Like the first snowfall of the season, the holidays tend to come before we’re ready. If you’re thinking about putting on a holiday remembrance program this year (hint: you should!), here are some questions to start asking to better prepare and get you ready for the event planning process.
Questions to Ask Before You Begin Planning
What type of event is it?
Believe it or not, a holiday remembrance program can take many forms. It could be an early afternoon luncheon, a more reserved and traditional service, or a festive celebration of life type of event. Make sure before you start planning you have an exact idea of what you want in mind.
What is your budget?
There’s a lot that goes into planning a holiday remembrance program. But everything is determined by the budget. By setting your budget early, you’ll have a better idea of the options available for you and your staff when planning the event.
When is the best time to hold the event?
The holidays are a busy time. You’ll want to have the date and time set early, so you can start marketing the event. The more time you have to market the date, the easier it is for families to mark it down and save the date. Consider polling the community in the next few weeks to see what dates and times work well.
What location is best for this type of event?
Once you have a date in mind, it’s time to start thinking about locations. For some, hosting it at your funeral home should work just fine. But if you plan on having a larger service, with food and drinks or guest speakers, you might need to consider a third-party venue.
How many guests are you expecting?
This question is also important, as it factors into the question above. If you had a holiday remembrance program in the past, then use that guest count from year’s past to give you an idea of headcount. But if it’s your first year, try asking families to respond with an RSVP to give you an idea of how many people to expect.
Will you serve food and drinks?
If yes, you’ll need to start thinking about what kind of food and drinks you’ll be serving. Will it be a few light holiday snacks? Or a full meal? After you decide what to serve, you’ll need to think about how or who will provide it. Catering services and restaurants begin to book up fast during the holidays, so it’s best to start early.
How will this event stand out?
As we mentioned, the holidays are an exceptionally busy time for families and there will be several community events going on. Think of a way to make your holiday remembrance a special and memorable experience for families.
What are your sound system and audio-visual needs?
If you plan on having entertainment — such as holiday music or a remembrance slideshow — you’ll need to figure out what type of audio-visual and sound equipment you’ll need. If you plan on renting it, remember, things book up fast as we gear up for the holidays.
Will there be outside entertainment/speakers?
Some funeral homes like to have some third-party speakers at their holiday remembrance program. For example, your remembrance program could include a grief counselor, a spiritual leader, or a funeral celebrant. As with everything else, you’ll want to confirm that your guest speaker is available for the date of your remembrance program.
For additional planning tips, download our free holiday remembrance planning guide.