A Brief Guide to Funeral Services and Wakes

The death of a loved one is an emotionally and psychologically difficult time for both the families that are directly affected and those who are unrelated but are nevertheless close to them. Because death is a topic that many prefer to stay away from, both parties may feel overwhelmed by the events before or after the wake.

Because of this, handling a memorial service or attending one may prove to be a challenge. To avoid awkward circumstances, it is best to be informed and understand the basic etiquette when planning or attending a funeral.

A few tips for the bereaved

The bereaved are in the most vulnerable position. Regardless of if the death was expected or not, the loss of a loved one is very challenging. Accepting what has happened and proceeding to arrange a funeral service is one of the first steps to truly moving on.

There are many articles and websites on the Internet that offer funeral advice and tips, which provide guidelines not just for preparing for the memorial service, but also a list of what to do after the wake.

Funeral services may be very costly if planned recklessly. Because of the emotional effect caused by the bereavement, many families choose to hire a funeral director, which, more often than not, is also the embalmer and in charge of ensuring that the memorial service unfolds smoothly. Funeral directors offer all in one, cost-effective packages that many people opt for.

In addition to these paid services, families should also not forget honorariums. Having a priest or your local choir in the ceremony should not come for a price but offering honorariums has become a tradition. There is no fixed price for this, and it has to be decided by family members prior to the wake.

Funeral etiquette for guests

Unless otherwise stated by the family who invited them, guests are usually not required to wear a specific type of clothing. The solemnity of the wake requires an unspoken dress code of clean and conservative clothes.

During the wake, guests should understand that the first one or two rows of seats are reserved for direct relatives and immediate family members. Choose to sit in a comfortable place in the succeeding rows, but make sure not to sit too far back. During these times, the bereaved would appreciate having someone close to them, especially while the crowd has not gathered yet.

Lastly, greeting and offering condolences is an absolute must, although these need not be forced. A few comforting words or even nonverbal gestures are accepted, especially if they are sincere.

The takeaway

Although bereaved families cannot be completely prepared for such events, taking action after what has happened avoids unnecessary loans and expenses, and ensures that their departed loved one’s wake is as solemn and mess-free as possible. Guests should also understand that being invited to such events makes them vulnerable as well.

During such events, both parties should do their best to be there to help each other heal and move on.

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