Creating Stronger Familial Bonds

Planning A Wake For A Loved One

When planning the services for a loved one, you may be focused on the funeral. However, there is a bit of planning that goes into hosting a wake as well. Use this guide to plan a wake that honors your loved one while also providing comfort for all of the bereaved.

Plan To Arrive Early

Your funeral director will work to make sure that all flower deliveries are placed in the chapel or viewing room ahead of time, and he or she will also arrange the casket to meet your loved one's final wishes. You should plan to arrive at the wake early to look over everything and make any changes that are necessary. For example, you may want to move some of the floral arrangements sent by friends and family next to the casket, or you may want to rearrange some of the chairs to accommodate close family members.

Enlist Help For Refreshments

Typically, friends and family will bring trays of appetizers and sweets for the wake. If there are any special requests or dietary restrictions for the immediate family members, enlist the help of friends to have these items brought to the funeral home. For example, if there will be small children in attendance, you may want to arrange to have juice boxes, fruit, and cookies available for them. You may also want to separate food items that are specifically for those with dietary restrictions and place a small note card on the refreshment table indicating that they are gluten/dairy/nut-free snack options. Ask the funeral home director if disposable plates and cups are available or if you will need to bring these as well.

Arrange A Prayer Service

Holding a prayer service at the wake gives mourners who can't attend the funeral a chance to say their final farewells and share a moment of prayer. Invite your clergy member to the evening portion of the wake, and work together to select a prayer or passage to be read at the wake. You can also take this time to eulogize your loved one or invite friends to share their memories of the dearly departed. In the interests of keeping the prayer service brief, you can have the funeral home director say a few words inviting everyone to return the following day for the funeral and another chance to share memories during the services.

The wake doesn't take as much planning as a funeral, but doing a little bit of preparation can help you to have less to do when the day of the viewing arrives. Ask your funeral home director for help if you aren't sure where to begin with planning this portion of the funeral. Visit a site like for more help.