Frazer Blog

40 Ideas to Assist a Family in Memorializing their Loved One

by | Nov 6, 2015 | For Families

Woman standing outside

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

Memorial Releases

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

Memorial Jewelry

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!


  1. Manticore

    Please don’t release balloons! Balloons end up littering the ocean and environment! Sea turtles mistake them for jellyfish and eat them, they can kill birds and mammals who get entangled in the string, just please remove that one, it’s a terrible thing, even the idea of it. You send these balloons up to your loved one, and they end up trash on the ground? It’s just bad.

    • Samantha Ward

      Thank you for your comment! We have removed the section about releasing balloons in order to help protect the environment.

      • Lisianthus

        Please don’t remove the balloon release idea. There are biodegradable balloons made especially for memorials.

        • Elizabeth

          Ya – I thought that I heard that they’re made special so that they breakdown. That’s great!

      • mary Hill

        There are biodegradable balloons, and its a great way for family to write a message then release…You can find them on Amazon

    • Matthew

      I like the idea of a tree planting but anything else along that line to show respect of a loved one

  2. Corinne

    thank you Manticore – I agree 1000% – releasing balloons is not fashionable any longer- please respect our natural world along with loving your beloved you are memorializing – thank you

    • Samantha Ward

      Thank you for your comment! We have removed the section about releasing balloons in order to help protect the environment.

  3. Tina Elliott

    I agree that the idea of balloon releasing should be removed!

    • Samantha Ward

      Thank you for your comment! We have removed the section about releasing balloons in order to help protect the environment.

  4. Kristina

    This is so beautiful. I’m trying to figure out a way to honor my boyfriends grandfather. I wanted to get something for his mother and i’m so happy i found this. Thank you so much.

  5. Janet McClure

    Can a scholarship or an endowment be considered a memorial?

    • Samantha Ward

      Absolutely! There are many families who dedicate a scholarship, endowment, or charitable donation to their loved ones who have passed.

  6. Kelly

    Wonderful ideas! I am going to put some of the ideas to use at our family reunion in remembrance of those who have passed. Thanks for taking the time to put together this wonderful website. Kelly

  7. Kate

    Do you have the exact link to the handwritten necklace you show?

  8. Michelle

    I do release balloons in my son’s memory, but I use the ones that biodegrade without strings… that’s important to put them in a net and do not put strings on the balloons because they can strangle wildlife and sea life, but the latex biodegradable balloons in a net that you release are fine. It is a great way to say Happy Birthday to your loved one by writing messages on them, but please no mylar balloons and no strings attached. You can find the netting online (amazon) for cheap. Blessings to everyone who suffers from loss as I do.

  9. Michael Bred.....

    Another idea woumd be to have the wreath flowers dry pressed and made into a memory pucture frames with picture and favourite poem

  10. Marcus Coons

    I had no idea that you could opt for jewelry when dealing with funeral arrangements. It is important to understand that doing some research can help you find the best way to remember your loved ones. It is also a good idea to seek the help of a reputable funeral company in your area.

    • Lisa

      Yes, When my son passed. I had him buried so no ashes…But that didn’t stop anything. I had the back of his braids cut off and I used the hair in the urn necklaces and rings. Gave them to his children, my siblings, his father and my mom and my other two children with a message. Your Strength is in your hair. Your Strength with his Strength will get you thru the rough times when you miss him.

  11. Ridley Fitzgerald

    You’ve got great tips for creative memorial ideas here. I like how you said that the past couple of years have shown more people wanting customized services. I’d love something cool for my parents, like burial at see or something.

  12. Anonymous

    THANK YOU ALL FOR THE COMMENTS. I wanted to release lanterns but found out its prohibited in New York City. It a matter of Homeland Security and Fire Marshall.

  13. Angela Waterford

    I like the idea of having a memorial release for my funeral when I pass away since they can say goodbye to me in a meaningful way. I’ve been told by my grandfather many friends of his have moved on to the afterlife without any plans for their funerals, and their families never knew what to do or how to plan things, and he doesn’t want this to happen to me in the future. Perhaps he will be happy if I tell him that I’ll look for a funeral home that can help me pre-plan my funeral as well as his so that he won’t have to worry about his family when that time comes.

  14. Bobette Bryan

    Please don’t release doves. It’s cruel! Most of them die.

  15. Mandy

    For the balloon option there are biodegradable balloons that you can purchase that are safe for the environment.

  16. Alice Carroll

    It’s good to know that dove releases symbolize letting go of a lost loved one. One of the requests of my grandmother before she dies is to release her ashes into the sea on her first death anniversary. Perhaps we should also consider releasing doves on that day to add to the solemnity of the occasion.


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