What is a Memorial Service?

In contrast to a traditional funeral, where the service takes place before the body is buried or cremated, a memorial service takes place after the burial or cremation.

How Long After the Death do You Hold a Memorial Service?

Depending on the families wishes, a memorial service can take place any time after the burial or cremation – from right afterwards to a week or longer.

It is also common for families to hold a memorial service on the first anniversary of their loved one’s passing, either as the sole service or in addition to a prior memorial or funeral service closer to the time of death.

The Growing Popularity of Cheaper Memorial Services

Generally speaking, memorial services are much cheaper to hold and arrange compared to traditional funeral services because the body is not present. (Keep in mind, when the body is present at a traditional funeral service, this requires transportation in a hearse, up to 4 staff to be present to transport the coffin and other equipment to transport and display the coffin.)

Due to the rising price of funerals, cheaper memorial services combined with a direct cremation (i.e. a no service no attendance cremation) are becoming a much more popular option for families seeking to arrange cheap funerals that are no less respectful or meaningful than traditional funerals.

Popular Places to Hold a Memorial Service

Again, due to the fact that the body is not present at a memorial service, it is much easier for families to arrange for the service to take place in a variety of locations. Of course, the traditional options are still open to families, such as:

  • a religious place of worship
  • a hall or communal event space

However, some other popular places to hold a memorial services include:

  • the family home
  • a favourite beach or park
  • a favourite restaurant
  • or other place of personal or family significance

The above are just some ideas of where you might hold a memorial service. There is definitely more room for meaningful creativity, for example, “paddle outs” where surfers congregate on their surfboards beyond the breakwater to remember their own in often breathtaking ceremonies.

Planning a Memorial Service

There are no rules or formal structures when it comes to planning a memorial service. Of course, you may opt for a religious service which follows all the traditional religious structures that you would expect at any funeral service, but it is entirely up to the family.

Some common elements to consider when planning a memorial service include:

For more ideas, you might find it helpful to read our Guide of Planning a Funeral Service.

Would you consider a memorial service for yourself or discussing one with your loved ones? With the cheaper price tag and the opportunity for more meaningful and less formal structures, they’re an option that we expect to continue growing in popularity.


See the full picture and make fully informed decisions. Move forward in the certainty that your loved one’s memory will be looked after. Funeral Homes are Gathered Here.

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