How to Plan a Meaningful Memorial Service for Your Family

A memorial service can be a wonderful way to celebrate the life of a loved one. Before you begin planning a memorial service, take some time to speak with loved ones to discuss how you would like to plan the service to create something memorable. The following items are a good checklist to go through with the planners.

1. What photographs or memorabilia should we include?

Put together a space to display pictures and favorite things of the deceased. Ask friends and relatives to contribute photos, clippings, awards, and other special mementos that you can display at the service. Assemble them in a memory book or combine them into a slideshow. Some people put together memory books or videos with contributions from family and friends. Consider providing a reflection book so guests can write down their favorite memories and share their thoughts.

2. Who should speak at the event?

Sometimes friends or family will ask you to make a short presentation at the memorial service. Other times you’ll need to do the asking. Either way, you'll want to include people who have shared a close relationship with the deceased and have something meaningful to contribute.

3. What food should we served?  

What you serve may depend on the theme of your memorial service, or may be based on your loved one's favorite dishes. If you want, you can divvy up the workload by hosting a pot luck memorial service where guests sign up to bring foods and beverages. It’s a great way to let people contribute.

4. What music/readings should we have?

   Music and books are an integral part of life for many people, and a memorial service is the perfect place to share the important works of art in your loved one's life. Also consider allowing guests to share readings and music that remind them of or that they’ve shared with the deceased.

5. Should we have a program? What should be in it?

A printed program listing the order of the service’s readings and participants is helpful for guests and makes for a nice memento. You’ll likely want the cover to feature the name, photo, and dates of the deceased, with details of the service inside. You may wish to include a few quotes about the person and a brief biography.
As much as a death in the family can be a sad time, it’s also an opportunity to cherish fond memories and appreciate life. Memorial services can even be fun - it’s not against the rules. Best wishes this holiday season from Amherst Funeral and Cremation.