How to Organise a Funeral Wake

To say a final farewell to your departed loved one, you may wish to organise a wake.

It’s a casual reception the bereaved can attend to celebrate your loved one’s life. Less formal than the funeral, a wake is a chance for people to share memories and stories.

When organising a wake, there are many factors to consider, including catering, the venue, entertainment and more.

Read on to find out what we recommend for a casual wake after a funeral service on the Gold Coast. We hope that this will assist you in your planning to make that seemingly overwhelming process easier.


Many people who cannot attend the funeral service may decide to attend the wake. Conversely, some who attend the funeral may not attend the wake.

It’s also a great opportunity for children to pay their respects, as the funeral could be too stressful for them. For a general announcement, you can place the wake details online (i.e. on social media) or in your local newspaper.

However, families often wish for the wake to be private. In this case, we suggest sending invitations or asking family to spread the word.

Place and time

Generally, the wake is held immediately following the funeral. However, it may be later if guests need to travel to a crematorium or burial site.

Whatever you decide, choose a time and location convenient for you and your guests. Just make sure that everyone who wishes to attend is able to do so.

The wake can take place wherever you desire. However, make sure the venue can comfortably accommodate everyone. Popular wake venues include:

•           Bars
•           Church halls
•           Sport or social clubs
•           Hotels

Remember to book your chosen venue in advance and give your guests clear directions. If you plan to decorate (i.e. with flowers, photos, etc.) arrive early to set up.


The cost of a wake can vary widely. Thankfully, though, there are many ways to ensure that the guests are satisfied while also sticking to a set budget. Follow these simple tips to keep costs manageable:

•           Printing a loved one’s pictures yourself (rather than having them professionally printed)
•           Playing your own music (using a CD or an MP3 player)
•           Preparing the food and refreshments yourself and asking friends and family to bring buffet items (i.e. sandwiches, salads, cake, etc.)
•           Selecting a budget-friendly venue. A bar may be free, for instance, if the guests purchase drinks



Although a wake is quite a solemn event, a growing trend is to include some entertainment during the service.

This can take the form of a slideshow of images set to music, attendees sharing fond memories and stories, or your loved one’s favourite music.

The entertainment you choose will greatly depend on what you believe your loved one would want.

You should inform your funeral director ahead of time to ensure the venue has a sound system, projector, video screen and more.


Some venues provide complimentary catering. If not, ask your funeral director to recommend a good catering service.

Many caterers tend to be flexible – if you want to serve your loved one’s favourite food and drink, for instance. As mentioned previously, an alternative is to prepare the food yourself.

The most common catering style at wakes is buffet food. This may include cold meats, sandwiches, cakes and salads.

For more advice on planning a wake to follow a funeral service on the Gold Coast organised by A Gentle Touch Funerals; please get in touch today.

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