The Difference Between a Celebration of Life and a Wake

December 10, 2019 1:04 am Published by Leave your thoughts

When a loved one dies, there are many decisions to be made in the aftermath—including what kind of service you and the family would like to hold. If your loved one died without making their wishes known, whether in a will or end-of-life directive, you may have to decide what kind of service to conduct. There are several kinds of services you can have, and they’re not as interchangeable as you might think. Two of the most popular versions are wakes and celebrations of life in Lake City, FL—but what does each type of ceremony entail?


Typically, wakes are held before a funeral or celebration of life, and provide an opportunity for people to visit the deceased’s body. They’re usually held at a church or funeral home, are open to the public and allow people the opportunity to pay their respects to the deceased’s family. The family can publish the time, date and location information in the obituary. In the absence of this information or an obituary, guests can call local funeral homes to inquire.


Traditional funerals usually take place up to a week after the death, and precede a burial or cremation. The body is present, although it can be an open or closed casket ceremony. At this type of ceremony, friends and family take the opportunity to eulogize the deceased, and they can opt to have a religious element included. Often, there is a procession from the funeral location to the grave for burial, although a second graveside service is optional. Funerals are often more private than a wake, offering the family a more intimate opportunity to come to terms with the loss.

Celebrations of life or memorials

One of the key differences between memorials or celebrations of life and traditional funerals is that the remains aren’t present at memorials. This allows the family to hold the service whenever they like, since there is no concern about the integrity of the remains. Rather than saying goodbye to “the body,” celebrations of life and memorials focus on sharing memories and mourning the person themselves. They can be less formal, and often have a more lighthearted tone than traditional funerals, and can be held anywhere from a church to a private home.

Which should you choose?

When you decide what kind of ceremony to hold, you should consider whether it’s important to have the remains present, if you’d like a religious element, if it’s important that members of the public get to come and say goodbye and how much money you’d like to spend.

Celebrations of life and wake ceremonies in Lake City, FL

ICS Cremation & Funeral Home is your trusted local source for funeral and memorial services. With extensive experience, our knowledgeable staff is available to help you with a full line of services. We can also assist you with preplanning for funerals and cremations. Whatever your funeral service needs may be, we are here to provide you with superior service, tasteful selections and reasonable rates. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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