Beyond the traditional funeral is the memorial service. Memorial Service ideas come from our heart’s desire to honor and cherish the life of a loved one. We do so by creating meaningful experiences with our families and friends to share our unique memories. This time together helps us see a bigger picture of the life we were blessed to share on this earth.

If you are looking for unique and individualistic ways to celebrate the life of your loved one, a well-thought-out memorial service can give you and your loved ones a time to come together to grieve your loss and celebrate the life of your loved one.

The Date

Many funerals occur in the one-week window following a death. This occurs when most families are still in shock and disbelief that their loved one is gone. The subsequent planning and traveling for out-of-town families can be disruptive and exhausting for everyone involved. 

With even an extra few weeks, you can let family consider their travel plans, think about how best to memorialize your loved one, and get used to the reality that this person you love is no longer here on earth. Because Memorial services are after the body is interred or cremated, there is no time limit on when you can plan this type of service.

The Venue

Many funeral homes have lovely rooms to celebrate a life that has passed on with family and friends. These areas keep many people comfortable temperature-wise and have restroom facilities and places to prep any food. They also have sound and lighting that work well for this type of gathering. Many have tables and other areas to place arrangements of memorial objects and pictures. They also accept flower arrangements for you and prepare the site for the gathering.

When you buy a package from a funeral home for cremation or burial, they often include much of the work and preparations that you would have to do on your own otherwise. As a family grieving, it is often more than you can handle to prepare every detail of this special day. Often, even with a Memorial service, you only have weeks, not months, to plan. Trying to plan when you are also sad or in shock can be especially difficult.

Letting the professionals at a funeral home know your desires and needs can be much easier and less stressful for everyone involved. They can help you plan every step and give you the confidence you need. 

However, if you want to get creative, the possibilities are endless, depending on the number of people you expect to come. Some innovative ideas include:

  • Museums
  • Gardens
  • Homes
  • Restaurants
  • Bed and breakfasts
  • Oceanside getaways

If your loved one chose cremation, be sure to check on the policy for the scattering of ashes. 

Your funeral home director will likely be happy to give guidance on local areas other than the funeral home that would be appropriate to hold a memorial service.

The Program

There are many ways to set up the flow of a memorial service. Often, memorials are a bit more flexible in tone and order. Consider incorporating these ideas into your memorial:


  • A live instrumental chamber band or flautist with piano accompaniment, etc
  • The deceased’s favorite music playlist playing on the speakers at the funeral home as guests enter and leave
  • A favorite singer from a local religious group singing a favorite hymn or spiritual song
  • Print the words to a favorite song and play them on the screen with the song after a Video picture memorial time
  • Play favorite heartfelt music while playing a picture slide show (50 or so fav pics)
  • Play a favorite song during a moment of silence
  • Show a clip from a favorite movie or song video that was especially meaningful to the deceased.

Digital Arts

  • Home Movies
  • Picture Slide movies
  • Music Videos
  • Videos of the deceased performing if they played an instrument or sang


  • Binders with pictures, poems, favorite quotes, etc. of the deceased in a printed form for mourners to bring home with them
  • Smooth stones with name and life dates engraved.
  • A favorite quote printed on a teacup or even a t-shirt
  • Cremation jewelry or other meaningful jewelry or even something that would have meant something to the deceased such as a mood ring or a bottle opener
  • If the deceased had a favorite animal, perhaps a tiny statue or print with a quote or a stuffed animal version
  • Anything small that you can pass out to others that encapsulates the essence of this person you’ve lost: seashells, a small bag of seeds with a quote, tester size perfumes or cologne rollers, a particular type of tea, chess pieces with name & dates written on the bottom, a favorite kind of candy bar or particular old-time candy that you would need to order
  • A small slip of paper tied with a ribbon with a verse or quote the deceased loved
  • A printing of a much-loved song tied with a ribbon

Think of what this person loved the most. What did they spend time and money on? You will likely find ideas to celebrate this special and unique person by thinking about their life and what they found important.


  • Get catering from their favorite restaurant
  • Make appetizers with their favorite fruits
  • Serve a toast of their favorite champagne or spirit
  • If they were a baker, do a cookie swap. Everyone who wants to participate brings a dozen, and then they are all shared and taken home at the end of the evening
  • Have everyone bring a favorite dish of the deceased loved one for a potluck memorial


There are less formal ways of having speakers at a memorial service that include:

  • Have a religious leader, MC, or funeral director say a few words and get the celebration of life started with a picture video and then on to dinner and mingling. It is not necessary to have eulogies and additional speakers unless you desire. When it’s time to go home, have the speaker make a few additional comments and thank everyone for coming.
  • Have a speaker start the service and play a picture video or prepared digital piece and then eulogize the deceased
  • Ask 3-5 people who knew the person in different capacities to speak, each for only 3-5 minutes. Give them specific ideas about what you’d like them to focus on. A work colleague may talk about the deceased’s interactions on the job, while a dear friend might speak on more personal matters. A child may remember the deceased as a parent, while a cousin may remember the deceased as a child growing up together. Choose speakers carefully to paint a broad picture of the deceased.
  • If you have only ten people gathered, you could make the gathering even more informal and let each person have a moment to speak.
  • Ask each family member to write a 1-page letter to the deceased to read aloud and share with the others at the memorial time. Consider taking pics of each letter and send a digital book to all participants at a later date.

Talk with your funeral home director for more ideas about the flow of your particular service. You can do almost anything you desire with the speakers, but a good plan is an excellent place to start.

Goodbye Ceremonies

  • Lanterns
  • Doves
  • Ceremonial scattering of ashes into the sea from a boat or on the shoreline or from a mountain cabin retreat, wherever meant the most to your loved one
  • A parting song
  • A parting prayer or reading

Planning a memorial service for someone you loved does not have to be daunting, but it is best to talk to professionals to help everything go smoothly. Making a plan that includes special touches that reflect the spirit of the deceased will help mourners to feel connected to their loved one and to each other.

Find Help

Plan your event with the help of the funeral home director at Renaissance Funeral Home. We can make sure that you’ve thought everything through. We have an on-site crematory and a package that includes a service in our Memorial Chapel. A memorial service is a time to share grief together to make the mourning a bit more bearable. Enjoy knowing that you helped make the grief journey easier for all by uniquely celebrating the life of your loved one all together.