The Right Way in Planning a Memorial Service
Published August 28, 2020
You’ve probably just lost a loved one, and you have to go through the motions of after-death care. Let me start by extending my deepest condolences if that is the case.
When you find yourself in these situations, you may be inclined to resenting all these things like memorial services and funerals. But you shouldn’t, as these are all part and parcel of the grieving process. Research shows that most Americans believe funerals and memorial services are crucial in getting over and healing from someone’s death.
Many people often confuse memorial services and funerals to be the same thing, but while similar, they do have marginal differences. The main difference between the two is that funeral services have the departed’s body present while memorial services do not. In memorial services, the focal point may instead be an urn or a framed picture.
There is just this universal need to commemorate departed loved ones in one way or another. And like most after-death ceremonies, memorial services are a great way for family members and friends to celebrate their loved one’s life. These ceremonies are akin to the closing credits of a movie, a fitting resolution.
How much do memorial services typically cost?
There isn’t one fixed cost for all memorial services, and that is because each one of them is unique. Depending on what packages and add ons you’d like to include, those costs will add up. Typically though, you are looking at a minimum of $800 to host a simple memorial service.
How do I plan a memorial service?
Planning a memorial service well sets the tone for what’s to come during the actual event. The first question you should answer is, “who should plan the service?” Many companies and businesses have expert planners in charge of putting together the most beautiful programs. Still, they’ll need valuable input from family members and close friends to make the event truly special.
Here are the following things you’ll want to do in planning a memorial service:
Like a birthday party, decide on a theme.
Similar to a birthday party, themes can be integral in a memorial service. Knowing the departed’s personality, you have to ask yourself, “how would they want to be remembered?” Maybe the departed was a notorious joker, so you might want to make the service a bit more upbeat and less somber. Or perhaps they took pride in a particular hobby, then that should be the central theme. Whatever the case, this memorial is about the deceased, so you should plan it with that mindset.
Included in the theme are the music, flowers, and all the decorations.
Decide on a specific date, time, and location.
The great thing about hosting a memorial service is that you need not have it at a funeral home. You could host one in the park or another place that the departed cherished. Most people hold memorials within a few weeks after their loved one’s death.
When selecting a location, date, and time, you’ll want to keep convenience in mind. While you want to choose a meaningful place, maybe it might not be accessible by all. Likewise, select a date that allows everyone to prepare and travel if coming from other states.
You should know that you can have multiple memorials, catered to specific groups of people in the departed’s life.
Write an obituary or death notice.
Obituaries are an efficient and formal way to inform people of someone’s death. Depending on the situation, you’ll need to supply pertinent information surrounding your loved one’s passing. You should include details of a funeral, cremation, wake, and memorial service here too.
Create a guest list, and send out invites or evites.
If you want your memorial to be a small gathering of close relatives and friends, this is necessary. Otherwise, you can deliver the message just fine in the obituary.
Come up with a program for the event.
The program doesn’t have to be lengthy and complicated. You’ll just have to sequence the activities that comes first, what’s next, until the end of the event. Depending on what religion your family practices, you may want to include scripture reading and hymns.
Select good speakers.
One of the mainstays in memorial services is the stories loved ones share, reflecting on their fond memories. When it comes to the grieving process, I feel like this part is especially important. Exchanging anecdotes about the departed seems to be a very effective and essential part of the process. You’ll want to select a few significant people who are adept at speaking to deliver a eulogy.
Decide on appropriate memorial gifts.
Memorial gifts are small tokens and keepsakes to help the attendees remember the departed. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or grand. Keep it simple; something like a small keychain with a picture of the deceased may be ideal.
Plan the reception.
Food is an important part of many gatherings. It simply has the ability to bring people together. Some families choose to have a pot luck, while others hire catering services. Should you opt to have a reception, you’ll want to delineate this information on your invites.
Execute the plan.
The best plans are only realized with proper execution. Ideally, a week before the event, you’ll want to ensure that everything is in order. This means contacting all of the relevant parties ahead of time, so you don’t meet any unnecessary road bumps.
About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.