What is a Memorial Service?
Unlike the traditional funeral, a memorial service is a gathering where a casket is not present (although the urn with the cremated remains may be on display). A memorial service can be held weeks or even months after the death.
A memorial service can be held in a church, the funeral home or a community hall, or somewhere of importance to the deceased and family. There is usually music, selected readings, and a eulogy. Memorial services can be further personalized as a celebration-of-life
Memorial Service Ideas
Our experience has shown us that many of today's families want more than a traditional funeral. This can be done by bringing more of the personality and lifestyle of the deceased into the arrangements. By displaying photographs or staging the event around a favorite pastime, a memorial service can become more personal and meaningful.
If a personalized memorial service suits the needs of your family, we suggest you consider the following questions:
What did your loved one like to do?
What was he or she like as an individual?
What was their profession and how did that shape their life?
Was your loved one spiritual?
Was he or she proud of their cultural or ethnic heritage?
When it comes to planning a celebration of life, the possibilities are truly endless.If you really want to personalize a service to reflect your loved one ’s interests, consider what they loved most about life and plan around that. For inspiration, here are five different themes/ ideas for a celebration of life.
The Sailing Lover
If your loved one enjoyed spending their free time on the water, pay tribute to that with this sailing-themed celebration of life. If you are planning to hold the service at a funeral home or another venue, decorate the space with a nautical theme. This could include sailing hats for guests to wear, a large ship steering wheel or miniature tall ships set out as the centerpiece for tables around the room.
If you really want to think outside the box, hold the event on a yacht or large ship. If you can find a vessel to accommodate the guests, use it as the venue and celebrate your loved one’s life on the water. You could even use this as an opportunity to spread their ashes during the service.
The Sports Fan
For some people, sports are a major part of their life. Whether it's watching every game or participating in rec leagues every week, it can be something you invest a lot of time into. If this was the case for your loved one, honor them with a sports-themed celebration of life. For this theme, consider decorating the venue with memorabilia and decorations of their favorite team.
If you want to take this theme even further, organize a tournament in memory of them. Whether it’s a softball tournament or golf tournament, you can have guests gather to spend time playing the sport that the deceased loved. You could even collect donations at the event and make a charitable donation in memory of the deceased.
The Charitable Person
Was your loved one a caring and charitable person? If so, you could organize an event around celebrating the life of the deceased while raising money for a charity they loved. The charity event could be an elaborate event or a casual party where people can leave a donation to be pooled together and donated in the deceased ’s name.
Did your loved one love food? If they were the type of person who loved to make or eat delicious food and appreciated trying new things, organize a dinner party that serves their favorite foods. This will allow guests to eat the foods your loved one loved, and feel a connection to them. You could even turn the service into a potluck and ask guests to try and recreate your loved one’s signature dishes.
Board games are something that can bring people together for hours of laughter and entertainment. If your loved one was someone who enjoyed playing games, including that in their celebration of life. Not only will it provide guests a different atmosphere than they may be accustomed to at funeral services, it allows them time to share stories with one another.
For this theme, set up board games, cards or other table games around the venue. Ask them to share memories of the deceased as they play games together. If you want to get really creative, set up Jenga blocks. Ask the guests to each write a memory on a block when they remove it from the tower. After the service, your family will have a game full of memories to take home and remember your loved one next time you play.
We're Here to Advise, Assist, and Guide You
Using the above five questions as our guide, we will spend the time to help create a fitting memorial service for your loved one. Please call us at 732-449-6900 to learn the details of our memorial service planning process.