my marrried brother is dying should I be included in the receiving line at the wake?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 19, 2016
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should my brother's wive's family be in the receiving line at a wake

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Rebekah Peoples, CFSP, CPC, Is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is passionate about serving others and believes that giving clients honest, accurate information empowers them to create tributes and services that are meaningful and appropriate. Her tips about funerals and life can be found at

Wondering about funeral etiquette and who should be in the receiving line at the wake is something many people question.

Traditionally it includes members of the immediate family, which means a spouse, children, and depending on the age of the one who died, grandchildren. Siblings are frequently included at their own choosing. This may depend on personal circumstances. For example, if a man dies and has a surviving spouse but no children, siblings will likely be part of the receiving line. This is also the case with a wife's family. Without children to support her, a wife may want some of her family with her in the line.

A spouse in most cases, has the authority to make the decision of who will be in the receiving line. Hopefully, she will give proper consideration to the feelings of other family members. If for some reason, she chooses not to include her husband's family, suggest that there can be two lines. The second one will have those not in the first one, such as his siblings. This is commonly done with the second line on the other side of the room if space allows, or in another area of the room. Sometimes this happens naturally but not in a formal line because family members tend to gravitate to those they know best, which would be the deceased's siblings, nieces, nephews, and others, so they usually are sitting together or standing together. People who come to the wake who maybe didn't know the wife or her family but know the siblings will be able to approach them easily.

This is a good question. When someone dies, everyone who had some relationship with the deceased, grieves and deserves to have that acknowledged.