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In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You're Not Around Later

An Overview Of Events Surrounding A Funeral

This article on funeral planning is provided by Everplans — The web's leading resource for planning and organizing your life. Create, store and share important documents that your loved ones might need. Find out more about Everplans »

In many traditions, religions, and cultures it is customary to have events both before and after the funeral or memorial service.

Pre-Funeral Events

Pre-funeral events usually take the form of viewings, wakes, or visitations

Viewings And Wakes

Viewings and wakes are opportunities to spend time with the body of the person who died and the family before the funeral service. Viewings and wakes may be limited to family only, or may be open to the public. Viewings and wakes may take place over the days leading up to the funeral, or they may take place in the hours directly before the funeral service.


A visitation is an opportunity to spend time with the family of the person who died before the funeral service. Visitations are usually held at the family’s home, and guests are invited to stop by at specific times over the days leading up to the funeral.

To learn more about planning events before the service, see our article Viewing, Wake, or Visitation.

Post-Funeral Events

Post-funeral events usually take the form of receptions or gatherings. If the person who died was Jewish, a post-funeral event called shiva may be held.

Post-Funeral Receptions Or Gatherings

Post-funeral receptions or gatherings are social events, and offer a chance for people who attended the funeral to spend time together in a more casual atmosphere.

To learn more about post-service events, see our article Post-Funeral Reception.


Shiva is a religious and social event that traditionally lasts for seven days. The family will receive visitors at their home, and Jews and non-Jews should feel free to attend.

To get help planning a shiva, use our resource Guide: Shiva Resources.

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