How do we contain the numbers at a memorial service in our church? My husband died and a good friend is hosting a dinner reception after the service, which will take place in three weeks.
The problem is this. The restaurant can only accommodate so many people, because of the strict fire code. My apartment is too small. Relatives and friends are coming from other states, our children’s friends will feel they have to attend, and everyone will expect to be invited to some sort of reception afterwards, which I cannot afford to host.
–N.W., Providence, RU
In other words, making a memorial service private.
Even if an obituary of your husband has already appeared in your local paper, take out a paid obituary announcing your husband’s death and stating that there will be a ‘private memorial service,’ ‘private family memorial service’ or simply use, Memorial Service Private.
Let the church know the service is private and by invitation only. The church should be able to rope off the nave (the main area) of the church for invited mourners.
The officiate should NOT announce the reception following the service.
Mourners who were not personally invited to the memorial service will sit in the areas of the church not roped off. Most likely the aisles (the sides of the church that run along the nave) and the transept (the area that crosses the nave near the top of the church).
You cannot keep mourners out of the church, but you can delegate who sits where.
When there is no announcement or information in the memorial program about a reception, those not personally invited will pick up on the fact that the reception is private.
A memorial (funeral) invitation is a letter or card inviting the recipient to attend the memorial service (or funeral) to celebrate the life of the deceased. Written in a formal third person tone, it is sent immediately after the confirmation of the Memorial Service date, venue, and time. More recently, email letters and phone calls are used to rally the mourners.
The invitation may include an admittance card to the church, such as this:
to service for
Mr. John Douglas Wilson
Thursday, May twentieth, 2015
At five o’clock, P.M.
St. James Episcopal Church
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