Memorialization and Cremation Tribute Ideas

This section contains information, and guides, on how to memorialize a loved one following a cremation.  If you are tasked with the job of arranging a cremation memorial service, it can sometimes seem a daunting task and a great responsibility.  Here we cover everything you need to know about memorializing a loved one.  We cover:

  • Understanding what a memorial service entails and represents
  • How a memorial service differs to a funeral service
  • Planning of a personalized cremation memorial service
  • Creating memorial tributes with words, memorabilia, and artifacts
  • Setting up an online memorial page or website
  • The role of technology and memorial services
  • Deciding on the final disposition of the cremated remains
  • How direct cremation and a family memorial service can save thousands on funeral costs

Cremation Memorial Service

Memorialization Explained

A change in how we memorialize with cremation

Cremation offers much greater flexibility in how we can memorialize a loved one that has passed.  As there is no body present at a memorial service, there are many more options of how you can conduct a memorial service.  It does not need to be at a funeral home, and you do not need to hold the service immediately after the death has occurred.

This is leading to a change in how we view the whole funeral process.  The role of a funeral director is changing too.  The funeral home need to handle the disposition – the cremation – aspect of a funeral, but a family can then opt to host their own memorial service once they have the cremated remains returned.  The need to use the services of a funeral home for a memorial service is not necessarily required.  Families are choosing to use a place of worship, community centers, event venues, their own home or even outdoors.  Sometimes a family feels that they can do a better job of memorializing their lost loved one.  They can make it very personal and original.

So, what does a memorial service entail and represent?

A memorial service is a ceremony to remember a loved one that has died. It is considered a form of closure following a loss, and a chance to ‘pay last respects’ and say a final goodbye.  It represents a remembrance of a life lived and an opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of the person who has passed.

With the shift towards cremation as a death-care option, memorial services are now typically held after a cremation, and referred to as a Cremation Memorial.

A memorial service can take many different forms.  It can be very similar to a funeral service format, or it can be uniquely personalized, and held at a significant place that was meaningful to the departed.

How does a memorial service differ to a funeral service?

A funeral service is held with the body present in a casket.  A memorial service is held without the body present.  If a cremation has been performed, a memorial service can be held with the cremation urn present, but many memorial services are conducted with no remains at the ceremony.

Memorial services are sometimes more uplifting and less somber.  This can often be because they are not necessarily held immediately after the death, so family have had more time to come to terms with their grief, and feel a memorial service held later gives them more opportunity to make it a celebratory event to honor their lost loved one.

How to plan a personalized cremation memorial service

Cremation optionsIf you have been asked to organize a memorial service, it can be helpful to plan out how you anticipate a service should run.  As there will be no body present, a memorial service can be very flexible and at any venue.  If the cremation urn will be present, this can form a ‘center point’, similar to a casket at a funeral service.

You will need to decide on the location the service is to be held, who to invite, what format you wish the service to take, and what memorial tributes are required.  Such as a memory book, photos, prayer cards, music etc.  It can help a memorial service to run smoothly if there is some organization, and deciding who is going to manage the service and who is going to speak and deliver a eulogy or final words.

How to create memorial tributes with words, memorabilia, and artefacts

If you are arranging a memorial service, you may oversee organizing the memorial tributes for the ceremony.  This can be arranging flowers, photos, memory cards, candles, music, video and even food.  Memorial tributes were often managed by the funeral home for an additional fee, but if you are organizing a service without using a funeral home, you can either purchase tribute products or make your own.  Fortunately, with so many resources online these days, there are many companies that make and sell memorial tributes, and lots of ideas for how to make your own memorial products.

In MemoryHow to create a personalized cremation tribute

‘Personalization’ is something we embrace in everyday life today.  It is something that has become important to all of us.  And personalization of a memorial service can often be achieved so much better when the family are arranging and conducting it.  No more of those slip-ups when a funeral director mispronounces a name, or omits a key detail about the deceased.

You can make a cremation memorial personal in many ways, but generally stories about the deceased, photos from their life, memorabilia that attendees will associate with the deceased, and music that the deceased loved are all good tributes.

What is a Life Celebration tribute?

A life celebration is a type of memorial service that is more focused on celebrating the life of the deceased.  So, it is more uplifting and joyful, instead of a sad somber service.  Some families choose to employ the services of a funeral celebrant to lead the service.  A celebrant has been trained in how to memorialize a service with focus on the celebration of a life ‘well-lived’.

