How to Quickly Organize a Wake or Funeral Reception

Flowers at a WakeSometimes end-of-life celebrations are met with scheduling demands. Many are religious. Others are on account of schedules and travel requirements by loved ones attending the celebrations. If you need to quickly organize a wake or funeral, we have some tips to move the process along in a swift fashion.

Pick a date and get the word out: As soon as you and your family set a date for the funeral or memorial service, spread the word. Begin calling or texting other invited family members and friends. It’s perfectly acceptable to privately message people on social media to let them know about the service. Give as much notice as you can for out-of-town folks so they can book and make travel arrangements.

Get the flowers ordered: Unless flowers are part of your funeral/memorial service package, you will need to order them ahead of time. Your funeral parlor or crematory should be able to make recommendations on florists they work with. If not, look online for local florists that specialize in creating memorial wreaths and displays. Make sure to supply them with important information, such as the time, place and location of the services, and verify they can meet your timeline for delivery.

Get funeral/memorial programs or paper mementos printed: As mentioned above, unless it’s included in a service package, you will need to provide your own service programs. Service programs indicate the order in which the service will be performed. Today, families will also hand out bookmarks or prayer cards that include a photo of the deceased, along with their favorite quote or scripture, as mementos. You can order these items online or at your local print shop.

Arrange for food and beverage: Unless the reception will be held at a restaurant, ask family members to help with cooking, food prep and grocery shopping for the post-service reception. You don’t need to serve a ten-course meal. You can serve hors d’oeuvres and sandwiches. You can also elect to have the reception catered if it fits within your budget. Tea, coffee, soda and water are typically served as beverage choices. In a pinch, head to a local warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club. The selections are plentiful and will definitely help with budget.

Finally, remember to have patience with yourself and others as you make these arrangements. If planning something becomes too stressful, take a break or ask another family member to handle it. There is no wrong or right way to do this and while time might prove to be of the essence, asking for help can be the biggest time saving strategy of all.

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