Any advice on arranging a funeral wake?

My mother-in-law died on Monday and we are trying to arrange a funeral service followed by a wake. Most venues we have phoned are not catering for wakes. It is making a very sad time even more distressing. The Covid restrictions are making things so complicated. We can have 30 people at the funeral, but only 15 can be at the wake afterwards and it has to be at a venue. I feel so sorry for everyone who is or has been in this situation… Does anyone have any advice for us?

Had the same problem and loads of others surrounding a covid death. We did not have 30 at the funeral but I had 8 back to the house I could not sens the family and close friends away so they parked their cars and walked back and I drew the blinds. It is an awful time and one I am sure we will never properly get over. Sending love

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Good Afternoon,
To say sorry seems so inadequate at a his time but do know it must be difficult at this time.
I lost a friend last Thursday and at our Crematorium they are only allowed twenty,fifteen after just in the house for a coffee all in masks .
But are going to have a celebration of life if and when we come out of this pandemic.
Wondered if you could do that.
Take Care

Sorry for mistakes sent before checking.xx

Difficult. I can only suggest trying google: venues for wakes near me and then phoning. Coming out of lockdown, there should be somewhere who needs your custom. If you’ve already done that without success, I’m stumped.
2 ideas: I don’t know what tier you’re in, but can you invite a select few (max for your area) back to your or her house and order some food or just serve hot chocolate in the garden? The 2nd idea is simply to postpone it until restrictions are eased. That’s what I did.
Neither option is much help… It’s difficult especially when it’s the death of an older person. Cxxx

Dear Lizzles,
Thank you. We are thinking of using her house and garden, but the problem is that there is such a mixture of ages (the youngest family member is a toddler, the oldest in their seventies, and there would be a lot more than 8. You are so right, it is an awful time. Sending love back.

Dear Samella,
Thank you for your reply. 20 is even less than we are allowed and it must have been so hard to decide who could come and who could not. We have considered having a celebration of her life once the pandemic is over but out problem is that her immediate family are spread across the country. She lived in Kent, we live in Essex, her sister and family live in Yorkshire and her oldest son in County Durham. My mother in law’s house was the central point and she had enough guestrooms, but that option will no longer be there in the future.

Dear Christie,
Thank you for replying. We have contacted 5 venues so far, all of them would normally cater for wakes, but 3 have said they cannot do this at the moment, the 4th only provides a room for £ 200, but we would have to hire our own caterers, and the 5th one was not sure what they were allowed to do and will ring us back.
Having wakes or gatherings in the house under the latest rules is not allowed and in tier 3 we cannot even do that in the garden. My mother-in-law was in her eighties and her life was centered around her family. To include some but exclude others would not be something she would have wanted. Having said all that, I am still hopeful we can find a solution.

Tier 3 is a problem, I was thinking if you’re lucky enough to be in T1 in England or 2 in Scotland and have a very sheltered garden…
What about asking the funeral director you’re using, or the priest/vicar? S/he might have contacts. If you have to use a self catering option I held my mum’s wake at her nursing home and I bought plenty of food for 40 from M&S for £100. I’d guess food for 15 would be less and e.g. Waitrose will lend you glasses. Could you use a village/church hall and cater yourself? Both should have tea and coffee facilities and basic glasses, cups etc… I’m so sorry you’re having this extra hassle - I wish I could do more to help. Cxxx

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I am in a tier3 area, although the funeral ended up happening during lockdown. I contemplated going to a garden centre café when in tier3, not as an official wake but just chancing it and we’d be at different tables
trying to stick to rules but the garden centre and time I had chosen meant it was unlikely to be busy so we thought we could still have conversations between the tables and at least get food/drink.

We ended up though that the lockdown happened and so then just some of us went for a walk together in some local beautiful public gardens. I was really glad we did that.
The photo of my husband by the coffin during the service was also taken at those gardens so it felt right.

It was cold but those of us planning to go had wrapped up. I had contemplated asking people to bring flasks but it turned out a takeaway coffee shop in the garden was open so we did that and it was actually really nice to be outside afterwards with nature. My oldest funeral attendee was a fit 75 Yr old though so it depends of course.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do x


Thank you all for your replies and suggestions.
The funeral will be at the 22nd and we have now secured a venue for a funeral reception for 15 people. It is actually a golf club that caters for all sort of occasions including funerals. It is near the cemetery. We will have our own private room, with all the social distancing rules and Covid precautions in place. They will also do the catering. I have suggested to my husband that we try to find a second venue to book a wake for the other 15 people because I do not like having to exclude people but he thinks that would be too complicated.