Funeral homes also offer customized life celebration services, or you can prepare your own life celebration tribute for a loved one.

How to set up an online memorial page or website

As many of us live our life’s and connect online these days, setting up an online memorial page or website, can be a great way to have a lasting tribute to a lost loved one, and enable friends and family far and wide to participate in creating a memorial tribute.

Arrange a cremation onlineSome funeral homes now offer online memorial pages to their client families.  These are sometimes free, but often if you pay a nominal fee for the online memorial page, it guarantees it will be hosted indefinitely.

Similarly, there are several companies that specialize in offering online memorial tributes and offer different packages depending on how long you wish it to be hosted and how much information and photos you wish to add.

Facebook offer a Memorial page option.  This can also allow a wider circle of friends from all over to engage, share and contribute to an online memorial.  Facebook will automatically convert the Facebook profile of someone that has deceased into a memorial page, with the words ‘remembering’ next to their name on the profile.

The role of technology in delivering a memorial service

Technology has changed the world as we know it, and this is also true of funerals.  Today funerals can be live-streamed to enable those not able to be present to watch the funeral in ‘real-time’.  With technology like FaceTime and Skype, it is possible to do this even if you are holding your own memorial service.

The use of photo-editing and video-editing software or PowerPoint presentations can all be useful tools to help you put together something that brings media into a memorial service.  A video or slideshow can prove a lasting tribute for family to keep as a tribute, share, and revisit as time goes by or on the anniversary of a death.

Do we need to hold a memorial service?

No, you do not need to hold a memorial service if it is not considered necessary, or perhaps a very elderly relative passed without many family or friends still alive to attend.  Deciding to hold a memorial service is just a personal choice.

Some people decide to just go ahead and scatter the cremated remains without any service or ceremony.  Conducting an ash-scattering can be regarded as a memorial act, even if no formal service, or specific tributes are arranged for the scattering.

What to do with the cremated remains after a cremation memorial service: The final disposition

Deciding what to do with cremated remains still poses a question for some families.  Often families end up keeping an urn at home as they are undecided what to do.  Cremation has removed the immediate need to buy a burial plot and inter the remains, although some families opt to purchase a cremation niche and have the cremated remains interred.

Cremation Memorial IdeasScattering the ashes is becoming a more popular option.  The cremated remains can be scattered in a bespoke Memorial Garden, or in nature somewhere.  For more information on how to scatter ashes, read our ash-scattering guide.  Do bear in mind that it is wise not to rush to scatter the ashes to quickly after the passing, as you may change your mind later.  Another thing to consider is keeping a small amount of the ashes in a keepsake urn, and scattering the rest.

Cremated remains can also be made into a number of memorial artifacts, including memorial diamonds, blown-glass, birdbaths, reef balls, paintings, vinyl records, shotgun shells or tattoos.

How direct cremation and a family memorial service can save thousands on funeral costs

Direct cremation is the simple, no-fuss, no service cremation option that is very affordable.  The funeral home handles everything to cremate the deceased, but then returns the cremated remains to the family.  A direct cremation can be arranged for under $1,000 in many areas. [The cost for a direct cremation varies by provider, state and city, but can be as low as $595 and as high as $3,000].  Visit our main DFS Memorials site to check the local prices near you.

Following a direct cremation, if family and friends arrange a memorial service themselves, this can reduce the overall costs for a funeral.  With a simple direct cremation and a family-led memorial service, a dignified funeral can easily be achieved for under $2,000.  In fact, it can be less if direct cremation is being offered at a low-cost in your area.

Family-led memorial services are becoming a new ‘norm’.  It is almost a return to family values of decades ago before the modern era of the funeral establishment.  And why should we pay thousands of dollars to a funeral business, when we can host a family and friends gathering at a fraction of the cost of a traditional funeral service?

Although holding a memorial service is not necessary after a cremation, it does provide opportunity for closure and a sense of being able to say a final goodbye to a lost loved one.  The unique thing about a memorial service is that there is no time-critical timeline about holding it.  You can hold a memorial service shortly after the death and cremation, or you can wait months, or even a year.

Simple cremation in Covington, KY

Simple Cremation ServicesIf you have an immediate, or imminent, need for a simple low cost cremation then we can help you arrange everything for one low price of $875.

