How Do I Plan A Memorial Service At Home?

How do I make a memorial service at home? Everything in our world has taken a turn towards simplicity. We as a society crave simpler things, and important life events like weddings and even funerals are no exception. Some feel that a funeral should be something solemn and traditional, but others are looking for a more casual and personal memorial service. For the latter, a self-hosted celebration of life service may be exactly what your family needs in this difficult time.

Just like we are seeing as a trend in weddings, smaller, more personalized, and intimate gatherings are being favored over large, traditional, and sometimes impersonal ceremonies. Hosting a very personalized and intimate memorial service can be just exactly what your family needs as they process a profound loss. A time to celebrate, remember, and honor the loved one without all of the unnecessary (and often stressful!) traditions like receiving lines, formal services, and meals.

Planning a memorial service can be difficult when it’s only you and your family. So we’ve come up with some tips on how to host a beautiful and memorable celebration of life service at home.

How do I plan a memorial service at home?

text in image reads: Planning an informal memorial service at home

1. Set up a meeting with your family to plan the celebration of life.

It’s important that the entire family is in on the planning to a certain degree. Designate one person to make the bulk of the decisions, while also allowing thoughts and ideas to be heard from the collective group. It’s important that you discuss how you want to honor your loved one and what they would want. Think about what type of memory you would like to leave your loved one with at their service, such as a favorite song or poem, their favorite food, etc. Get all of the simple memorial service ideas written out and organized as you plan the gathering.

2. Consider your celebration of life guests and what questions they’ll have.

While planning, you’ll need to think of who will be attending the service, and what they might need. Will your family members have a difficult time finding the route to the house? Should you provide a map? Do consider adding private parking closest to your residence. Try to think of all the questions people may have as they prepare and arrive and have those things posted clearly so you aren’t bothered with a lot of questions in this difficult time.

3. A major part of an informal memorial service is the atmosphere you create in honor of your loved one.

What can I do to make a memorial service special? It’s simple, to make a special service, think of the person you are celebrating and inject their memory into the service. 

What kind of music did they like? And would you want that played during the service? What were some things your loved one always said or thought and how can you weave those throughout? How long will the service be?  Will you serve food, and if so, how much? Think of their favorite foods and create a theme around that. 

4. Take advantage of any help offered when planning the memorial service.

When someone passes away, it’s natural for people close to the family to have a desire to step up and offer help. Most of the time, these people genuinely want to be a part of easing the burdens on the family, and will be honored to be asked to help. When your friend’s family members ask what they need to bring offer a list of items that will be needed for the service and let them get many of the often overlooked details taken care of. Signup Genius can be a wonderful tool to use to get tasks and lists organized and into the hands of people who want to help. Having a link to share eliminates that feeling of being a burden because you don’t have to rattle off specific needs on the spot. They can look at the list and choose how they’d like to help.

5. Consider a virtual memorial service information hub to plan your funeral.

Share the information about the service with your friends and family online in case they can’t attend in person. This way, they can still be connected to the service in a unique way. A Facebook event or group can be a simple and free way to invite family and friends as well as keep them updated with information leading up to the service. In a virtual event, you also have the option to livestream the service so even those far away can watch live. 

6. Choose which type of memorial service you’d like to host. 

When it comes to what TYPE of memorial service to have, there really are no limits. Whether you will have cremated remains there in an urn, or just pictures to remember after a burial, the rest of the memorial service can be whatever you’d like it to be. Some of the following ideas may be better outside of the home, but all could be adapted to whatever size or budget you are working with. 

  • You could gather people in your home or rent a hall for a Potluck or catered meal where people can get up and offer small toasts and memories about the deceased while everyone enjoys the food. 
  • You could plant a tree in their memory in a place that was special to them. 
  • Try renting a room at a favorite restaurant or bar and have an open house-style gathering. Put out pictures and a guestbook for guests to sign and share memories of the departed. 
  • If you want to go really small, you can plan a trip to a place that is special to the person who passed. They’d want you to enjoy yourselves, and you get to remember them at the same time. While you are there you could buy a plaque or fence post in their memory at a local park.
  • If your loved one is cremated, you may want to do a scattering ceremony. 
  • A candlelight vigil can be a very meaningful memorial, especially in a community where the person was well-known and well-loved. Many people love to gather and remember a life lost in a meaningful way, and a public candlelight vigil can be comforting to many people. 

Whether or not you choose to have a memorial service at your home or someplace else, we at Maple Nail know that this is a very sacred and difficult time in your life. We are here to assist you when choosing an Urn to honor your loved one. 

If there is anything we can do, please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can contact us here

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