Originally published by Brown’s Memorial Funeral Home
Each year, it seems that cremation services become more and more popular. Because of this, more and more families are beginning to plan memorial services. How do I plan a memorial service? What are some memorial service ideas? A lot of funeral directors have told us that they hear these questions almost every day. To help you make the planning process easier, check out the checklist we’ve created below.
5 Steps to Planning a Memorial Service
1. Who, Where, and When?
One of the first things you need to do is decide upon the logistics. Who are you inviting? Decide how many people you would like to have at the service. Where will the service take place? The funeral home, your family’s home, a church, a park, or somewhere else? There are plenty of locations to hold the event. If you know the number of guests you would like invited, you can find a venue that’s the right size. Finally, when will the memorial service take place? Unlike a funeral service, you don’t need to hold the memorial service before the cremation. It’s quite common for families to hold the service weeks or months afterwards. This gives people time to plan their schedule and make sure everyone can make it.
2. Will There Be a Theme?
For many families, the thought of a traditional service is boring and unappealing. Creating a theme for the service does two things. The first is that it lets you celebrate something the deceased was passionate about. And the second thing is that it lets you feel a connection with the deceased and makes the event memorable. From our experience, baby boomers don’t want to have just another funeral. Instead, they want to be the star of the show and have their life celebrated. We can help you create that theme, and we’ll provide more details later on.
3. Who Will Speak at The Event?
For most memorials, you will need to decide who will speak during the service. This includes things like readings, the eulogy, and any stories people wish to have shared. This is also when you should decide who will lead the memorial service. If your loved one was religious, you might want to ask a pastor or church minister. It is also quite common to have a loved one or close family-friend as the officiant. Keep in mind, this will be an emotional day. You want the service to be led by someone that can stay composed and is comfortable speaking in front of a group.
4. What food and Beverages Will You Serve?
Depending upon the theme of the memorial service, you may want to serve food and drinks that match that. Other options include serving you some of your loved one’s favorite dishes. Some families even plan a potluck and have guests volunteer to bring a dish.
5. What Decorations Will You Have?
Slideshows, memory tables, photo collages, and scrapbooks are all popular tribute decorations. If you decide to have a theme for the service, you may want to decorate the venue with items that relate to it. Our staff would be happy to assist you and offer further advice on decorating the venue.
Unique Memorial Service Themes
When it comes to planning the theme for a memorial service, the possibilities are endless. The best themes are often the ones that celebrate something the deceased was passionate about. Below are a few suggestions to help get you started.
The Irish Wake
If your family is Irish, consider giving your loved one an Irish funeral service. Irish wake funeral customs make a
sombre event anything but that. With this kind of celebration, families gather to eat, drink, sing, tell stories and celebrate fond memories.
The Organic Goodbye
Perhaps your loved one was conscious about the environment. Keep their passion for the Earth alive by planning an eco-friendly service. Serve foods that you source from local farmer’s markets. Avoid using disposable products. And ask that instead of flowers, guests make a donation to help plant trees or environmental causes. If you want to take it one step further, plant a tree and mix in some of your loved one’s cremated remains.
A Salute To Service
Celebrate the service of the brave men and women who have served in the military. Make sure to include things like patriotic decorations and stationery. If you set up a memory table, proudly display any medals they earned during their service. You could even include a playing of Taps and a moment of silence. Instead of sending flowers, ask guests to donate to an organization like the Wounded Warriors Projector your local Veterans Affairs office.
Have you ever been to a memorial service with a theme? Please let us know what it was like and share your story in the comment section below!