Home > Funeral Arrangements > Hosting the Wake

Hosting the Wake

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 30 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Wake viewing funeral hosting A Wake

A wake or a time in which family and friends can come together either before or after a funeral, is a chance for many people to draw or offer support as needed. Sometimes a wake is called a viewing and is conducted at a funeral home before the funeral, but will then continue on in a private home after the graveside service. When this gathering occurs immediately after a funeral it may also be called a reception, regardless of whether or not it is a formal event.

Hosting the Wake before a Funeral

A wake or viewing that is conducted before a funeral is a chance for others to gather and pay their last respects with the deceased’s body present. Traditionally such wakes were held in the home, where the body would be laid out in a place of honour, but today most wakes take place in a funeral home where the body is kept in preparation for the funeral. Wakes that are held at funeral homes are very often easier for family members as there is not as much preparation involved. Funeral cards, tissues and donated flowers should be on display in the room where the body is resting, and family members should try to station themselves near the coffin as well as around the funeral home so that they can help direct guests through the viewing line. A guestbook is also a good idea as it allows guests a place to express their thoughts and also acts as a natural starting point for the viewing line. The guestbook will also be beneficial after the funeral as it will allow family members to easily send out thank you cards to those who attended and/or sent donations.

Hosting the Wake after a Funeral

If the wake is to continue after a funeral there should be a designated location for the gathering and this information should be communicated either generally to all who are in attendance, such as through an announcement after the service or at the graveside, or discreetly to only those family and friends who would benefit from the event. If this is the case, a more general announcement that there will not be an open reception may be appropriate. Simply thanking everyone for attending and advising them that the family will need to be alone should be fine.

Depending on the anticipated size of the wake, the location is important. Make sure that there is enough room for everyone to circulate freely and enough seats for those who will need them. Food and drink are usually served at wakes, though by no means does it need to be fancy. A few platters from a local supermarket or even a buffet with contributions from several family members should be fine. Any pictures or mementos that were displayed at the funeral home or during the funeral can be displayed during this time as well.

Emotions often run high at wakes, so limiting the amount of alcohol served may be advisable. Several family members should also be on guard to watch out for particularly emotional guests or what may be the beginning of an argument. People do things while they are grieving that they might never do otherwise, so do not be shocked if something out of the ordinary does occur.

Hosting the wake will never be a fun task, but it can be made bearable if the funeral home and family pitch in. Wakes should be tailored to honour the deceased, so anything that (s)he would have approved of – and that is allowed in public buildings or private homes – may be included.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Gilly
    Re: Inheriting Property
    Hi my mum has not long passed away and in her will she left me everything including the house which I lived in as well as her carer. I have…
    27 May 2017
  • FacingBereavement
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    Eldest.child - Your Question:Hi my mom died in 2009, I moved out of family home when I started my own family and my youngest brother…
    26 May 2017
  • Scared
    Re: Inheriting Property
    I lived with my grandmother for several years before she passed now the hospital wants to sell the house to pay bills that me and my whole…
    26 May 2017
  • Eldest.child
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    Hi my mom died in 2009, I moved out of family home when I started my own family and my youngest brother also moved out years ago, my…
    24 May 2017
  • Cat
    Re: The Stages of Grief
    My dad just passed away 3 week ago, I was with him when he died. Everyone asks how I feel and I feel nothing! I thought that sorting funeral…
    23 May 2017
  • FacingBereavement
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    Jlaura - Your Question:My mam has passed away and my step dad, which had left my mam and had been having an affair, but they are still…
    23 May 2017
  • Beez84
    Re: Inheriting Property
    My father recently passed away and he owned a house with his partner not married he payed towards the mortgage each month and paid the deposit…
    22 May 2017
  • Beez84
    Re: Inheriting Property
    Hi My dad has just passed away and he lived with his partner not married and they owned a house but his name was not ok the mortgage but he…
    22 May 2017
  • FacingBereavement
    Re: How Grief Affects Your Relationships
    Seanda - Your Question:My mom died in a very tragic car accident March 20th my husband really dont understand how I feel…
    22 May 2017
  • Jlaura
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    My mam has passed away and my step dad, which had left my mam and had been having an affair, but they are still married he is next of…
    22 May 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the FacingBereavement website. Please read our Disclaimer.