We have performed many beautiful and unique services and we know that families that do take the time to create something that reflects their loved ones life save that memory in their hearts forever.
Here are some ideas that will inspire you to plan the perfect final farewell.
Planning a funeral can be stressful at an already difficult time. Making important choices about the type of funeral, what kind of music to have, where to have the wake – always wondering if it’s what they would have wanted.
Whether you’re trying to arrange a fitting tribute for someone special or thinking ahead to what you’d like your own funeral to be like, check out these memorial celebration of life ideas for inspiration.
- Play favourite songs or musical selections
Don’t be afraid to choose non-traditional music for a funeral. Many churches and places of worship will now let you play pop songs instead of religious music. You could also create a playlist to play at the wake. When having the service at the funeral home you could have those musical selection played throughout the service and reception Or why not create your ultimate playlist that you want played at your own funeral?
- Re-use/Recycle funeral flowers
Floral tributes are a beautiful funeral tradition, but in the days after the funeral these flowers will eventually be thrown away. Press flowers instead to preserve them and display them in a picture frame for a lasting memento. Or take them to a nursing home of long-term care facility to cheer someone else’s day.
- Share favourite books
If your loved one was a book lover, sharing copies of their favourite books could be a fitting tribute. Add a memorial bookplate in the inside front cover in honour of your loved one. We had one family who brought in many books to the service and asked that everyone who would like take one home to read. It was great hearing all the comments and discussions about the books and the memories!
- Ask everyone to dress in their team’s colours
Avid sport fans will always be remembered for their passion and dedication to their favourite team. Themed sport services are rising in popularity, with guests dressing in team colours and coordinated funeral flowers. You can even take this to the food served at the reception to include items fitting for game day, like chips and salsa.
- Design your memorial card
Memorial cards that detail the services are given out to everyone at a service. Usually these include at least one photo, and maybe a watermark but why not make it a collage of all your favourite photos? Guests can then keep the pamphlet as a precious memento. Use the entire card including the back for all sorts of memories. Add favourite sayings or poems, even a life story tribute
7) Create a tree of memories
Memory trees are a great way to get quests to share their best memories of the person who has died. Simply place branches in a large vase and provide colourful labels and pens. Ask guests to write down their memories or thoughts and hang each one on the tree.
By the end of the funeral or wake, you’ll have a tree full of memories which others can read and enjoy. You can also save the labels in a photo album or memory box.
One of our families had glass ornaments that everyone wrote a message on. The family told us it gave them great comfort reading them long after the service and used them on the Christmas tree on the first Christmas of the passing.
- Personalize the food selections
If you’re serving food at the reception, choosing your loved one’s favourite dishes is a great way to remember them. At some funerals, people hand out their loved one’s favourite sweets or chocolate bars as a keepsake, much like we do a weddings and other celebrations in our lives
- Have a party instead of a Service
Celebration of life services are quickly becoming a popular choice for those who’d rather remember the good times and celebrate a life well-lived. Increasingly, people are choosing to play music, dance and even sing karaoke at service, as a way of remembering someone who loved to have fun. Families can also book private rooms at dining establishments or pubs.
- Host an open mic session
Eulogies are a formal speech given during the funeral service, but there’s usually not time for everyone to say their piece. At the reception you could give everyone a chance to be heard. It’s a great way to share memories and life stories.
- Give memorial candles as a gift
Sharing a memorial candle with each quest will help them pay tribute in the days and weeks after the funeral. You can have candles personalized with the person’s name or photograph for a special touch. There are also many others types of mementos that you can personalize. Ask your funeral director for what they might offer.
- Create a Personalized DVD video tribute
Make a video compilation of your favourite photos and video clips. It’s a perfect way to show memories at the reception or funeral service.
- Plant a tree in their honour
A tree is a living memorial to someone special that continues to grow year after year. Particularly appropriate if your loved one was a keen gardener, you can even have a small memorial ceremony when planting the tree. Most parks and cemeteries have tree planting or bench programs.
- Give out seed packets
A growing trend is to give people attending the service seed packets. They can then grow flowers or plants in that person’s memory for a lasting memorial in their own back garden. Forget-me-nots are a popular choice.
- Include Pets
Man’s best friend deserves a place at a funeral too. While some churches might not allow dogs, it might be appropriate to bring a beloved family pet to the funeral home. Sometimes these four-legged friends can give the family great comfort and allow the pet to mourn as well.
- Stage a dove release (we do not recommend balloon releases to protect the wildlife)
Doves are symbols of peace and love in many religions. Specialist companies offer beautiful dove releases for funerals as part of the ceremony.
- Incorporate hobbies into the decorations
You can incorporate small items like fishing lures, golf balls or miniature flags into flower arrangements and decorations. If your loved one had a hobby they loved, try to represent it in the decorations.
- Ask guests to make a donation
People often ask mourners to make a donation to charity instead of sending flowers. Choose a cause that was close to your loved one’s heart for a personal legacy that will make a difference.
- Make it uniquely you in every way possible
There are so many different things we are involved in our lives so why not incorporate that into your service?
- That special recipe that you never told anyone
- Your favourite homemade jam in jars for a beautiful display
- Place Moms or Grandmas handmade quilts on every pew
- Put out Grandpas or Dads fishing gear and give everyone a special lure
- Have all the gardening tools at the front and give everyone a little plant to take home
Crafts, hobbies, likes….think of different ways a memory can be left that will help your family remember the good times and lift their spirits as they mourn their loss
These are just a few ways that we can personalize services. We hope that this has inspired you to create something memorable for your family
Remember….Your imagination is the only limit