1. Wake

A wake is a gathering of family and friends to pay their respects to the deceased person. Traditionally, the wake took place in the house of the deceased. Modern wakes, similar to the viewing, are often held at the funeral home. A wake is generally held before the funeral service. 

2. Viewing

A viewing is a gathering of friends and family at the funeral home with the body of the deceased person present. The viewing gives mourners the opportunity to gather and support one another, and to pay their respects to the deceased. Generally, visitors have the option to arrive at any time during the designated viewing hours, and can stay for as long or as short as they’d like.

3. Funeral Service

A funeral service is designed to create a space for families and friends to lend support to each other and to say their final goodbyes. Unlike memorial services, wakes, and viewings, a funeral service may involve the burial. A funeral service typically takes place at a funeral home, place of worship, or a combination of both. The timing of the funeral service can vary by culture, ranging anywhere from a day or two to a week after someone has passed away. 

4. Memorial Service

At a memorial service, family and friends are invited to memorialize the deceased without the body present.  If a cremation has taken place, the memorial service may be held with the cremated remains present. Alternatively, if a burial occurs prior to the service for the deceased, the service that follows is considered a memorial service. It is common for the service to take place shortly after the passing or on the anniversary of the death. Memorial services can take place in traditional settings, such as a church or religious institution, or at a home or memorable location that is sentimental to the family.

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