What happens at a wake?

A wake is an event that’s held either before or after a funeral.

If you’re due to attend — or even organise one — you’ll benefit from reading our latest post.

We’re going to explain what happens at a wake so you can be prepared.

What exactly is a wake?

A wake refers to a gathering that is associated with the death of a loved one.

In days gone by, a wake would usually mean the practice of sitting with the body of a loved one before the funeral.

This could take place over several days and nights in the family home of the deceased.

The custom was common in Europe, particularly in Ireland, where it is still practised widely today.

This type of wake — also referred to as a viewing, vigil, or visitation — is a source of comfort to the bereaved and a chance to prepare emotionally for saying goodbye at the funeral.

Perhaps the more common definition of a wake nowadays is the event that happens after a funeral.

This takes the form of a reception where refreshments are served and people share their memories of the person who has passed away.

What to expect at a wake

This sort of wake usually takes place immediately after the funeral service. The venue could be the family home of the person who has passed away, a community hall, or even a pub or restaurant.

Food and drinks will be served, and you will have the chance to share your memories of the deceased with their family and express your condolences.

Most wakes last at least a couple of hours to allow time for refreshments to be served and for socialising.

what happens at a wake 234619376
what happens at a wake 234619376

What do I need to organise?

If you’re tasked with organising a wake, these are some things you will need to consider:

  • Do you want the wake to be open to everyone or by invitation only? In either case, it’s a good idea to ask guests to let you know if they’re attending to make planning easier.
  • Where do you want to hold the wake? The venue could be the family home, a church or community hall, the function room of a restaurant or hotel, or even somewhere outdoors.
  • What sort of food for the wake after the funeral have you budgeted for? You could serve anything from a homemade buffet to food and drink provided by a caterer.
  • What kind of funeral stationery do you need to order? Commemoration cards are one way of celebrating the life of the deceased and make a wonderful keepsake to take away. You may also want to order banners or photos of your loved one to decorate the venue and thank-you cards to send to mourners after the event.
  • What about the extra touches? There are lots of creative ideas to celebrate the life of a departed loved one. You may want to organise planting a tree in their memory, showing a slideshow with pictures and memories of their life, or getting guests to write entries in a memory book.

Let us help you share memories and celebrate a life

A wake is the natural conclusion to the immediate mourning period and can be a positive way to draw comfort from fellow mourners, share memories, and celebrate a life.

If you’re in charge of organising a wake, then let the design and print experts at Baileys Print Co. give you a hand.

We can help you with all your funeral stationery requirements — from order of service booklets to commemorative cards, bookmarks, and thank-you cards too.

Simply get in touch with our team for a friendly and professional service. We understand that organising a funeral and wake can be a challenging time, so let us take the stress out of those finer details.

Baileys Print Co.

Baileys Print Co. is a family run printing business based in Melbourne. We’ve been getting inky fingers for over 19 years.