A funeral wake is a celebration of life, an opportunity for friends and family to come together to remember their loved one. The wake traditionally follows the funeral service itself. Here are some top tips on how to organise a funeral wake.
The location of the funeral wake will depend on the number of guests attending. Consider hosting the wake at your own home or family home if you have fewer than 20 guests and you have the space to host the wake. If you expect up to 40 guests, you can request to use the church or crematorium halls. For more than 40 guests, look for local pubs, sports and social clubs, or hire out a hotel event room. Secure the location as soon as possible to ensure you can reserve the date required.
Unlike the funeral, the wake is a more personal affair. Consider inviting the nearest and dearest people to the deceased, including close friends who knew them well. Unlikely attendees are business colleagues or neighbours with whom the deceased had little contact. Allow those who wish to pay further respects in a warm and considerate environment to do so.
Depending on the number of attendees, you will most likely wish to provide catering. If you’re hosting the event at home, consider having family members bring food or preparing it yourself to save on costs. If you book a venue, check if the cost of food is included. Many venues will have catering options available for you and if they do not, then you can source your own. Many local independent caterers would be more than willing to assist you with catering for a wake.
Let people know when and where the wake will be held. There are several ways to get the message out. You can send around details of the wake via email or text message, you can create small notes to send in the post, announce it at the funeral and have details of the wake printed on the back of the order of service booklets, or use social media to spread the word. It is important to mention if the wake will be open to all or if the wake is a more private event, to ensure family members and friends do not extend invitations to their own contacts.
You may wish to bring the flowers arrangements from the funeral service along to the wake, depending on the funeral service type. Local florists would also be happy to assist should you wish to have additional arrangements created for the wake itself and will be able to incorporate your loved ones favourite colour of type of flower. You may also consider creating the flower arrangements yourself to save on costs. It is important to note that although flowers at the wake are not essential, they bring a burst of colour to the venue, providing the mourners with a sense of positivity. Flowers at a wake are a sign of respect for the deceased and are displayed in celebration of their memory.
Consider the deceased's favourite music or style of music to be played in the background. You can even arrange a slideshow of pictures throughout their lifetime, showcasing their achievements and most treasured memories. Consider having a group activity, like singing their favourite song or creating a memory jar, wall, or book, or releasing paper boats, butterflies or the lighting of candles in honour of the loved one.
A funeral wake is a time to celebrate the life of someone who has passed away. By following these tips, you can ensure that you will organise a meaningful event that honours the person's memory and brings comfort to those left behind.