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Planning a Memorial Service - Three Simple Steps
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 being remembered.

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 service.

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


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