Our attitudes to death and funerals are changing and many families are finding that cremation offers a more affordable option.  More families are deciding they just want a simple, “no fuss” option, one that can be delivered at a low cost.

A direct cremation package can help you arrange an affordable funeral.  The direct cremation takes care of the immediate disposition of the deceased, and once the cremated remains are available, a memorial or ash-scattering service can be conducted.

When you can take care of everything for $875, and are dealing with a family-owned funeral business, why should you pay more than this?

What is included in the $875 Simple Cremation Package?

Our simple cremation service includes:

  • Collection of the deceased from the place of death
  • Transfer to the funeral facility*
  • Shelter of the deceased
  • Filing of death certificate and cremation permit
  • A cardboard cremation container for the cremation process
  • The cremation process
  • Return of the cremated remains in a temporary cremation urn

*an additional mileage fee can apply if outside our basic service area

 Are there any extra costs?

The only additional fees are county fees, which are subject to change and payable to the county in order to facilitate the cremation proceeding.  Death certificate fees in Kentucky are $6 for the 1st certificate and $6 for each additional copy at present.

Cremation costs in Covington, KYCan we still have a funeral service if we arrange a direct cremation?

Yes, of course.  You can arrange a memorial service once you have the cremated remains returned.  A memorial service is the type of funeral service where the deceased’s body is not present.  You can hold a memorial service with, or without, the cremation urn present.  A memorial funeral service can be an ash scattering ceremony, or a candlelit vigil or tribute.  We have some useful resources to help you plan and make your own memorial tributes in our Memorialization section.

Comparing cremation costs in Covington, KY

As cremation is becoming a popular choice for residents of Covington, there are several cremation service providers serving Kenton County.  The cost of a cremation can vary significantly, for the exact same service, so it is wise to ensure you do compare cremation prices between a few providers to ensure you are benefitting from a value for money cremation service package.  The average cost of a cremation memorial service in Covington is $3,264, and the average cost of a direct cremation is $1,670*  It is important to check that a direct cremation package includes everything.

A cremation significantly reduces funeral costs.  The average cost of a funeral in Covington is $6,324.*

How can you save money when arranging a cremation service?

A direct cremation is the most economical means of disposition there is.  In Covington, a direct cremation can be conducted for $875 complete, making this very affordable funeral option.   If you need to keep funeral costs down, then a cremation arranged through a low-cost cremation provider, is your lowest cost cremation option in Covington, KY.  You can then arrange your own memorial services once you have the cremated remains returned.  This significantly cuts down on funeral expenses.

What do I need to know about arranging a cremation?  What are the legal requirements?

A cremation authorization form must be signed by the legal next of kin for a cremation to proceed.  If there are multiple siblings, all must sign and agree for a cremation to be carried out. There is a 48-hour mandatory wait period after death before the cremation can go ahead.

What help is there with cremation costs?

If qualifying for Social Security, you may be entitled to the lump sum death benefit payment of $255.  The funeral director will generally assist you with submitting the claim to Social Security.  Of course, many people use life insurance policies to off-set funeral costs, but with a direct cremation, the funeral provider will require payment upfront.

There is very limited public assistance support for funeral costs and this can vary by county.   Check out Kenton County Assistance Programs: Kenton County Human Services Department 601 Washington Ave, Newport, KY 41071 Phone: (855) 306-8959

How do I obtain a copy of a death certificate?

You can obtain copies of a death certificate from the Vital Records office at: Kenton County Health Department, 303 Court Street Covington, KY 41011 (859) 392-1600

What happens if the deceased is taken to the Coroner’s Office?

If there were circumstances surrounding the death that led to the deceased being taken to the County Coroner’s office, you will need to employ the services of a funeral director as soon as possible to liaise with the Coroner to have the body released into their care.  Only a licensed funeral director can collect a body from the Coroner’s morgue.

As funeral directors are familiar with the process, and the body is released with death certificate & cremation permit, it is generally easy to maintain a low cost to offer a direct cremation service for an individual that has been in the care of the Medical Examiner.  The County Coroner’s office is at: 2378 Grandview Ave. Ft. Mitchell, Ky. 41017 Phone: 859-291-3330

Please contact your local DFS Memorials cremation services provider on (859) 568-3131 with any further questions you have, or to make immediate arrangements for a low-cost cremation service.

*Cost data obtained from funeral price comparison website 2019

Guide to Affordable Cremation Services in Pearland, TX

Direct Cremation in Pearland, TXDo you need to save money on funeral costs?  Looking for a simple and inexpensive alternative to a traditional funeral service?

