Some people choose to hold a wake the day before a funeral service. This gives friends and family members who might not have been that close to the deceased a chance to say goodbye, and it gives you some extra time to say goodbye as well. If you need to plan a wake for a loved one, here are a few things to remember as you prepare.
Arrange For Notifications
While you will likely inform the close friends and family members directly by phone or in person, you'll need to make sure that other concerned people are informed. You can do this in a number of ways, such as posting an obituary or using a phone tree to spread the word. In some cases, your funeral director can help you with the obituary and with an online notice to help inform people of your loved one's passing.
Arrange For Refreshments
Many funeral homes have a separate room that can be used for refreshments. Arrange to have coffee and tea, bottled water and perhaps some soda available for your guests. If the wake will be an all-day affair, consider fruit and vegetable trays and a sandwich platter. You may find that some friends and family members will want to bring extra food and snacks as a way to help you through the day, so be sure to let them know where they can place these items when they arrive at the wake.
Arrange For Memorial Cards
Your funeral director can help you with this step. Have memorial cards printed for your loved one, and include the date of birth and the date of passing along with any information you would like to share with friends and family. Some people prefer prayer cards with a simple psalm or prayer printed on the back. You may even want your loved one's photo on the front of the cards. The memorial cards should be placed next to the guestbook so visitors can take one after signing in (your funeral director can also help you set up the guestbook).
Arrange For A Way To Accept Condolence Cards
Your funeral director may have a box with a slot in the top you can use to accept condolence cards, or you can make your own if you are crafty. The box can be placed next to a floral arrangement near the front of the room where the wake is being held. This will prevent you from finding a place to hold the cards throughout the day, and it makes it easy for people to share their sympathy even if you are busy talking to other visitors.
Talk to your funeral home director about other details that can make the day go smoothly for you and your visitors. He or she will do everything possible to make sure you and your family are comfortable in your time of grief.