Organising a wake

The wake after a funeral service can be a traditional or unique affair. As personalised funerals become more popular, people are choosing to use this time to celebrate the life of their loved one rather than mourn their passing.

A guide to organising a funeral reception

Whether you're attending a funeral reception steeped in custom or simply a casual get-together, this time provides an opportunity to bring extended families together to say goodbye to a loved one, offer support to the bereaved and share memories of the person who has passed away.

Announcing the funeral reception

A funeral reception can be either public or private, so if you're organising one you will need to be clear about your expectations for family, friends and acquaintances. You'll want to contact close family members personally to pass on the information regarding when and where the wake will be held.

The arrangements for the funeral reception may be published within an obituary notice or can be printed on the back of the Order of Service used at the funeral ceremony. If the funeral reception is going to be a private affair for family members only, then you should provide this information in the obituary or Order of Service as well. You can also choose to direct queries about a funeral reception directly to us so that we can provide details of the place, time or directions to the venue.

Organising the funeral reception

  • Number of guests - if you are expecting a large attendance at the funeral service then the venue you choose for the wake will need to be large enough to accommodate all your guests.
  • Venue – this usually takes place at a church hall, a hotel or sports/social club close to where the funeral has taken place but you could also consider other venues such as your home, pub, a coffee shop, a restaurant or a sports stadium.
  • Catering – you will need to decide the amount and type of food you wish to serve and if you want caterers to organise this or if you will be providing home made food and drinks. You may choose to serve your loved one’s favourite food and drink. Some venues will offer a bar service and catering facilities.
  • Entertainment – as funeral receptions are changing and becoming more of a celebration of life, some people may choose to organise entertainment such as music, a singer or band, slide shows, photographs – Some people choose to display photographs of their loved one or have a slide show.
  • Budget – how much you want to spend on the venue, catering etc. We will be able to advise on approximate costs.
  • Timings – depending on the time of the funeral, we will be able to give an approximate time of when the guests will start to arrive at the venue. You may decide that you only want guest to stay for a certain length of time, if this is the case we can advise the venue.

We have experience of working with venues in their local area and can provide information and suggestions to help you decide on the most appropriate funeral reception for your friends and family.