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
  • Foamy
    Re: Questionnaire: Do You Need Bereavement Counselling?
    My husband died last year,I was already suffering from depression so when this happened,the bottom…
    24 September 2017
  • Polarbear
    Re: How Grief Affects Your Relationships
    Hi. I have a difficult one. My partner and I have been together about 5 years. 3 years ago his brother was diagnosed…
    24 September 2017
  • Mimi
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    My dad died in January, I found out that he had another family and me and my sister had two more younger sisters, I'm The eldest of…
    24 September 2017
  • Bil22876
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    What if the only next of kin murdered his family members . Would the murderer's family (say children) get the inheritance
    23 September 2017
  • Hayleybirkitt
    Re: Purchasing a Burial Plot
    My dad and his sister, there mum my nan is buried in a cemetery in Enfield, she died when he was 7 and the rights to her grave went to…
    22 September 2017
  • FacingBereavement
    Re: Catholic Funeral
    DippyGirl - Your Question:I have to organise a RC funeral for a cousin I have been advised that the service must take place in the church nearest…
    22 September 2017
  • FacingBereavement
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    Marie - Your Question:My Uncle sadly passed away without leaving a will. Does this mean his estate will be split equally between his 4…
    22 September 2017
  • Marie
    Re: What if There is No Will?
    My Uncle sadly passed away without leaving a will. Does this mean his estate will be split equally between his 4 surviving siblings…
    21 September 2017
  • DippyGirl
    Re: Catholic Funeral
    I have to organise a RC funeral for a cousin I have been advised that the service must take place in the church nearest to her care home ( she…
    20 September 2017
  • FacingBereavement
    Re: Purchasing a Burial Plot
    Nobby - Your Question:Myself and wife purchased a burial plot in 2005 obviously for our burials,since then we have had a change of mind…
    20 September 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.