A wake is an informal occasion that usually takes place before or after the funeral service. It provides an opportunity for friends and family of the deceased to get together, share memories and celebrate the life of the person who has died.

Whilst Covid-19 guidelines in England have allowed up to 30 people to attend a funeral service, there have been restrictions on traditional wakes and gatherings, allowing a maximum of six to attend a wake up to this point. The good news is that as we progress through the roadmap to ease lockdown measures, the numbers of people who can attend funeral gatherings will slowly begin to expand.

How many people can attend a wake?

From the 12th April 2021 it will be possible to have up to 15 people in attendance at a wake, ashes scattering, funeral reception or other event linking to a person’s death. This number will only apply to gatherings taking place at a Covid-secure outdoor hospitality venue, or any venue permitted to open for this purpose, such as a community centre or a place of worship.

For gatherings or wakes taking place in a private garden, the rule of six guidelines will apply. This means that up to six people, or two households (where the number exceeds six), can attend a wake in the garden of a family home, however there should be no mixing indoors. Children of all ages are included in the rule of six, whilst professional carers are not included providing they are working at the time. A support bubble counts as one household.

How can I hold a meaningful wake during Covid-19?

Whilst the funeral service is traditionally a more sombre event, the wake tends to be a more relaxed occasion and provides an opportunity for attendees to connect and provide comfort to one another.

A wake can be anything from a small family gathering prior to the funeral service, through to a more organised post-funeral event in an outdoor Covid-secure space, such as a pub, hotel, restaurant or community centre. There are no rules as to what a wake should comprise, and it can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Whilst some wakes provide food and drink for guests, this certainly isn’t a requirement. Likewise, there is no obligation to hold a wake whatsoever, and for some families simply holding the funeral service is enough.

For anyone looking to create a more personal tribute at the wake, you could look to include some small memorable touches. This could be anything from playing your loved one’s favourite music, serving their favourite drink, or saying a few words at the occasion.

The sharing of memories is often an important part of a wake. You could display photos, present a video reel or photo montage, or provide a guestbook for guests to write down their favourite memories.

It may seem strange to organise a celebration on the day of the funeral, but many people find great comfort in celebrating their loved one with those who knew them best.

Whilst holding a wake may seem difficult during current lockdown measures, and certain limitations still remain, there is no reason why you can’t create a truly special occasion. For more information regarding Covid-19 funeral regulations or to speak to one of our team, reach out to us on 01525 372210, or email us via our contact form.