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:

Whether approaching Wivenhoe House from London and the South or Ipswich and the North via the A12, take the exit marked Colchester (A133). Follow the A133 towards Clacton, ignore the entrance to the Knowledge Gateway, continue along the A133 then take the B1028 for Wivenhoe before turning right into Boundary Road, then right again 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 the glorious house from the road.

For Sat Nav please use CO4 3FA.

Download our PDF Map

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.