Planning a memorable wake

At White Lady Funerals, we know that a memorable wake can help people find closure after the loss of a loved one. Here, we’ll share a guide to what is a wake, a guide to funeral wake costs to consider, and how to plan the celebration your loved one would have wanted.

What is a wake?

A wake is a gathering traditionally held after the funeral service. It's a time for friends and family to come together, share memories and support one another during their grief. There is a focus on telling stories about a life well lived. It's a beautiful way to celebrate your loved one's legacy and a time to hug your friends and family in a less formal setting.

A wake, memorial or funeral service — what’s the difference?

Each option encourages people to gather, connect and celebrate the life of your loved one. You might even choose to do all three.

Funeral service

This is a formal ceremony held to commemorate and honour your loved one, usually with a coffin or casket present. This kind of ceremony is where you might hear a eulogy or religious readings and will be held before a cremation or burial.

Memorial service

This is a wonderful way to celebrate your loved one's life with speeches, music, and personalised touches. A memorial service can be held any time after the person has passed since the coffin or casket is not usually present.


This is more focused on sharing food and drink telling stories and remembering the person who has died. It often takes place in a more relaxed atmosphere, such as a family home, community centre, or a favourite local venue.

Planning a memorable wake

Each option encourages people to gather, connect and celebrate the life of your loved one. You might even choose to do all three.

Choose the right venue

After the service, you might choose to hold the wake nearby – our lounges are a convenient option. We can organise catering, music and any other personal touches to make it special. You might also choose the hold the wake at a local park, beach, favourite restaurant, or your home.

Create a personalised experience

You’re welcome to add any personal touches you like. Spend some time making a playlist or displaying some of their most cherished items.

Share memories

Encourage your guests to share stories and anecdotes about your loved one. Whether that’s in a guest book or words expressed in front of everyone. It’s a nice way to connect with others and learn new things about the person who’s passed

Funeral wake costs

The costs of a funeral service wake can vary greatly depending on what you want to include. Hosting the wake at home or in a park may be more affordable. Renting a venue or hiring a catering service will definitely increase expenses. Remember, a beautiful wake doesn’t need to cost the earth.

Here are a few things you may need to factor into your budget:

Hiring a venue costs

  • Venue hire
  • Catering — beverages and food
  • Decoration
  • AV hire
  • Staff wages

At-home gathering costs

  • Food (or people could all bring a dish)
  • Drinks (or this could be BYO)
  • Glassware, cutlery etc

Are you ready to start planning a wake?

Our team of experienced and caring funeral specialists have helped plan many wakes for a funeral service and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need help planning a wake, please get in touch with White Lady Funerals.