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How To: Plan For A Wake

With careful planning and the right kind of venue, a wake can be an uplifting way for family and friends to come together, offer support and comfort to one another, and celebrate a loved one’s life.

To help you prepare for such an event, we’ve compiled an FAQ of the things worth considering ahead of the day.

How can I ensure family and friends feel involved? Keep the planning stages left to the immediate family, but do give guests the opportunity to share their personal condolences at the event.

Do I need to provide anything on the day? Whether you’re hosting the wake in the family home or a hired venue, have photos of the deceased in albums and frames for others to view, leave a guest book out so people can express their condolences in written form, and decorate the space with flowers – these will often be bouquets and floral displays taken from the funeral.

What sort of venue do I book – family home or hired space? Death is a sensitive issue and everyone has their own way of mourning, but picking a venue where most people will feel comfortable is important. Your own home or the home of the person who has died could be suitable for a smaller gathering, as well as being convenient for neighbours and friends who live locally. However, hiring a venue where an events team can take care of hospitality would be a good option for larger numbers.

Food and drink? Although grief can create a loss of appetite, for those travelling from afar sustenance is important for mood and energy levels in what can be a draining experience. Guests will want to be fed and watered without having to sit down for a formal meal.

What to eat? Buffet style food including sandwiches, salads, cold meats, quiches, biscuits – it doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. If you want to put a personal twist on the offering, you could serve the favourite food of the person who has passed away, for example miniature versions of pie and mash, or fish and chips served in a paper cone.

To serve alcohol? Don’t serve limitless amounts of alcohol. Emotions may be running high and alcohol will only heighten these feelings. A sensible amount would be to offer one or two glasses of beer/wine per person. Also ensure there are a variety of soft drink alternatives, plus tea and coffee.

Selhurst Park has rooms to suit all different types of funeral receptions from small, intimate gatherings to large family wakes. CLICK HERE to view our packages and spaces used for wakes.