Creative Ideas for Personalizing a Funeral

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Passare.com shutterstock 242669224 Creative Ideas for Personalizing a Funeral

Have you ever attended a funeral in the past that left you feeling worse than when you arrived? Maybe the funeral was too impersonal and didn’t reflect the life of the one you loved so much. Often, the extent to which services are personalized for the individual directly affects the comfort, hope, and closure experienced by those who attend. Because designing a unique ceremony can help friends and family begin the healing process following a loss, planning is important. If you are planning ahead for your own services or for someone you love, consider how you might include personal elements that are significant, meaningful, and comforting for loved ones.

The Ceremony

The funeral ceremony is an ideal time to bring in meaningful elements to help loved ones reflect and remember. Special music, including live music, selected readings, and shared memories are wonderful ways to bring personal touches to the service. Photo displays and tribute videos that highlight significant moments are also often used to share memories. Another way to personalize a funeral service is to include significant items as part of the arrangement, or to place them in the reception or visitation areas. For example, someone who has worked as a rancher may have their saddle, boots, and riding equipment on display. A person who enjoyed collecting antiques could incorporate favorite pieces, as could someone who had a passion for photography, art, or crafts.  Additionally, it is helpful to choose speakers who can share personal memories and reflections on the life that has been lived.

The Procession

The procession is often overlooked as an opportunity to personalize the service, but many different options may be available in your area. The procession may incorporate any number of elements that are significant to the family, from a motorcycle hearse or beloved fishing boat, to vintage cars, horse-drawn carriage, jazz musicians, and much more.

Location

The location of a funeral or memorial service can also be a significant choice. Outdoor memorial services or graveside services can incorporate butterfly, balloon or dove releases, which help family and friends visualize releasing their loved one. Anyone who enjoys the outdoors could be celebrated in a special place, such as an outdoor garden, a favorite golf course, the beach or lakeside, in a nature preserve, or favorite park. If weather permits, having the ceremony in a beautiful outdoor setting can be a healing reminder of the natural cycle of life and death and may give loved ones some comfort as they begin the healing process.

Reception & Gathering

Spending time with family and friends is important after a loss. A catered meal or pot-luck style gathering can be customized in a number of ways. Planning for specific food or arranging for a certain recipe to be prepared may remind loved ones of home and of special events or holidays. Gatherings can also be organized around a specific theme and accompanied by photos, stories, and even a time for family traditions or activities.  Events in which loved ones can gather for support may also be an ideal occasion for acts of remembrance and closure, such as candle-lightings, symbolic releases, scattering ceremony, or the establishment of physical memorials.

These are just a few suggestions for personalizing a funeral or memorial ceremony. Like the individuals they honor, no two events will look alike or carry the same meaning for those in attendance. The important thing is to plan a service that reflects the life that has been lived and allows family and friends to the opportunity to say goodbye.

One Response to “Creative Ideas for Personalizing a Funeral”

  1. Dave Savage and Beverly Molander

    In our book and website we promote many unique ceremonies to create a more meaningful and heartfelt funeral, memorial service, scattering or time of remembrance.

    We suggest giving many dear friends and family honorary ceremony tasks as one of the ways to acknowledge their connection to the loved one. One suggestion for using memorabilia items is to have family or friends bring particular ones up to a front table as part of a procession of family members to the front row. As they place item on the table, they introduce themselves and share a bit about the significance of the item. “These are the candle sticks that were on the table of 30 delicious Thanksgiving dinners” “This is the ragdoll she made for me when I was born” We share the that items can include not just items that were important to the loved one, but also items that are meaningful to those who morn and celebrate them. Heartfelt Memorial Services: Your Guide for Planning Meaningful Funerlas, Celebrations of Life and Times of Remembrance. Heartfelt MemorialServices.com

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