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Unique Memorial Service Ideas

Updated on March 24, 2012

Personalized and unique memorial services are replacing traditional ceremonies, which typically honor loved ones with solemn rituals. Nowadays, families and friends want to focus on values and character and not follow an accustomed order of service. If given the task of planning such an event, these unique memorial service ideas can help you prepare for that big day.

Making the Memorial Service Unique

Memorial services are an important part of the grieving process, so it's best to make them meaningful. This is typically done by personalizing the entire ceremony, from the setting to the theme. You can make the service unique by:

  • Choosing a special location: The memorial service's setting is key to establishing the entire mood of the ceremony. For instance, those services held in a church or similar building are more traditional as opposed to memorials held at a park or golf course. Alternative settings for a memorial service include sports field, art gallery, beach or any other place that was of importance to the person who died. Remember that the place you choose has to fit in line with everything else you want to offer at the memorial service including the number of guests, available parking and whether you are serving a meal.

  • Selecting a proper time and date: Because you can expect some guests to come in from out-of-town, the time and date of the memorial service will influence how many people actually attend. A memorial service held only a few days after your loved one died will typically have less non-local attendees than those held a few weeks out. The juncture will also decide the venue's size. Weekend memorial services serve working families and those from out-of-town better than those held on weekdays. Make it unique by holding the ceremony at sunset, with its conclusion right at twilight.
  • Choosing a personalized theme: This is tricky or easy, depending on how well you know the deceased person. The theme allows guests to truly focus on their loved one and remember details about his or her life. For instance, if he or she was a member of the military, display items related to that branch of service. If the deceased person loved sports, tout his or her personal memorabilia on the subject. You can even design a memorial program that fits a specific theme as well. Besides memorials, these types of themes are also common at similar Celebration of Life services.

  • Determining readings and music: Make this event memorable by selecting readings and music that the deceased person favored such as poetry or religious scripture and classical or country music. Personalize the service by having guests read or sing songs, do special dances or even act out a scene from your loved one's favorite Broadway play or movie. A copy of the songs and readings should also become a part of the memorial program.
  • Using photographs and slideshows: This is one of the most common memorial service ideas. Display poster boards with various images of the deceased person's life or have photo albums set out on tables. A music and video montage of your loved one's life is oftentimes encouraged. Make the service special by giving each guest a DVD copy of all the photographs or videos presented.

Additional Unique Ideas

If you still want to do something extraordinary for the memorial service, consider posting pictures and an online guest book. You can also stream the service live via the Internet for those out-of-town guests unable to attend. Whatever unique idea you choose for the memorial service, remember to keep the personality and character of your loved one in mind.


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