By: Shama Rhoden
Thursday, March 24, 2016
It’s becoming increasingly common for people to customize traditional funeral services, and there are many fun and memorable ways that you can honor your deceased loved one in a personalized way. If you're in the middle of planning a funeral and trying to come up with some unique ways to remember your parent, child, sibling, relative, or friend, here are a few of the more popular ways that people have customized funeral services.
1. Include Personal Stories and Special Memories
Many traditional funerals are officiated by a religious figure, but that doesn’t mean that friends and family can’t partake in the service. At a specific point in the service or throughout, have various people come up to share favorite stories, funny anecdotes, and special memories about the deceased. You can ask people in advance, or you can open the floor to anyone who has words to share. Don’t forget to ask special people from the past, as they can often provide tales from long ago that may never have been told.
2. Play a Favorite Song or Read a Beloved Poem
Nothing says personal like your mom’s favorite song, or your uncle’s favorite poem, or a passage from your cousin’s favorite novel. And if these things meant a lot to your loved one in life, why not celebrate with them after death? Moreover, reading passages or introducing songs is a great way to include people in the service who may be too nervous to read something of their own in front of a group of people.
3. Have a Memory Table or Photo Display
Memory tables are a way to present things that meant a lot to your loved one, and photo displays are a wonderful way to share memories. And while these are becoming more common at funerals, they can still be personalized for your individual family. Memory tables can display artwork, crafts, sports memorabilia, letters, photos, tools, or anything else that was significant. Similarly, photos don’t have to be displayed on board, but can instead be:
- Suspended from helium-filled balloons
- Made into a wreath
- Used to decorate flower arrangements
- Hung from clotheslines
- Incorporated into the guest book
4. Use a Customized Funeral Program
Every traditional funeral has a program that lists important events and a timeline of the funeral service. But why not use the program to share stories, show pictures, explain inside jokes, or to recite favorite poems, passages, or song lyrics. You can even use the program as an opportunity to allow others to share some special memories of the deceased, especially for people who are too shy to share at the service.
5. Give out Keepsakes or Gifts
Weddings and other rite of passage celebrations use gifts to thank guests for coming, and you can certainly do the same at a funeral. Memorial tokens that represent the deceased can include pictures, candles, special decorations, or even foodstuffs like preserves and jellies. These items can be placed on seats, left on a table for people to pick up, given out during or after the service or memorial, or distributed by the family in the receiving line.
There are many ways that families today can personalize and customize funeral services, and most funeral homes are more than happy to accommodate such special requests. In fact, your funeral director may even have some unique ideas about how you can personalize the service for your loved one.