wake, funeral

The Difference Between a Wake and a Funeral: An Explainer

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between a wake and a funeral. While they have some similarities, key differences set them apart. A wake is typically held before the funeral and is a time for friends and family to gather and pay their respects. A funeral is a service that happens after the death of a person and can include burial or cremation. If you’re looking for more about these two ceremonies, keep reading! 


  • A gathering of people to remember the deceased. A wake is a time for people to share memories and stories about the deceased.
  • A wake can be held before or after the funeral. 
  • Wakes are often more informal than funerals.  
  • The deceased’s body may or may not be present at a wake.
  • Wakes are often held at funeral homes.


  • A ceremony that happens after someone dies. It can include burial or cremation and is often officiated by a religious leader. 
  • The funeral is the service that takes place after the wake.
  •  A funeral is a religious or civil ceremony to honor the dead.
  • The body of the deceased is present at a funeral.
  • Funerals can be religious or non-religious
  • Funerals can be held in churches, synagogues, or other places of worship.
  • Funerals are also generally open to anyone who wishes to attend

So which one should you attend? If you know the deceased well and want to pay your respects, you should go to the wake. But if you didn’t know, they didn’t well, or if you’re not ready to face the reality of death, it’s perfectly understandable to skip the wake and attend the funeral.

Both wakes and funerals are essential rituals in many cultures. They give mourners a chance to come together and grieve and provide closure after a loved one dies. Whether you attend a wake or funeral, know that you’re doing your best to honor the deceased in your way. 

Research can help you decide which event is suitable for you. You can also talk to a close friend or family member who might be able to give you more information about the deceased and the events that will be taking place. No matter what you decide, know there is no wrong answer regarding paying your respects.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help in any way we can. 

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