This month I was asked to help arrange a funeral along with the family luncheon for someone in our ward. It was actually a beautiful way to serve and things turned out well. Just in case the opportunity arises again, I thought I'd record some sites I found that were helpful. (See below.)
The internet is a fantastic resource, but I also pulled out the funeral program for my grandmother's funeral to give me ideas. It's a blessing to be able to assign yourself to be the organist, because the hardest task was figuring out the music, particularly the musical number. This program included "How Great Thou Art" for the opening hymn and "The Lord is My Shepherd" for the closing hymn (chosen by the widow because they were her husband's favorite hymns). Family members read a couple of scriptures, gave the life sketch, and shared a poem. After some friends sang "Each Life that Touches Ours for Good" (an arrangement by our good friend Ross Farnworth), the bishop spoke. The actual service was only 30 - 40 minutes long, one of the shortest I've ever been to, but it was beautiful and met its purpose.
We were planning on 60 family members for the luncheon and 59 came. Sybil did a great job of estimating, don't you think?
Some of the things that worked out great were to use tablecloths instead of paper or nothing. I think that was important to me because I remember un-covered tables at the family luncheon after my grandmother's funeral. They're just not pretty, although they are practical, especially with a lot of little children. However, unlike for my grandmother, for this family only the widow was a member of the church; none of the relatives were. I felt we needed to leave a good impression. Fortunately, I think we succeeded.
We wanted centerpieces as well for the same reason. Simple is good, and there were some plastic vases with fake flowers in the Relief Society closet. With some fabric squares from my stash at home they did the job.
I read somewhere to put rolls and butter on the individual tables, instead of the serving table, and that was a great idea. If someone's really hungry, they don't have to wait for the line to form. In addition to pitchers of water, we also put the eating utensils, napkins and cups at each table so they wouldn't need three hands to carry things. Only the dinner plates were on the serving table. We also followed the suggestion to have the cakes on a different table, with room to place plates of cut pieces nearby.
We had the traditional menu of ham, potato casserole, green salad with dressing, rolls and cake, and the estimates below are pretty good. For 60 people, we used 2 Costco hams (10# each), 4 9x13" pans of potatoes, 14# of lettuce with 2# of grape tomatoes and a bag of croutons, 2 16-oz bottles of salad dressing, 1 pound of butter, 9 dozen rolls and 4 9x13" cakes. It actually turned out to be the perfect amount - we didn't run out of food, but we didn't have leftovers coming out of our ears either.
It was a long day, although not quite as long as a wedding day, and I was grateful that Wayne was happy to come along to help. The checklist should have a reminder to wear comfortable shoes! Don't forget to have someone open the building for the funeral home people (although I guess that isn't normally part of the luncheon committee responsibility). Just for future reference, we arrived at 10:30 to make copies of the program and practice the musical number. The service started at noon. The family arrived back from the cemetery around 1:30 and we were finished with clean-up around 3:30. Lots of hands really do make the work light.
Here are a couple of the resources I used, Mormon Share and LDS Women, and here's the checklist for the family luncheon (or repast as our Sybil called it):