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How to Organise a Wake

A funeral wake is the name given to the social gathering that generally happens after the formal funeral proceedings have taken place. A wake and funeral might be attended by the same people or there may be reasons mourners could attend one, but not the other. A wake, or funeral reception is a more informal chance to pay your respects to someone who has died.

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What is the name of the party after a funeral?

When arranging a funeral, you may want to consider having a reception afterwards, where friends and family can gather to remember the life of your loved one. This is commonly known as a wake or a funeral reception.

What is the point of a wake?

Funeral wakes are usually less formal than the service, offering a place for the bereaved to gather, share stories of a loved one, and celebrate their life. If you are arranging a wake, you may want to consider the venue, catering, and whether or not there will be entertainment.

What is done at a wake?

A wake or memorial service reception is an occasion, often accompanied by music and refreshments, where people can gather and share their feelings in an open manner. Mourners who did not attend the funeral service may often join at this point to pay their condolences.

Do you have to have a wake after a funeral?

It isn’t compulsory to arrange a wake for after the funeral. Although it is a very widely held custom to have a reception for mourners after the service, people will understand if you would prefer not to do this. A funeral wake does, though, provide an opportunity for other people who loved the person who died to talk about how much they’ll miss them – and express their sympathies to you.

Who usually attends a wake?

People may choose to attend the wake if they cannot attend the funeral; while some guests who were at the funeral may be unable to attend the wake. A funeral reception may be a chance for children to attend, especially they did not attend the funeral.

You may decide to place a funeral and wake announcement in a local newspaper or via a Funeral Guide obituary. Or you may choose for the wake to be announced at the end of the funeral service, inviting mourners to head on to a venue for refreshments.

Some people prefer the wake to be private. If you choose to go down this route, you can send out invitations or ask close family members to spread the word.

Organising a Wake

Planning a wake for a funeral need not be overwhelming, but funeral directors will often give advice and family and friends are usually able to help with arrangements; things like making cakes or finger-foods. Listed below are the key elements of how to organise a wake.

When and where should a wake take place?

A wake usually takes place after the funeral service and can take place anywhere you want, as long as the number of people you are expecting can be accommodated comfortably.

After the funeral service, it may be only close family members who attend the person’s committal. So if you wish to wait a few hours after the service, this is completely acceptable. Make sure that everyone who wishes to attend knows the time and location.

Traditionally, guests attend the wake after the funeral service.

The most common funeral wake venues are:

  • Church halls

  • Pubs

  • Social clubs

  • Sports clubs

  • Hotels

If you are responsible for arranging a funeral wake, remember to book the venue in advance and make sure guests know how to get there. If you want to decorate the venue with flowers or photographs, or set up entertainment (see below), you may need to visit the venue beforehand. Talk to the venue staff to organise when you can set up.

How long should a wake last?

There is no strict time frame for a wake, unless you’ve hired the venue for a limited time. Less formal affairs, for instance, at home, a pub or a social hall, the wake might run longer.

If you’re anticipating lots of people, a hired venue might be a good option– so that you can simply go home when you are ready, on a tiring and emotional day.

What do you serve at a wake at a funeral?

If you wish to serve your loved one’s favourite food or drink then many caterers can accommodate this.

Trini Caribbean Catering can help design a menu to meet you requirements and your budget.

You can request a quote from us for 

Forty Hall Caribbean Catering

Caribbean Funeral



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