Make a guest list

Once the details of the service have been determined, it's time to decide who will be invited.

Invitations can vary widely, depending upon the circumstances of the deceased and preferences of the surviving family. In some cases, it may be restricted only to close family, and in others it may be publicly open to the entire community.

Invite those with whom the deceased or surviving family has a relationship, and would want to provide support. Often guests include:

  • Close and extended family members
  • Close and more casual friends
  • Co-workers, members of social clubs and community organizations

If attendance is an issue, it may help to hold more than one in-person gathering. For example, you may want to restrict the funeral to only close friends and family, but invite the larger community to a memorial service afterwards. Or, provide a virtual alternative to in-person attendance by streaming the funeral online.

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know To help streamline communication and notify many people at once, create a free Memorial website from Autumn.

Share the link in an email or text, and friends and family will receive updates whenever information is added. Include information about any post-funeral event on the Memorial website.

Additionally, the Memorial website will allow you to:

  • Share event details and other important information
  • Manage RSVPs and condolence gifts
  • Request support for everyday activities
  • Share messages, photos and videos, and collect more from friends

You can create as many events as needed, and guests can RSVP to each respectively.

If certain events are limited to certain guests, feel comfortable also stating this in the Memorial website. During this time friends and family will respect any wishes you or the surviving family have.

Helpful Tips

When considering who and how many guests to invite, it's important to consider not only inter-personal relationships, but logistics as well.

Some examples include:

  • Attendance capacity of the venue
  • Tradition and customs may limit or increase the circle of individuals expected to attend
  • Whether all or only specific attendees will be invited to any post-memorial activity
  • COVID-19 requirements, if applicable

Once these have been considered, it's also important to consider how a guest list may impact details of the event itself.

Some examples include:

  • Amount of food and beverage needed
  • If additional event support staff is needed
  • Any additional transportation requirements


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