Organising a Wake: 5 Things You Need to Consider

Funerals allow you to commemorate the life of your loved one with family and friends. This is why many choose to hold a memorial service after the funeral. It’s a less formal environment wherein mourners get the chance to support each other and share stories and memories of someone you cared about.

Today’s wakes vary, ranging from casual potlucks in the family home to full sit-down meals at a banquet hall. The reception can be as simple or as sophisticated as you like, depending on your budget, the guests, your preferences and the request of your loved one before they passed.

All-inclusive funeral director packages may include reception services as well, from booking the venue to creating the program. You can also organise the wake yourself, considering these following aspects.

  1. Where should you hold the wake?

You can hold the funeral reception anyplace, as long as it can comfortably accommodate your guests. If you’re planning to invite a large number of people, it may be better to rent an event space, such as a social club or banquet hall, instead of having it in your home. This ensures the quality of service, the comfort of your guests and your convenience.

The most common venues for funeral receptions are hotel banquet halls, sports clubs, social clubs, church halls and even pubs.

Remember to book the venue in advance and keep in mind the critical details, such as corkage fees, catering, decoration and time frame, among others. Inform your guests of the location and give directions, so they know how to get there.

  1. Who usually attends a wake?

Some guests catch up to the wake if they missed the funeral, and some choose to skip the reception and just attend the burial.

You can place a funeral and wake announcement through a Funeral Guide obituary if you can’t remember all the people who may want to commemorate the life of your loved one.

Others prefer to make the memorial service a private event. In this case, you can send out invitations to close friends and family members.

funeral wake

  1. What do you serve at the reception?

Some venues provide the catering for your event, so remember to ask beforehand. Most of them are flexible with food allergies and diets. Notify the caterer ahead if you have any food-specific requests.

A potluck is a more casual and cost-conscious approach if you’re holding the wake at home. You can ask the guests to bring sandwich platters or other party-sized dishes.

  1. Is it OK to serve alcohol?

Funeral rites may include a toast in honour of your late loved one. But most of the time, drinking is not traditional for funeral services, especially in certain venues, such as church halls.

If your wake will be held in a pub, a drink or two is usually acceptable. But the guests are still expected to act thoughtfully since it’s a sombre event.

  1. Should there be a program?

Sometimes, family members or friends offer a song in honour of the person who passed. Picture slideshows or home videos are also popular in memorial services, showing the guests a brief flashback of the life of your loved one. Most venues offer the equipment necessary for these presentations.

If you’re having the wake at home, a simple sharing of stories over food and drinks should be suffice.

Although melancholic, wakes present the chance to look back on the life of your loved one with pleasant feelings. A memorial service allows friends and family to say their goodbyes before they begin a new chapter in their lives without their beloved.

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