A funeral bulletin with a single red rose.

How to Plan a Memorial Service to Remember a Loved One

When a loved one passes without leaving instructions for their funeral it can be stressful on the surviving family members. Getting family members to agree on how the arrangements should be carried out is cumbersome at times. Everyone has to come together to memorialize the deceased with dignity.

A memorial service differs from a traditional funeral. There may or may not be a pastor, and the location does not have to be a church. Memorial services are a way to remember a family member in a more relaxed setting and without certain protocols.

Family members can host a memorial service at any time, even when the body has been cremated. This is a benefit when the cost is a factor. 

Have you experienced the loss of someone special? Keep reading for tips on how to plan a memorial service to remember a loved one.

Will You Need a Funeral Home?

It is a misconception that you must hire a funeral home when someone dies. It may be more convenient to have professionals handle the details, but it isn’t required.

Families have the option to coordinate the tasks that need to be performed. When it comes to preparing the body for burial, it is best to go with a funeral home. If cremation is needed, a crematorium can save on expenses. 

With cremation, families avoid the expense of buying expensive caskets, burial plots, and the need or hearse and transportation fees. You can find out more about what to expect here.

Choose a Location for the Memorial Service

Part of planning a memorial service is finding the perfect location. The place you choose should represent a place significant to the deceased. If they loved the water, rent a location on the beach, or if they loved gardening, choose a botanical garden.

It can even take place at the home of a family or friend. A memorial service can be held anywhere since there is no casket involved.

Select a Speaker

Your memorial planning will often include a speaker. It doesn’t have to be a member of the clergy because memorials typically do not include a eulogy.

Oftentimes the speaker is someone close to the person being remembered. A sibling, best friend, or even their children can speak at the service. 

If desired, you can choose a topic for the speaker and set a time limit on how long they can speak.

Decide on Presentations and Performances

Planning a memorial service means making sure every base is covered. Create a checklist to make sure nothing is forgotten. Determine if there will be presentations made or performances to illustrate their life.

Presentations can be in the form of resolutions from government officials. Or you may want to have someone read cards and letters. In cases where the person was about to receive a degree or other honor, it can be done posthumously. 

Poetry readings and liturgical dance performances are also a meaningful addition to the program. 

Hire a Videographer

Whether you’re hosting a funeral or a memorial service, there will be people who simply cannot attend in person. Live streaming has made it possible to share important moments with others. Not only do you want to capture the service for your own keepsake, but you can also stream it live for those who couldn’t travel to be there.

Not only can family and friends watch live, but they will also be grateful they could participate remotely.

Memorial planning can have you feeling disconnected because you’re focused on making sure things go as planned. The ability to watch the service after everyone is gone can be therapeutic.

Pick a Color Scheme

In planning a memorial service think of things about your loved one that you want to highlight. This includes their favorite flowers, songs, and colors. 

A decorative theme that includes their favorite color scheme is a special touch. Those in attendance will be reminded of the things that made their family member or friend so unique. 

Use the colors in the program, floral arrangements, balloons, and table set-ups. Family and friends can be asked to wear attire that includes the selected colors. 

Design a Program

Programs are a popular staple at funerals, and memorial services are no different. Traditional programs are often limited to an obituary, an order of service, and a thank you message from the family, but yours can be as expressive as you’d like.

For the memorial, you can include information about the deceased individual and their loved ones, as well as photos. Memorials are typically smaller in attendance so you can invest a little more in creating a program that guests will cherish.

Create a Public Announcement

Placing an announcement in the local newspaper may not be as popular as it used to be. With the popularity of social media, you can craft a digital announcement and post it to Facebook and other channels. Tag the page of the person who has passed, as well as other family members.

By doing this, you’ll reach more people that will be interested in attending the memorial service. The best part is that it doesn’t cost anything to announce the service. 

Have T-Shirts Designed

Although it isn’t necessary, a tradition has formed that includes family and friends having memorial t-shirts made with their loved one’s picture on the front. This idea works well for informal settings where the family is planning a memorial service at a park or other public location.

It is also a good idea for when a memorial service isn’t held within a week of the loved one’s death.

Memorial Services Can Be Stress-free

Now that you have these steps to planning a memorial service, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Pulling off a service that honors your loved one’s memory can be meaningful, inexpensive, and stress-free.

For more advice to guide you through the ups and downs of life, make sure to check out the rest of our site.