The last several years have been marked by an increase in the number of families looking to personalize their or a loved one’s funeral, resulting from the aging population’s tendency to make funeral choices based on values that are different than in previous generations.
Today’s families are looking to plan funeral services that are as unique as the person who died, oftentimes reflecting the hobbies, passions, and interests of the deceased.
Check out these 40 ideas to help families memorialize their loved one long after the service.
Creative Photo and Message Displays
Memorialize a loved one through creative displays of personal photos and condolence messages. These unique displays are easy to create and will show families that you are willing to go the extra mile to help them commemorate their loved one.
1. Photo Display with Balloons
2. Memorial Tree
3. Photo Quilt
4. Memorial Stones for Condolence Messages
Families are increasingly memorializing their loved one through celebration of life events in lieu of traditional funeral services. This stems from the desire for more personalized, informal gatherings to reflect upon and celebrate their loved one’s life. Memorial releases like the ones listed below make great additions to life celebration events and help the family say goodbye to their loved one in a meaningful way.
5. Butterfly Release
6. Balloon Release
A previous version of this article included a balloon release, but after much feedback, we suggest finding an alternative that is safer for the environment.
7. Dove Release
8. Lantern Release
Following a service, many family members may be looking for a way to keep their loved one with them wherever they go — memorial jewelry is a great solution.
9. Cremation Jewelry
10. Handwritten Memorial Jewelry
11. Beads Made from Sympathy Flowers
12. Locket with Favorite Photo of the Deceased
Creative Memorial Frame and Photo Ideas
Frames and photos are a great way to personalize a celebration of life gathering — from displaying favorite pictures to offering a unique sign-in experience for guests — and the options are truly endless. See below for some of our favorite frame ideas.
13. Alternative Funeral Guestbook
14. Memorial Shadowbox
15. Photo Wreath
16. Signable Photo Frame
Custom Treasured Keepsakes
Today’s families are far more value-conscious than in the past, and they are looking for unique personalized keepsakes to honor their loved one.
17. Photo Keepsake Book
18. Customized Thank-You Cards
19. Memorial Candles
20. Memorial Glass or Crystal Ornament
21. Memorial DVD
Food and Drink
Serving the favorite foods and beverages of the deceased is an endearing way to personalize a funeral service.
22. Offer the Deceased’s Favorite Treats in a Candy Bar
23. Serve a Favorite Beverage
24. Cook a Favorite Food or Dish
Let Your Love Grow
Planting a tree, shrub, or flowers in honor of the deceased is a beautiful way to commemorate a loved one and create a permanent memorial for friends and family to gather in remembrance.
25. Plant a Memorial Tree in the Decedent’s Name
26. Hand Out Keepsake Saplings to Funeral Attendees
27. Plant a Remembrance Tree from Cremated Remains
Personalize the Funeral Service
Look for ways to personalize the funeral service so it serves as a direct reflection of the deceased loved one, their life, and their existing legacy.
28. Involve Family and Friends
29. Hand Out Personalized Programs and Prayer Cards
30. Play a Favorite Song or Artist of the Deceased During the Service
Highlight the Deceased’s Hobbies or Interests
There is no better way to showcase a loved one’s passions at a funeral service than by adding their favorite hobbies and interests to the mix.
31. Incorporate Favorite Sports
32. Showcase a Map of Their Travels
33. Display Favorite Books
34. Ask Family and Friends to Wear Clothing Representative of the Deceased’s Favorite Sports Team
Showcase Favorite Items
Ask families to bring in some of their loved one’s favorite items to create a more meaningful and personalized service.
35. Display Favorite Collections
36. Repurpose a Favorite Shirt into a Pillow
37. Exhibit Favorite Artwork (i.e. Sculptures, Paintings, or Drawings)
Invite Guests to Take Home a Memento
Many guests that attend a funeral service may be looking to take home a keepsake item in memory of their departed friend or relative. Provide keepsakes like those listed below for memorializing the deceased.
38. Memory Stones
39. Forget-Me-Not Seed Packets
40. Memory Pocket Charms
Any other ideas on how to personalize your funeral services? Share your favorite recommendations in the comments below!