When planning the elements for a funeral or memorial service, the focus should be on the deceased person and all the items used should in some way reflect their personality, interests, or have special meaning that tells the story of their life.
One of the essentials of any personalized funeral service is a memory table. We love memory tables because you can do so much with them. You could even make multiple memory tables that are set-up like “stations” to represent different chapters or passions in the deceased person’s life. The possibilities truly are endless here, so encourage your families to use their imagination. A Memory table can placed in the entry area or beside the casket.
Place a large photo of your loved one on the table along with some smaller photos or photo album. Another option is to include memorabilia or favorite items from your loved one. This could include metals or achievements for military service, crafts or other items created by your loved one, and favorite flowers.
Prayer Cards and alternatives
Guests usually expect prayer cards to be available. The funeral home can prepare these for you or you can make your own. Prayers cards feature a photo or image on one side and a prayer or poem on the back side and include the name, birthdate and date of death of you loved one.
An alternative to a prayer card is a service booklet, which is larger—often 5.5x8.5, and can include more details about your loved one, the official obituary and service details.
A third option is to create something unique and special for guests. One example could be recipe cards with your loved one's favorite recipe. Another option could be a collection of photos or poems taken by the loved one.
Flowers are generally a part of every funeral service and they provide a great way to customize the ceremony to the life lived. But there are other ways besides choosing their favorite bloom or color. Some alternatives include creating a wreath decorated with artificial flowers and other elements that represent your loved one. For example, you could create a patriotic themed wreath for a veteran. If the departed was a competitive athlete, displaying his or her sports awards is a another way to personal the service.
Another way to help make the process of gathering the loved one’s belongings feel like a celebration is by encouraging the spouse, parent or children to turn them into a new piece of decor they can see and smile. Gather her scarf collection or his tie wardrobe and make a family event of weaving them together over twine to create something beautiful and special to hang at home after it adorns the service.
Transform funeral flowers into beads
Instead of letting all the beautiful funeral flowers go to waste when the service is over, you could create a keepsake with them? In this easy tutorial, you can learn how to create funeral beads and make necklaces, bracelets and even earrings with them. It’s an easy, affordable way to turn what would be waste into a beautiful treasure to be kept forever. And, it’s a beautiful way to get the family bonding together even after the service is over.
Embrace the communities they belong to
Whether it’s a club, an organization or even a friend group, these communities are often an invaluable treasure in a person’s life. One great way to represent communities in your funeral personalization is to incorporate their colors, emblems or logo into the service decor.
For example, if they were in a fraternity or sorority, you could hang up their chapter’s flag inside of the casket. You could also request that family and friends send flowers in the colors that are representative of the greek organization their loved one belonged to.
Light candles to honor the deceased
It’s a well known fact that you never forget a smell. And if your family can recall a certain smell that reminds them of their loved one (think grandma’s apple pie), suggest that the family light a few candles that add a healing aroma to the service.
Memorial Stone Station
Set up a station with small stones and permanent markers. Then, create a sign that instructs every guest to write their names and a brief note on a rock to honor the loved one. The family can choose to keep the rocks in their home, garden or scatter them somewhere that’s meaningful to the deceased.
When planning a funeral or memorial service there are usually numerous decisions to make in regards to selecting songs, prayers or poems. Much like the choices made for the decorations, when planning the elements for a funeral or memorial service the focus should be on the deceased person and the selections made should reflect their personality, interests or have special meaning.
A wonderful element for a funeral or a memorial service is a personalized video presentation, which includes a selection of photos showing the life of the deceased person set to specially selected music. Our funeral home includes this as part of most of our funeral packages.
There are several things to keep in mind when making a personalized video for a funeral or memorial service. The first thing to consider are that the photos chosen should span the years of the deceased person. We usually select photos from childhood through to the end of their life including memorable events, special occasions or other milestones.
The second thing to consider is the music selection. It should be a song that holds special meaning. Maybe the song could be the deceased person’s favorite song by their favorite musical artist or maybe one that you personally selected because of the meaning of the lyrics or a classical song or a church hymn.
During the warmer months, our funeral home can host your funeral or memorial service in our outdoor garden area. We can arrange for special touches including butterfly release, live musicians, and rifle salute for veterans. You can learn more about our Garden funerals here.
John P. Feeney Funeral Home can assist you and your family with creating a personalized service.