The difference between a funeral and a memorial service is simple: a funeral is held with the body of the deceased present, while a memorial may take place later, with or without cremated remains, present during the ceremony. Whether you choose traditional earth burial or alternative interment for your loved one, consider hosting a memorial service to further celebrate the life lived.
Some tips for a tasteful and memorable memorial service include:
Visual displays. Set up visual displays, photos, video, or an arrangement of some of the deceased's possessions, collections, or accolades for guests to peruse during or following the memorial service
A master of ceremonies. Designate a master of ceremonies, often a family friend or a pastor, who can provide some biographical information about the deceased and that will introduce those that will be speaking or reading. It is perfectly acceptable to provide a script of what you want mentioned to this host before your service.
An attitude of gratitude. Make sure to express an attitude of gratitude that will foster your guests and attendants with paying it forward and doing good works. Generate positivity at the memorial service that those in attendance will take with them when they leave your event.
Joyous music. Hire live music for your service. Consider having someone sing to create a joyous vibe during the proceedings.
A living legacy. Leave a living legacy of your loved one during the service. Consider planting a tree in memory of the deceased or contributing ashes to become part of a coral reef during ocean burials.
Simple flowers. Opt for simple floral displays that can later be donated to a local nursing home or hospital in the deceased's community.
A moment of silence. Ask your guests to end the memorial with a moment of silence. Those who wish to pray may do so, others may simply reflect on the person that has passed.
Fine food. Refreshments are traditionally the responsibility of the deceased's family. Consider hiring a local caterer or asking a group of friends to each bring specific food items to the event to make things a bit easier. When individuals ask if they can help, recruit them to bring a dish and feed your guests.
A memento for guests. Create a distinctive program that can serve as a keepsake. Consider giving guests a parting gift that symbolizes the event, such as a single candle tied with a memorial ribbon or a packet of seeds to represent life after death
Many may choose to have memorial services to mark an anniversary of a passing or a special occasion, like the deceased's birthday. Whatever the circumstances, use these tips to ensure your service is tasteful, dignified, and unlike any other. Contact a local funeral home for information about conducting a memorial service, or about other matters such as obtaining a headstone for the resting place of the deceased.