Consider arranging a simple cremation service for $650.  More families are opting to conduct a simple, no-fuss direct cremation and then perform their own memorial service at a venue of their choosing.  This all saves thousands of dollars on funeral expenses!

How funeral care is changing and economic reasons for choosing cremation

Deciding whether to bury or cremate is a personal choice.  For some families the decision is dictated by the budget they have for a funeral and a cremation service will cost less than a traditional burial funeral.  On average a cremation service is going to save you at least 40% on  the cost of a burial, sometimes you can save as much as 60% on the cost of a burial service.  More families are choosing cremation as it does offer a greater flexibility. The funeral service does not have to go ahead immediately.  Instead a cremation can be performed and the immediate disposition of the body dealt with and then a service held at a later date convenient to the family.

The economy has definitely impacted on how we are changing our approach to death care today.  Many families simply cannot, or do not, want to spend unnecessarily on funeral costs. A cremation provides a simple, efficient and economical means to conduct a disposition.

How much does a funeral cost in Pearland?

This is not a simple question to answer as funeral costs can range significantly depending on the type of services and products selected, and the funeral services provider used.  The average cost of a funeral in Pearland is $6,716*.

How much does a cremation cost in Pearland?

Firstly, a cremation WILL save you on funeral costs.  There is no requirement for a casket, cemetery plot or burial vault, which alone saves thousands of dollars.  Generally embalming is not required when a cremation is performed, so all-in-all you can save on many funeral expenses, meaning that a cremation will cost at least half, if not less, than the full cost of a burial funeral.

It is important to state that cremation prices in Pearland DO vary considerably between funeral homes, and depending what type of cremation service you opt for.  Not all funeral homes have their own crematory but will use the services of a local crematory.  The average cost of a cremation memorial is $3,568*, however, it is possible to find much lower-priced cremation services in Pearland.

How much is a direct cremation in Pearland, TX?

A basic cremation can be conducted in Pearland for as little as $650 complete.  This is what is known as a “direct cremation”.  No services are performed, the deceased is collected, transported to the funeral facility, prepared for cremation and the cremation is conducted.  The cremated remains are returned to the family in a temporary plastic urn.  If desired the family can arrange a brief final goodbye viewing at the funeral home.

Call DFS Memorials now on (281) 549-5345 to arrange a low cost cremation for $650

What type of cremation services are available?

You can select from a range of cremation services and packages.  These will start with a basic cremation without any additional services, which is the cheapest type of cremation package.  You can have a full service funeral that is followed by the cremation, a cremation followed by a memorial service, or just a viewing followed by a cremation.  Cremation does offer versatility in what options you have, and when and where any services can be held.

How to compare cremation costs in Pearland, TX

As mentioned the cost of a cremation can vary enormously – for the exact same service – but from different cremation service providers.   Ensure that you compare like-for-like services.  Some cremation service providers include crematory fees and cremation container costs in a direct cremation package, and others do not always include these fees.  Death certificate fees and cremation permits are often additional ‘cash advance’ items.

How do I know that the cremated remains I get back are my loved one’s remains?

This is probably the most common cremation question we are asked.  Strict laws govern the cremation of human remains and identity checks have to be made along the way.  The cremation retort has to be completely cleared following a cremation and only one cremation can be performed at a time.  The remains are cleared into a machine that filters out any metal parts (tooth fillings, hip replacements etc) and then ground into the fine ‘dust’ that is returned as cremation ashes.

Understanding the legal requirements for cremation in Pearland

As mentioned above, there are laws in place regarding the cremation of human remains. A cremation cannot be performed until a cremation permit is issued by the medical examiner’s office.  The legal next of kin must sign a Cremation Authorization Form.  There is a mandatory wait period of 48 after death in Texas before the cremation can proceed.

It is not necessary to embalm a body for cremation and refrigerated storage is used to preserve the body until the cremation is performed.  The funeral home will generally store the body for up to 5 days in refrigerated storage at no extra charge.  If the cremation does not go ahead within 5 days, an additional fee for storage may be incurred.

Cremation Memorial ServiceWhat can we do with the cremated remains?

Cremation offers some greater flexibility in what you can do with the cremated remains once you have them returned.  You can, of course, inter them in a grave plot or niche.  However, you can choose to store them in an urn at home or scatter the cremated remains.  There are also options such as having cremation artifacts made from cremated remains such as cremation diamonds, glass jewelry, bird baths and paintings.

