Planning a Memorial Service - Three
By Kim Gibson
Holding a memorial service to honor someone who has died
is an increasingly popular alternative to a formal
funeral. There are several reasons for the trend-the
cost of a traditional funeral may be out of reach or the
person's family may be delayed in gathering. No matter
what the reason, it's possible to plan a memorial
ceremony that honors the unique qualities of the person
who has passed. Follow these three steps for planning a
suitable memorial service.
Step One: Picking an Appropriate Time and Place
One advantage to choosing a memorial over a funeral
service is that there's less time pressure. A memorial
is usually held for someone who has already been buried
in a private ceremony, or has chosen cremation. It's
appropriate to choose a time that's convenient for the
people most likely to attend-friend, families or
co-workers, so they're able to honor the deceased.
Another consideration is the availability of the
location where the memorial service will be held.
On that note, you may choose to hold the memorial at a
place that held special significance for the one who has
died. You could hold the gathering at a church, a
private home or just about anywhere that brings to mind
the person being memorialized. That's truly the key to
planning an appropriate memorial, keeping it focused on
the life, accomplishments and experiences of the one
Step Two: Setting the Right Tone
Would the person wish to be remembered by humor, by
sharing special memories or through a visual display of
what was special to them? Those elements, and many
others, are perfectly appropriate in a memorial service.
As you're planning the memorial, decide what tone it
will take and communicate that to the people who'll
attend so they'll be prepared to participate. Some
interesting ways people have been remembered are:
sharing a meal made up of their favorite foods,
performing music special to them, collecting special
photographs for display and recording the memories of
friends and loved ones as a permanent video memorial.
Step Three: Taking Advantage of Memorial Planning Tools
There are a number of helpful tools available to help
you plan a special memorial. Here are some examples:
• Programs, keepsakes and thank you cards personalized
with poems, photographs and quotations.
• Journals or guest books for sharing memories.
• Memorial planning checklists.
• Online memorial sites for collecting memories prior to
The death of someone you care for is understandably
difficult, but planning an appropriate memorial doesn't
have to be. Use these guidelines to begin planning, but
most of all, keep the occasion focused on the things
that best represent the one who's gone. In that way,
their leave taking can be just as meaningful as the
unique life they have lived.
Kimberly Gibson is owner of Elegant Memorials Funeral
Program Template. She also writes and publishes a wide
range of articles in funeral and memorial planning
including articles on memorial service ideas