Honoring The Life Of A Loved One With A Memorial

Photo by Fabiola Ulate from Pexels

When the death of a loved one transpires, the idea of planning a memorial can seem confusing or overwhelming. You could wonder where to begin and stop or the difference between a funeral and a memorial. Here, guidance on preparing an intimate, meaningful, or even non-traditional memorial is offered, which can assist in easing your questions and worries.

Memorial vs Funeral Services

A memorial ceremony is known to occur at any location or time of year following the deceased’s passing. The reason for this is because your loved one’s body or remains are usually not present at the service. However, if so desired, cremated remains can be present. It would be a time for people to mourn and remember, though most importantly, it would be a moment to celebrate the lives of individuals who have departed, with those in their life gathering together united in these moments.

Funeral services happen shortly after the deceased’s passing. The body is always present where the ceremony involves a casket and the pastor who provides sermons throughout the procession to commemorate a persons life. A funeral will usually proceed from a church and then move onto a graveside service for the final respects before the burial. The ceremony can likewise continue on to cremations instead of the traditional burials.    

Types of Memorial Service Ideas

Choosing a memorial or the most meaningful approach to honour your loved ones can vary. It involves the themes, following processions and location that you would hold it. The setting can be anyplace you believe it is most appropriate for the individual being honoured; the decision is totally up to those involved in the organisation of the ceremony. 

Similarly, the epidemic had made it difficult for some to travel and provide services. Those who cannot make it might be represented by various notions that can include them regardless of their location, such as a virtual procession or video tribute that you can help create. The following are some suggestions about what you could add to hold the ceremony in the best way possible. 

The themes and dedications represented can reflect their lives, manifested in what they may have valued most. It means that the service would coordinate with their favourite location such as a park, beach or another venue of interest, their interests, or any activities meaningful to them. People have been known to hold events that can be accommodated, either traditionally formal or informal. 

It could be religious and at a church or gravesite that involve the services of a memorial stonemason. The reception would usually reflect tokens and tributes of meaningful significance to your loved one as a traditional ceremony. The activities and decor may beautifully create an ambience such as candles, lighting, readings, including ways to share in the personal memory to help everyone contribute and connect. 

If it is an informal procession, the location may be anywhere they loved most with events that best connect to them as previously specified. The themes that some people have created involved: 

  • Fundraisers, relationship-focused, or career centred themes.
  • Adventurous trips or events on planes, hiking etc.
  • Favoured venues that are either indoors, outdoors or both.  

Planning Preparation Considerations

The focal planner or master of ceremonies leads the processions and ultimately is the principal planner. This would either be a family member or a close friend. They will help everything come together more smoothly and usually delegate the essential tasks. It’s critical to think about the elements you will be bringing together after the theme considerations have been identified. 

Choosing a theme first always helps you understand where to start planning and what tasks need to be delegated to whom. The planners involved would ultimately need to have a checklist and bring together:

  • The final decisions on the venues, decor, totems and sequentially the themes.
  • The readings, prayers, list of speakers involved, and the music that would highlight the service. 
  • When you will hold the service with a specific date and times.
  • Managing the bookings and invites to be made.
  • If the service will accommodate cremations in place of a memorial headstone or dedication, and whether it will contain both or neither.
  • The type of refreshments that will be organised.

Memorial Service Program 

Guests can RSVP regarding their presence and indicate whether they will be present digitally or in person. Attendance at a virtual memorial service can be recorded and live-streamed. If they are planning to attend virtually, a link can be provided to them. The initiative enables people to participate in a virtual or physical celebration of life in any way the organisers feel is appropriate. When applicable, it allows for the addition of personal tales, photographs, and communications, or the guests can observe passively.  

Similarly, if some people cannot participate, a recording of the memorial ceremony might be forwarded to them. The digitally generated program would generally be a carbon copy of the physical document, but it may differ by incorporating virtual forums and troubleshooting requirements if necessary.

The program is intended to be distributed to visitors and includes all required information as a guide while paying homage. It can be professionally designed for you or created by you. The process typically specifies how everything will go, what the ceremony will entail, and the information, poetry, and readings dedicated to your loved one. It is a professionally produced document that expresses one’s final thoughts in writing to honour their memory.

The inclusion of a photo and personal information in the program generally precedes the start of the memorial ceremony. The material accessible would include: 

  • A biography of who they were as people
  • What they did in their lives
  • Living and closely related family members
  • Notable information, such as critical dates

The readings that are included are typically brief and carefully selected to be included in the curriculum. It is necessary to choose whether the entire set of words will be displayed or only the sequence in which they will be delivered. The music that will be detailed depicts the atmosphere that has been brought forward to commemorate. Throughout the service, the reflection of music would be highlighted within specific intervals. 


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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