A gathering after the funeral may be an informal affair where a meal is provided for close family and friends. At other times, there is a formal memorial service where people reminisce about good memories of the deceased. An informal affair does not need an invitation. People are typically informed at the end of the funeral service that they can gather for a meal at the church or the family's home. However, a memorial service requires an invitation. Writing this invitation while you're in the middle of the grieving process can be a challenge. There are a few tips that will make it easier to complete the wording.
Gather all the information guests will need to attend the memorial gathering. Details should include who the gathering is for, when it will be held, where it will be located and anything the guests should bring. For example, guests might bring a favorite photo with the deceased loved one, a favorite memory to share or a funny story. Also include a contact person and telephone number in case guests have a hard time finding the gathering place or have questions. A close family friend is an excellent choice to serve as the contact person.
Make the invitation personal. Add a favorite Bible scripture that the person being remembered enjoyed. Share a quote from that person that most people will remember. Humorous quotes are fine if that is the spirit of the gathering. However, if the gathering is meant to be serious and reverential, match the quote to suit that mood. Another idea is to include a short memory of the deceased, such as, "Come help us remember Bob's kindness, like when he bought presents for the Miller children last Christmas."
Choose formal or informal wording. If you want a serious affair, then stick to formal wording. Write, "The honor of your presence is requested at a memorial service for Bob Smith on September 8." However, if the gathering is informal, write, "Join the family on September 8 to remember Bob Smith. We'll have a pitch-in meal, and the family would like everyone to share a funny memory about Bob."
Indicate whether there will be food. Include a short note at the bottom of the invitation about whether there will be food and if it will be a meal or refreshments only. This will allow guests to prepare and eat beforehand or offer to bring a dish and help out. If the invitation is only for close family and friends, it is appropriate to ask people to bring a side dish if they would like.
Decide who to invite. Keep the gathering intimate and invite only immediate family, or branch out and invite everyone who knew the deceased loved one. People to consider inviting are friends, neighbors, co-workers, extended family members (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.), pastor, church members and members of organizations the person was involved in.
- Include a response or reminder card to find out how many are attending the memorial service.
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