Preplanning an affordable cremation service

If you wish to preplan a simple cremation you can lock in a low cost cremation price. This may depend upon your age at the time of setting up a prepaid cremation plan.  A cremation plan can be set up using an insurance policy where the funds are put into a trust.  You can also opt to preplan your cremation service without prepaying.  This ensures that your surviving family can proceed with arrangements at the time of need, without having to worry about completing the paperwork or making difficult decisions.  The money to pay for the cremation can be put aside in a POD account (Payable on Death) which your beneficiary can draw out upon death immediately without probate.

The deceased had no life insurance – is there any help with cremation costs?

It is sadly a reality that more folks are passing without leaving the means to pay for their funeral.  If you are faced with this situation, you need to explore what help may be available to you.  Social Security pay out a $255 lump sum death benefit (if you qualify) and your funeral director can assist you with this.

The support for indigent burials differs so much by state and county. Some counties do offer some financial assistance to low-income families, whereas in other counties only county indigent dispositions are conducted.  To find out what may be available you should contact Brazoria County Human Services Department at: 3403 Mustang Rd, Alvin, TX 77511 Phone: 281-331-0790

The deceased is at the Medical Examiner’s Office.  What do I do?

If the deceased was the victim of a crime, or there were unusual circumstances surrounding the death, the deceased’s body may be taken into the care of the coroner for an examination to determine the cause of death.  You will need to employ the services of a funeral director as soon as possible to coordinate the release of your loved one from the ME’s office.

A deceased person can only be released into the care of a licensed funeral director. Many funeral homes are familiar with the process to liaise with the ME to have the body released as quickly as possible.  You may also find that a simple, direct cremation can be arranged at a very low cost when the deceased is in the Coroner’s morgue as all the paperwork can be expedited quickly and the process to transfer the deceased to the funeral facility is simplified.

Address of county coroner’s office: 6607 Hwy 1784, Texas City, TX 77591 Phone: 409-935-9274

We hope this short guide has helped answer some of your immediate questions, and provided some help to understanding how you can arrange an affordable funeral or cremation service in Pearland, TX.  If you need to research more information on funeral-planning, please visit the Library section on US Funerals Online.

*Funeral prices obtained from Parting funeral price comparison survey 2019

$640 Simple cremation in Pasadena, TX

Direct Cremation in Pasadena, TXIf you have an immediate, or imminent, need for a simple low cost cremation then we can help you arrange everything for one low price of $640. Our attitudes to death and funerals are changing and many families are finding that cremation offers a more simple and affordable option.  More families are deciding they just want a simple, “no fuss” option, one that can be delivered at a low cost.

A direct cremation package can help you arrange a low-cost funeral.  The direct cremation takes care of the immediate disposition of the deceased, and once the cremated remains are available, a memorial or ash-scattering service can be conducted.

When you can take care of everything for $640, and are dealing with a family-owned funeral business, why should you pay more than this?

What is included in the $640 Simple Cremation Package?

Our simple cremation service includes:

  • Collection of the deceased from the place of death (hospital or medical/nursing)
  • Transfer to the funeral facility*
  • Shelter of the deceased
  • Filing of death certificate and cremation permit
  • A cardboard cremation container for the cremation process
  • The cremation process
  • Return of the cremated remains in a temporary cremation urn

*an additional mileage fee can apply if outside our basic service area or a removal is required from a residential location

Are there any extra costs?

The only additional fees are county fees, which are subject to change and payable to the county in order to facilitate the cremation proceeding.  Death certificate fees in Texas are $21 for the 1st certificate and $4 for each additional copy at present.

Can we still have a funeral service if we arrange a direct cremation?

Yes, of course.  You can arrange a memorial service once you have the cremated remains returned.  A memorial service is the type of funeral service where the deceased’s body is not present.  You can hold a memorial service with, or without, the cremation urn present.  A memorial funeral service can also be conducted as an ash scattering ceremony, or a candlelit vigil or tribute.  We have some useful resources to help you plan and make your own memorial tributes in our Memorialization section.

Comparing cremation costs in Pasadena, TX

As cremation is becoming a popular choice for residents of Pasadena, there are several cremation service providers serving Harris County.  The cost of a cremation can vary significantly, for the exact same service, so it is wise to ensure you do compare cremation prices between a few providers to ensure you are benefitting from a value for money cremation service package.  The average cost of a cremation memorial service in Pasadena is $4,446, and the average cost of a direct cremation is $2,323*.  It is important to check that a direct cremation package includes everything.

