Today, many people choose cremation for its simplicity, affordability, and environmental concerns. It is important to remember that cremation is not a funeral, it is a means of disposition. Cremated remains should be cared for with the same dignity as a body buried in a casket. We want you to know that this decision doesn’t limit the ways you can honor your loved one’s life. We suggest that you have a funeral or memorial service because your need for such a healing experience is not lessened by the decision to be cremated. The options are limited only by your imagination. Whether or not your family wants to include a traditional casket viewing, our Funeral Directors can incorporate many customizable memorial service ideas. Here are a few ways to create a service that allows families to support one another and celebrate a life well lived.
Themed displays can be incorporated throughout the event venue to provide an immersive experience for families and friends. For what will the deceased be remembered? Her devotion to family? His love of music? His active lifestyle? Her dedication to charity? The theme can be reflected in any decoration, choice of location, and/or choice of music.
Put together a table or space to display photos or favorite objects that exemplify and reflect the deceased’s personality. Some people put together memory books or videos with contributions from family and friends. A reflection book may also be provided for guests to write down favorite memories. The Urn with a recent photo may also be displayed on this table or on a separate table with flowers.
A personalized urn helps families convey their loved one’s unique personality, especially if they would like to have the urn present at the service. Customization can be as simple as engraving the urn or an affixed plaque, or take the form of a more elaborate urn with a unique shape or image. Veterans’ service may be honored with special embellishments on the urn.
The Plan or Order of Service
Create a plan for service. Here is a sample list for you to customize to fit your own unique circumstances.
2. Opening Words
3. Candle Lighting or other Ritual
4. Address giving background information
6. Personal reflections by one or more family members or friends
8. Summation by service leader
9. Closing words
There’s a reason that video presentations are a popular element for memorial services, regardless of whether a family chooses cremation or burial. These videos can help them connect over shared memories and find joy in the experience. While most of these videos are photo-based, it’s also possible to incorporate home movies and interviews with family members.
Alter the Service
Families have more options than ever for what they can do with cremated remains. Many cremation jewelry choices are available for families who wish to keep their loved ones close. Other options include cremation art glass pieces, which turn cremated remains into an object that’s both beautiful and meaningful and biodegradable urns that allow a tree to grow in the earth where they’re placed.