There’s nothing harder than dealing with the passing of a loved one. As grief pulls us into its fold, there are arrangements to be made, people to be informed, affairs to be put in order. At this difficult time, many of us see a memorial service as an important opportunity to say a last goodbye. What’s more, many of us want to bid that final farewell in a way that meaningfully remembers and celebrates the person we knew and loved.
These days, it’s not unusual for mourners to look for unique and creative memorial service ideas to achieve that personalised goodbye. And just because you might be considering a traditional funeral, it doesn’t mean that there’s no room for creativity or customisation. One example of a meaningful – and unconventional – memorial service that we recently wrote about is the surfing paddle out ceremony. Of course, the opportunities are endless but here’s Part 1 of our list of 15 truly unique and meaningful ways to honour those we love and miss.
1. Quote Board
Did your loved one have a favourite quote? Or perhaps they passed on a life lesson that stuck with you. Make a quote board by displaying those meaningful words on a large piece of card, a chalkboard or any other background. A sentimental and personal touch to a memorial service that’s easy and inexpensive.
2. Tribute video
Video tributes are a popular way to celebrate the life of the deceased. Whether endearingly home-made, or impressively professional, these tributes – which can include photos, home videos and any other available multimedia – are a brilliant way to bring a spot of joy to a memorial service.
3. Tree of Life
A tree of life can also bring a joyful, positive note to a memorial service. If holding the service outside, consider hanging photos or other mementos of the deceased from a tree’s branches, or around its trunk. If inside, a single decorative branch or small potted tree works too. The tree personalises the memorial service setting and gives guests the opportunity to connect over memories of the deceased’s life.
4. Memorial Fireworks
An unforgettable memorial service idea that’s sure to send a loved one off with a bang is memorial fireworks. Fireworks are vibrant and colourful and are a beautiful way to remember a life lived with vigour. Family members looking for a creative way to scatter their loved one’s ashes can have the cremains mixed into the fireworks gunpowder, making for a truly spectacular send off.
5. Engraved photo urns
Also for those whose loved one has been cremated, an engraved photo urn – that is, an urn with with the deceased’s portrait engraved onto it – makes for a unique and beautiful tribute, both at the memorial service, and in the family’s home. For more general information about urns, see our Guide to Cremation Urns.
6. Lantern Release
A lantern release allows every guest at a memorial service to actively participate in a loved one’s goodbye. Lanterns floating up into a night sky create a beautiful image. Some mourners write personal messages to the deceased on the inside of the lantern before releasing it into the heavens.
7. Memorial Stones
Memorial stones are an ideal memorial service idea for families wanting to give each guest the opportunity to share their memory of the deceased. Guests are invited to write a memory or message on river rock (small smooth stones). The stones with their messages can then be kept by the family, or scattered in a meaningful location.
8. Glass Art
The use of artwork to honour a loved one is a unique and very personal idea. Families can commission a commemorative piece of art – such as a painting or sculpture – which, when displayed in their home, serves as a beautiful reminder of their loved one. Some artists are even able to create glass pieces using a loved one’s ashes. Artworks offer families a tangible way to keep their loved ones near.
Whether it’s leaving this world with a fireworks bang or scattering loving memories on stones throughout the family garden, there’s no shortage of creative memorial service ideas for those wanting a meaningful and personalised service. Let us know what you think – share your favourite memorial service idea in the comments section below.
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