How to arrange a celebration of life

Generally there is very little time between the death of a loved one and their funeral and wake, otherwise known as a celebration of life. At Wivenhoe House hotel we hope this short guide will help you choose a suitable path at this difficult time.

A celebration of life is an opportunity for friends and family to gather, often after a funeral, to remember the life of a loved one. It’s not obligatory to hold a wake but it can be a positive experience as people share their memories of a special person.

Sometimes people before their death have set up specific instructions for their funeral, but often it is left to the bereaved relatives and friends to decide what sort of occasion would be a suitable commemoration for the life of their loved one.

When choosing a venue for a celebration of life it is worth spending a little time thinking of the important criteria. Were there any social clubs associated with the deceased person?  Did you share a love for a particular restaurant? More mundane things to consider, but just as valid, are parking spaces, disabled access and location.

Hotels, restaurants and members’ clubs are accustomed to hosting celebrations of life and can take a lot of weight off your hands at this busy time. Sarah Bowman from Wivenhoe House said: “We appreciate this is a very stressful time and we’re here to ensure everything runs smoothly and discreetly. It may help you to draw up a few notes beforehand, but we will guide you through the process to make sure nothing is forgotten.”

A cold buffet is a popular choice for a wake. If your loved one had a favourite food or drink you may wish to ask for this to be served, no doubt evoking a few memories among your guests. You may also want a table set aside displaying a few photographs and a book of condolence which you can study at your leisure afterwards. A modern alternative is a slide show that can be a good talking point among the guests.

Sarah added: “You should feel comfortable at a venue. The formalities of the funeral are over, a celebration of life is all about spending time with people who loved and respected the deceased and who want to support you through this difficult time.”




find us, however you travel
By car:

When using a SATNAV please enter the location WIVENHOE, Colchester (do not use a postcode as this will direct you to the wrong side of Wivenhoe Park).

Take the exit marked Colchester (A133)
Follow the A133 towards Clacton
Please follow signs for WIVENHOE
You will see a black sign on your right which says, ‘Wivenhoe House & The Brasserie’, turn right here into PARK ROAD
The entrance for Wivenhoe House is shared with the University of Essex, but PARK ROAD leads you through Wivenhoe Park and you will be able to see our beautiful house from the road on your right
CONTINUE to follow the signs for WIVENHOE HOUSE and it will lead you to us.

If you would like any help with directions, please do call us on 01206 863666 and a member of our team will be able to assist you.

By train:

Colchester station, Colchester Town station, Wivenhoe station and Hythe stations are all between 10-15 minutes from Wivenhoe House by car. Trains run between London (Liverpool Street) and Colchester station every 10-20 minutes. The journey takes around an hour. Also connect with Colchester from Norwich, Ipswich, Felixstowe & Harwich. Some trains from London (Liverpool Street) also stop at Wivenhoe Station. When travelling from the Clacton/Walton direction, alight at Wivenhoe or Hythe Stations.

By plane:

Stansted airport is approximately 45 minutes from Wivenhoe House by car. Helicopter pad coordinates are 603200/223900.