There are occasions when you prefer to honor or celebrate a loved one’s life without a traditional funeral or weeks or months after they pass away. You may choose to have a private, direct burial and gathering with family, friends and the community at a later date. Your decision to hold a memorial service may be dictated by weather, family and friends unable to gather until later, health concerns or wanting to bury your loved one or scatter their cremains at a distant location that is special to you or them. When the time is right, a memorial service is a beautiful way to pay tribute to your loved one.
How does a memorial service differ from a funeral?
The biggest difference is that your loved one’s body is not present in a casket at the service. You may, however, choose to display a framed photograph of your loved one or their urn containing their cremated remains. Memorial services are typically less expensive than a funeral service although that varies by where you hold it and what you do.
Where can you hold a memorial service?
Memorial services can be held almost anywhere. You can gather in a place of worship, at one of our chapels, at the graveside, in a park, community hall, an athletic field or somewhere of importance to you or your loved one.
How can you personalize the service?
Because the memorial service is not tied to a religious ceremony, you have the flexibility to make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. You can personalize the service with photographs of your loved one, a video, favorite music and selected poems or readings. You can stage the services around your loved one’s pastimes or passions such as a quilting bee, farming, a sporting event, boating, skiing, their college alma mater, cultural traditions or ethnic heritage. At a memorial service you can plant a tree, float notes or flowers in a stream, or blow bubbles. Memorial services are very individualized.
Who should you invite?
If the service will be held weeks after your loved one’s death, send invitations to anyone you would like to attend. Make sure the invitations arrive in enough time for out-of-town guests to make travel arrangements. Decide who will lead the memorial service. It can be a member of the clergy, a family member, friend or you.
One of the most valuable aspects of a memorial service is allowing guests an opportunity to share memories and inspiring or funny stories of your loved one. If you hold the services at one of our chapels, we can live stream and record it so those that cannot attend can see it. The recording also makes a nice keepsake.
Provide food and drinks.
Whether you cater in a full meal, raise glasses at a local winery or brewery or provide light snacks, offering food gives people more time to share stories or to serve your loved one’s special recipes.
Need help in planning the memorial service? Let us be the shoulder you lean on.
We have years of experience listening, brainstorming and advising families like yours how they can best pay tribute to a beloved family member. We will explore your options with you in detail, taking all the time you need.