Letting go can be a terribly painful process and this is never more true than when it comes to the loss of a loved one. As if that’s not enough, planning a meaningful memorial ceremony can take a lot of time and research to get right, and this is often the last thing you need at such a stressful time.
But then what should one do?
The truth is, planning a memorial ceremony is a touching way to say farewell and reasonably straightforward process when you know what to do. That being said, whether you find yourself in the midst of planning a cremation or you simply need to organize a memorial service, let’s try to answer some of your questions about how to hold your own meaningful memorial ceremony.
How to hold your own meaningful memorial ceremony
As you may know, a memorial ceremony is often arranged in alongside a funeral or cremation.
But then what’s the difference between a funeral and a memorial ceremony?
Well, for many people, the difference between a funeral and a memorial service is unclear. Simply put, a funeral is a service that takes place when the body of the deceased is present. On the other hand, if the burial takes place before the service of a loved one, the service that follows is known as a memorial service.
In terms of the memorial service, this is most often held at a funeral home after the funeral or cremation takes place. Every instance is different but as a rule, memorial services tend to cost anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000.
And is “money” the only reason for choosing this option?
Definitely not. Many families (or people) see a memorial service as being more personal and engaging than a traditional funeral. That is to say, funerals are increasingly looked upon as “the old way of doing things” and the prospect of an intimate memorial service can seem a lot more meaningful.
What Actually Happens at a Memorial Service?
Memorial services are quite formal and usually accompanied by music and remembrances from close family or friends. There is no clergy but someone is chosen to lead the service and most often, there is a large tribute of flowers present along with photographs of the deceased. At one end of the room, there is also what is known as a “Memory Table”’and this table contains multiple items which may have been especially important to the deceased.
But wait, there’s more…
At the end of this ceremony, there is sometimes a special gesture such as the release of birds or balloons. Needless to say, this is a beautiful way to symbolize the “letting go” of someone special. Finally, guests can enjoy some food and drink which is often the point at which the ceremony will come to a close.
Choosing a Theme for the Memorial Service
One of the most unique and special aspects of holding your own memorial service is that you get to choose a theme for the service. If you decide against anything specific, you can at leasts choose a special location which might seem apt to the loved one who has passed away.
Here are some examples of memorial ceremonies that take place after cremation:
Memorial Service in a Forest –Providing the time of year is right, holding a memorial service outdoors is the perfect way to honor a loved one who enjoyed nothing more than getting out there. For example, Redwoods National Forest in Californiawould be the perfect place to say farewell to a loved one.
Memorial Service in an Iconic Location– Quite often, the deceased will have had an affiliation with a certain organisation or a passion for something specific. For example, Fort Brag is a stunning beach just north of San Francisco which would be a fitting place to say goodbye to someone with a military background.
Memorial Service in a Theater –Maybe the deceased was especially known for song and dance? Choosing a theatre would be a truly special way to bid farewell in style.
As you should see, there are no rules when it comes to personalizing a memorial service. However, there are certain items that can add to the experience. For example, if cremation is chosen over a traditional funeral, keepsake urns are the perfect center piece for the memorial service. Needless to say, they come in different shapes and sizes but there are some truly fitting keepsake urns that can add a meaningful touch to the occasion.
Why You Should Consider Holding Your Own Memorial Ceremony
Well, we all know that a creation or funeral is a rather expensive process. After all, the average full service funeral can cost between $8,000 and $10,000. With that said, holding your own memorial ceremony can save a lot of money and this is certainly important with the rising costs nowadays.
What’s more, holding your own ceremony is also an opportunity to pause and experience a more meaningful farewell, without any restrictions. That is to say, you can personalize the occasion as much as you want and there is no limitation for this personalization or time restrictions given that the property is your own.
The truth is, when you plan a memorial service, you can also save more than $2,000 on the final cost and at a time when you could really do with taking your mind off a personal tragedy, these savings are much better spent elsewhere.
If you want to learn more about holding a beautiful outdoor memorial ceremony, please read our next article, 5 Unique Outdoor Memorial Ceremony Locations in California - Spring 2019.