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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Funerals > Wake

Wake Cost


How Much Does a Wake Cost?

 
average costPrivate Viewing: $100-$250+high costPublic Viewing: $150-$1,200+
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The terms "viewing," "visitation" and "wake" are often used interchangeably, but usually viewing refers to an open casket where the body is visible, and a visitation is a period of time set aside when the body is laid out in the casket (which can be open or closed, depending on the family's wishes) so mourners have a chance to pay respects. Traditionally, a wake is when family and friends keep watch by the body before it is safely buried, especially through the night, and the wake can be time of eating, drinking and reminiscing. A modern wake may have the body present, and in many regions a visitation the night before the funeral may be called a wake, or a reception after the funeral ceremony might be referred to as a wake. A viewing, visitation or wake is typically less formal than the funeral ceremony, and a visitation/wake typically gives mourners time to interact with each other.

Typical costs:

  • A wake without the body present can be held in the family home (usually the night before the funeral or immediately after the funeral ceremony) for the cost of food and beverages -- and often close friends and extended family members will contribute food or drink for a wake. The total cost will depend on what is served, how many people attend and how long the event lasts (usually a few hours, but some wakes are held all night before the funeral). A wake with the body present can also be held in the family home, but if the body is at a funeral home or mortuary, there can be charges of $100-$350 or more for transporting the body to the family home and then back to the funeral home. (If the body is present, there will also be costs for a casket, embalming and related services -- see How Much Does a Casket Cost and How Much Does Embalming Cost.)
  • For a sense of closure, some families arrange for a private viewing of the body at the funeral home or mortuary. If not included as part of a funeral package arrangement, a private viewing can add $100-$250 or more to the total bill, depending on what is included and local rates. For example, Nosek-McCreery Funeral, Cremation & Green Services[1] in Ohio charges $150 for a private viewing of up to one hour with up to 10 guests during regular business hours.
  • If not included in a funeral package, a public viewing or visitation/wake by a funeral home or mortuary can add $150-$1,200 or more to the total bill, depending on the number of hours, the size of the gathering, what's included and local rates. Some funeral homes or mortuaries charge an hourly fee, while others have a set rate for a certain length of time. Nosek-McCreery[2] in Ohio charges $175 per hour for staff and equipment for a visitation or viewing, either at its facilities or another local site. The Magnolia Funeral Home[3] in Alexandria, Louisiana, charges $200 for use of its staff for a four-hour viewing, either in the funeral home or in another local site, while Smith Mortuary in Maryville, Tennessee, charges $850 for the use of its facilities and staff for a viewing and visitation, and $1,125 for equipment and staff for a viewing/visitation/service in another local facility.
Related articles: Funeral Service, Casket, Funeral Flowers, Funeral Processions, Funeral

What should be included:
  • A viewing, visitation or wake is usually less formal than the funeral. It is typically held in the two days before the funeral, or immediately before or after the funeral ceremony. FuneralPlanning101.com provides tips for holding a wake[4] and Life123.com explains the etiquette for attending[5] a viewing or wake.
Additional costs:
  • Having musicians such as an organist, pianist, harpist or string quartet play during the visitation/wake can add another $100-$250 or more, depending on local rates and the length of the performance.
Discounts:
  • Many standard funeral packages include a one- or two-hour viewing and visitation period just before the funeral service.
Shopping for a wake:
  • Nonprofit local funeral or memorial societies[6] can be a good source of information about organizing a visitation or wake, and how to get the best rates.
  • Search for local funeral homes or mortuaries with the National Funeral Directors Association or the Selected Independent Funeral Homes[7] , or at TheFuneralSite.com.
  • Rates vary considerably between companies, so get several estimates. Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[8] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.nosek-mccreeryfuneral.com/Funeral_Price_List_38022.html
  2.  www.nosek-mccreeryfuneral.com/Funeral_Price_List_38022.html
  3.  www.magnoliafuneralhome.com/2010_GPL.pdf
  4.  www.funeralplanning101.com/funeral-etiquette/attending-a-wake.aspx
  5.  www.life123.com/career-money/wealth-management/funeral-etiquette/funeral-etiquette.shtml
  6.  www.funerals.org/affiliates-directory
  7.  www.selectedfuneralhomes.org/
  8.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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