A cremation significantly reduces funeral costs.  The average cost of a funeral in Pasadena is $7,928.

How can you save money when arranging a cremation service?

A direct cremation is the most economical means of disposition there is.  In Pasadena, a direct cremation can be conducted for $640 complete, making this very affordable funeral option.   If you need to keep funeral costs down, then a simple cremation arranged through a cremation provider, is your lowest cost cremation option in Pasadena, TX.  You can then arrange your own memorial services once you have the cremated remains returned.  This significantly cuts down on funeral expenses.

What do I need to know about arranging a cremation?  What are the legal requirements?

A cremation authorization form must be signed by the legal next of kin for a cremation to proceed.  If there are multiple siblings, all must sign and agree for a cremation to be carried out. There is a 48-hour mandatory wait period after death before the cremation can go ahead.

cremation servicesWhat help is there with cremation costs?

If qualifying for Social Security, you may be entitled to the lump sum death benefit payment of $255.  The funeral director will generally assist you with submitting the claim to Social Security.  Of course, many people use life insurance policies to off-set funeral costs, but with a direct cremation, the funeral provider will require payment upfront.

There is very limited public assistance support for funeral costs and this can vary by county.   Check out Harris County Assistance Programs.

Harris County Social & Human Services Department, 8410 Lantern Point Dr, Houston, TX 77054 Phone: (713) 578-2000

How do I obtain a copy of a death certificate?

You can obtain copies of a death certificate from the Vital Records office at: Harris County Civil Courthouse 201 Caroline, Suite 330 Houston, TX 77002 Phone: (713) 274-8686

What happens if the deceased is taken to the Coroner’s Office?

If there were circumstances surrounding the death that led to the deceased being taken to the County Coroner’s office, you will need to employ the services of a funeral director as soon as possible to liaise with the Coroner to have the body released into their care.  Only a licensed funeral director can collect a body from the Coroner’s morgue.

As funeral directors are familiar with the process, and the body is released with death certificate & cremation permit, it is generally easy to maintain a low cost to offer a direct cremation service for an individual that has been in the care of the Medical Examiner.  The County Coroner’s office is at: 1861 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, TX 77030 Phone: (832) 927-5000

Please contact your local DFS Memorials cremation services provider on (713) 309-6059 with any further questions you have, or to make immediate arrangements for a low-cost cremation service.

*Cost data obtained from funeral price comparison website 2019

Cremation Memorial Service Ideas

Cremation offers versatility in memorialization.  If a family member has been cremated, and you are planning a cremation memorial service, this guide can help you discover everything you need to know about how to creatively memorialize a loved one.

beach memorial servicesIf a family member preplanned a cremation, he or she may have planned some ideas about what kind of memorial service they wanted.  However, very often it is left to surviving family members to decide on, and plan, a memorial service.  It can seem a daunting task to be responsible for arranging a memorial service, but the information below should help you honor a lost loved one and create a befitting tribute.

When should you hold a cremation memorial service?

The flexibility of holding a memorial service, as the deceased’s body is not present, means it can be held at any time after the death.  A cremation memorial can be held immediately after the cremation, or a period of time can elapse.  Sometimes families find it be easier to plan for, and have time to grieve, before holding a memorial service.

Being able to take time, and coordinate gathering together those you wish to invite, can lead to a more meaningful service.

Where can you hold a cremation memorial service?

A memorial service can be held wherever you choose, or feel was significant to the deceased.  It can be at a place of worship, or a graveside service.  Alternatively, you can be imaginative and host a service somewhere more unconventional.  Some families conduct a memorial service as part of an ash-scattering, and therefore opt to have the memorial service outdoors.

What elements make up a memorial service?

Cremation optionsI would dare to say there is no set format to how a memorial service should be conducted.  However, it is considered customary to deliver a eulogy, pay tribute to the life of the deceased, and conduct some form of final disposition of the remains.

There are many other elements that can form part of a memorial service, including photo boards, slideshows, video, and music.  These days families are also choosing to hold memorial services that are Life Celebration events that can involve dove, lantern or butterfly releases as a final tribute and metaphorical symbol.  Guests can all be asked to wear something, or a color, that was special to the deceased.

