, and have seen time and time again how gathering to share food, stories, and memories adds so much to a final farewell. Our facilities in Milwaukee, Brookfield, and New Berlin make holding a reception easier than ever. We have room for a crowd, can provide whatever food you have in mind, and our state license permits us to offer wine and beer. Families tell us they appreciate not having to find a restaurant to accommodate a large group, or host at home during such a difficult time.

Over the years, our staff has taken part in hundreds of receptions and we know how much it means when personal details are included. Here, we’ve gathered a handful of our favorite ideas to make an important day even more special.

1. Certainly, serving a loved one’s favorite food or drink in their honor is meaningful, but you can add a touch of fun by filling centerpiece bowls with a favorite type of candy and placing them on each table. Think of an aunt who always kept hard candies in her purse, or your grandma who never failed to have a large bag of M&Ms on hand – mostly because she couldn’t resist snacking on them. It’s these little details that can bring a smile to people’s faces when it’s most needed.

2. This idea may not be conventional, but setting out a life-sized cardboard cut-out of your loved one can add an unexpected yet dynamic personal touch – and become a beloved memento. This requires a high-resolution photo and you can take it a step further by using a photo of your loved one from their youth, perhaps when they served in the military or on their wedding day. This type of centerpiece always spurs conversation, which is a step toward healing for those in attendance.

3. Ask guests to write down favorite stories to place in a memory jar, which can then be read aloud during the reception.

4. Decorate a memory tree set up in your loved one’s honor. This miniature tree with many small branches can be real or artificial. Guests can write a story, memory, or word of encouragement on a paper tag and affix it to the branches. Not only does this provide a stunning decoration, but the family can take the tree home to read the messages in the days that follow.

5. Music at a funeral can deeply affect those who are grieving, and featuring a playlist of a loved one’s favorite songs at the reception takes this one step further. Really, the possibilities are endless. Maybe your grandpa served in the military and took great pride in the song honoring his branch of the armed forces. Playing this piece – or other songs suited to your loved one – is a beautiful way to honor their life.

6. Because Krause is the first funeral home in Wisconsin to obtain a state license to offer in-house catering facilities, many families enjoy giving a toast to their loved one with a favorite wine or beer.

7. A message in a bottle display is a lovely way to give guests the opportunity to express their love and support. Set out a decorative bottle and small slips of paper. This piece is sure to become a wonderful memory of the person who meant so much to so many.

8. Similar to the message in the bottle, a stone memory station is another way to encourage guests to share a story, quote, or even a picture about their loved one. Set out a sign with instructions, along with a permanent marker and smooth, flat stones. The family can then keep the rocks at home or even place them in their yard or garden.

Our goal at Krause Funeral Homes is to help you tell your loved one’s story in the most meaningful way possible. Even when circumstances feel difficult, and you’re unsure about having a gathering, know we are here to help every step of the way. These details add so much, and with the help of our team of experts, the options are nearly endless. Contact us with questions or to get started planning a funeral to remember.

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