Sunday, 12th November 2017

Ten Tips for Planning a Memorial Service

A memorial service can be an ideal way to remember a loved one and celebrate their life. Memorial services usually take place after the funeral without the body present. They can be held relatively soon after the deceased has passed or months later. By holding another service after the funeral, grieving loved ones are often feeling stronger and more composed – ready to celebrate life rather than mourn death. So, even if a fitting and beautiful funeral was held, a memorial service can provide added comfort to many.

We have compiled some ideas and suggestions that may help if you are planning a memorial service.

1) Timing

As mentioned above, there is no right time to hold a memorial service. If a loved one was lost due to tragic circumstances you may require additional time to come to terms with your loss and therefore a memorial service held several months after the funeral could provide more comfort. Every situation is unique, so choose what feels right for you.

2) Location

Choose a location that you feel represents the deceased in some way. If the deceased was an outdoors enthusiast, why not consider a memorial service that takes place out in the open? Maybe they were a sailor or fisherman, so a waterside location would be ideal. Were they a sports fan? Could you hire a sporting venue? The location should be fitting, but it must also provide suitable access and space for the number of guests you think will attend, so ensure you are mindful of that when making your selection.

3) Music

Music can evoke many memories for people, so choosing the right music to play at a memorial service is important. You could choose some live music or simply organise a few of the deceased’s favourite tracks. You could also consider a piece of music with words that are fitting – it doesn’t have to be something your loved one might have known, if you feel the words in the song are appropriate then others will appreciate it too.

4) Readings and Poems

If there are going to be readings within the service, these can take on many different forms. Maybe someone would like to read a eulogy, if they didn’t feel ready to at the funeral or possibly read something appropriate from the bible. Readings don’t have to be religious; there are many beautiful poems and readings available for you to choose from. Use the Internet or your local library for research and inspiration. It can also be very personal if a reading or poem is written by a friend or family member specifically for the occasion – this may be something you’d like to frame after the service to remember your loved one.

5) Cards and Letters of condolence

It can be a nice idea to display letters and cards of condolence at the memorial service, which you have received since the loss if your loved one. Often these contain memories of time spent with the deceased so can be comforting, informative and even entertaining!

6) Photographs and Memorabilia

Creating a display area or displaying things around the location gives guests the chance to reflect and often learn more about the deceased’s life. Photographs are a fitting way to celebrate someone’s life, as are things like medals, trophies, items they made or any other personal memorabilia.

7) Themes

A memorial service can be themed to really celebrate the passions of the deceased. If your loved one was a music fan, make it a musical event. Maybe they had a sweet tooth  – embellish your service with cakes or an afternoon tea theme. The options are endless and can be completely unique, reflecting the individuality of your loved one.

8) Releases

Releasing something to the sky can be fitting and uplifting for friends and family. Often people look to the skies and think of heaven, so for believers this can be the ideal way to say a final goodbye. You could release balloons with personal messages attached, doves, butterflies, lanterns – whatever you feel is most appropriate. Releases can create a beautiful display and provide a perfect ending to a service.

9) Donations to Charity

If your loved one supported a charity during their lifetime or they were cared for by a charity towards the end of their life, asking guests to make a donation as part of the memorial service is perfectly acceptable. It is nice to feedback to people how much was raised and where it was donated to. This can bring a positive element to any memorial service.

10) How will they be remembered?

Part of a memorial service can involve the planting of a tree, the positioning of a bench, the unveiling of a plaque or many other ideas that leave something in place for the deceased to be remembered by. Whatever you choose, it can be placed in a private location, or with permission in a public place for others to enjoy. Consider who and how the item will be maintained when making your selection.

We hope our ten ideas have provided you with some help and inspiration to plan a truly beautiful final send off for you friend or family member.

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