Tips on how to prepare a tribute for a memorial

Planning is the cornerstone of any successful event, and a memorial service is no different.  Sometimes, this is why a family prefers to employ a funeral director or life celebrant to help plan and host a memorial service, as these professionals have skills and experience.  However, some families choose to prepare and hold a service themselves.  This just requires some preparation.

Cremation Memorial Service

The cremation urn:

  • Will the urn be present at the memorial service? And if so, do you need to set up an urn arrangement or altar?
  • If a scattering is to be conducted as part of the memorial service, think about the techniques for scattering cremated remains safely.

Eulogy:

  • Decide who is going to be responsible for delivering the eulogy or final words at the service.
  • Ensure that he or she has had time to prepare, and that the context of their eulogy meets the audience and the tone of the memorial service.

Location:

  • Think about a suitable location.
  • Is it somewhere sentimental to the deceased?
  • Is it easily accessible for all guests?

Tributes:

  • Do you want to have flowers or other memorial tributes? Or donations to a cause close to the deceased’s heart?
  • Will a presentation be made by slideshow or video? Do you want music playing? And is there a suitable power point?
  • If you want to have a memory book for everyone to sign, is there somewhere suitable to locate it?

A cremation memorial service can be as short, or as long, as you wish for it to be, and as appropriate.  Memorializing after cremation does present so many more options than holding a traditional funeral service.  We are becoming more embracing of the unconventional and contemporary in our funeral rituals, so being creative and personalizing a memorial service, can make it so much more meaningful for all those who attend to say their final goodbyes.

Cremation may be the only option if you wish to be laid to rest in NYC

A number of recent news stories have exposed the issue now facing many New Yorkers when making funeral arrangements – the lack of burial space!  With such a built-up area around New York City, and with over 60, 000+ deaths a year, the allotted space in cemeteries is just running out.  It’s turning out that a cemetery real estate plot can now work out just as desired-after, and just as expensive, as Manhattan real estate!  According to the NY Times ‘City Cemeteries Face Gridlock’ article, a mausoleum space can cost as much as $3 million, with burial space in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx costing more than $1,000 per square foot!

DFS Memorials offer an affordable direct cremation price of $475

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New Yorkers can still be interred in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, but burial space is so limited, that officials are predicting that cremation will become the preferred option for those who want a final resting place in the city.  Most of the cemeteries in New York City are now focusing on how they can add above-ground mausoleums to offer extended space for burials and even increase the space for cremation niches.

Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn still has some space left, but it is expected this will run out within the next 10 years.  Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx both report a similar problem, although they believe some creative utilization of space, may enable them to continue offering burial plots for at least another 20 years.  Canarsie Cemetery now plans to build an extensive ‘city’ of mausoleums in an attempt to add 10,000 new burial spaces to the cemetery.

New York City cemeteries have had to become as inventive as possible in creating additional interment space, narrowing pathways and creating smaller family or joint plots.  The Division of Cemeteries that governs cemeteries allows them to reclaim plots that have remained unused for 75 years if they have had no contact from the family who purchased the plot.  Cemeteries can even buy back sold plots that families no longer want.  Maybe not surprising then that the Division has been approached by families wanting to disinter their parents to sell the plots.  When a plot at Woodlawn can be valued at anything between $6,995 and $1.6 million, this is becoming the lucrative real estate of the 21st century for many cash-poor New Yorkers.

When a cremation can be performed within New York City for as little $475, including the crematory fee, it simply makes cremation the most affordable option.  For those New Yorkers that still want NYC to be their final resting place, then a small cremation niche may be a solution, or maybe an ash scattering.  Those New Yorkers who absolutely want to be buried, may have to turn to the suburbs, upstate New York or even New Jersey, where more burial space is available and at an affordable cost.

As the little burial space there is continues to run out, the prices for cemetery plots in New York is likely to increase.  If you are a New Yorker that holds an unused cemetery deed, this could turn out to have been a lucrative investment.  However, if you want to be buried in your city, but do not yet own a gravesite, you may find your options limited.

How to Give a Eulogy

eulogy_checklistMore families are opting to deliver their own memorial services, especially as the trend for direct cremation increases.  It can be a much more personal memorialization when the family and friends of the deceased prepare and deliver a eulogy at a funeral or memorial service.

