There may be additional events that the family or friends of a recently departed loved on choose to hold in addition to their funeral, and one such event is known as a wake. A tradition for certain families, faiths or cultures, wakes are usually meant for the closest friends and family of the departed to pay their respects in a more intimate environment before the larger funeral takes place.
At Lindquist Mortuaries, we’re happy to assist with every area of funeral planning and additional event planning following the passing of a loved one, including a wake if you choose to hold one. Here are some simple facts on wakes as you determine whether or not to hold one for close friends and family members.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that there is no requirement to hold a wake within American culture. While certain faiths might regularly hold such events, those outside these groups are under no direct obligation to hold a wake.
In many cases, the decision on whether or not to do so comes down to the wishes of both the departed and their closest family, plus budgetary considerations. Next of kin usually makes the final call here.
If you do decide to hold a wake for family and friends, it will proceed in any way you desire it to as a close family group. Every wake is unique; some are hosted using cultural or religious traditions, while others are relatively informal events accompanied by food and drink.
Not only do you decide what happens during a wake, you decide how long it is and when it takes place. The most common time for wakes is just before the larger funeral, but this can depend on several other factors. Certain wakes in some cultures are celebrations of life that last for days at a time, in fact.
There are a few differences between wakes and funerals, namely the intimacy, as we’ve already discussed. Many wakes feature an open casket where possible, even when the subsequent funeral will have a closed casket. Finally, wakes are generally more of a celebratory event for the life of the departed, while funerals are meant for mourning.
If you are invited to a wake, there are some simple pieces of etiquette to follow. Dress properly, for one – dark clothing, similar to what you’d wear to a funeral. Bring a card for the family of the departed, though a gift is not needed. If there is a guestbook, sign it with your warmest wishes. Stay as long as you feel is appropriate, or until you see other guests beginning to leave.
For more on wakes and how they compare to funerals, or to learn about our cremation services or any of our funeral arrangements, speak to the staff at Lindquist Mortuaries today.