The idea of a somber traditional funeral is slowly being replaced by something more celebratory, personalized and upbeat.  Today a Life Celebration is becoming a popular way of holding a funeral event.  This type of funeral ritual focuses more on celebrating the life of the deceased.

A eulogy should generally reflect on the life and personality of the person being memorialized.  Being given the task of writing and delivering a eulogy can be a daunting responsibility.  Choosing the right words, delivering it with the right amount of emotion, and being able to effectively reflect the personality of the person being eulogized are key to delivering a eulogy tribute.

What to do…

  • Position the eulogy by introducing yourself and your relationship with the deceased.
  • Try to keep the eulogy to a manageable time allowance (no more than 5 mins)
  • Include personal stories and anecdotes to re-live the memory of the person being eulogized.
  • Feel free to include a poem, song or artifact that memorializes the person.
  • When preparing a eulogy – you should consider how it fits into the whole service.  Is this to be a single eulogy? Are you combining stories from other family members or friends? Or will there be several eulogies from different people.

And what NOT to do!

  • Do not dwell on any negative aspects of the deceased or re-live ‘bad’ memories
  • Be honest without disclosing family secrets – do not use it as an opportunity to ‘get even’!
  • Whilst being honest, it would be diplomatic to avoid religious or political opinions.

How long should a eulogy be?

This can depend on the type of service and whether there is to be one or multiple eulogies delivered.  The general guideline seems to be between 3 and 5 minutes.  But this is all about personalization!

Can a person prepare their own eulogy?

Yes! There is no reason why a person cannot prepare their own eulogy.  In fact many people would prefer to be in control of how they are memorialized on their passing.   It has even been suggested that preparing your own eulogy can be a powerful tool for self-reflection.  It can be a great way to evaluate if you are ‘on track’ in terms of where your life is going and whether you are accomplishing the goals you aspire to.

MyOwnEulogy.com is a website that offers this unique service.  It enables you to create your own unique digital eulogy and then upload it to the site. You are in complete control as you can select the executors who will be notified of your passing and whether your digital content should be made public and remain private.

Check it out at MyOwnEulogy

My Own Eulogy

If you are tasked with preparing a eulogy you will find many resources online that can provide tips and inspirational quotes, poems and songs.  Preparation is probably key for constructing a tribute that is both dignified, reflective, emotional and yet celebratory.

Funeral Customs and Rituals from around the world

We are understand the ‘rites of passage’ as marking cultural traditions that are attached with certain points in our lives.   “Last rites” is generally considered the final passage of our life, however, the customs in how a funeral and our final passage from this world are performed vary by faith and culture.

This great infographic sums up some of the main differences in funeral customs from different cultures.

Funeral Ceremonies and Cultural Diversity

Selling cemetery plots in a declining burial marketplace

selling-cemetery-plotSome days it seems that everyone is trying to sell a cemetery plot that is no longer required.  As Communications Director for US Funerals Online I deal with inquiries on a daily basis from families, and one common question today is “how can I sell my cemetery plot?”  Unfortunately I think some individuals see the legacy of a family cemetery plot as the potential to a quick buck, but the reality is that more families are selling than those that are looking to buy!

Selling a cemetery plot is not always a straight-forward process.  Not only do we have a declining burial rate as cremation gains popularity, but finding an appropriate marketplace to sell a product that people do not really want to think about buying, can be problematic too!

So how do you sell an unwanted cemetery plot?

You have various avenues you can try.  Firstly there are online cemetery registry websites that allow you to list your cemetery property for sale.  Do be careful to check the terms for using an online registry.  Most online brokers will want a commission for helping you to sell your plot, but this can vary from a fixed fee to a percentage of the sale price.  Also check if there is a length of time you can list your property for, as cemetery property does not generally sell quickly!

You can also explore options in your locale.  Is there a cemetery real estate agent who can help you re-sell your property?  In some cases the cemetery may buy back your plot but the likelihood is that they will only offer you the original purchase price, or maybe even less.

A useful strategy may be to notify local funeral homes in your area that you have a cemetery plot for sale, the cost of the plot and the commission you would be willing to pay them if they sold the plot for you.   Do bear in mind that even cemeteries are struggling to sell plots now and offering huge discounts and enhanced commissions.  Local clergy and estate lawyers may also be worth notifying of your intent to sell a plot.

Don’t expect a quick sale!

Prepare yourself…selling that family plot that has been in the family for decades is not going to get you rich quick!  Transferring cemetery deeds can sometimes be a complicated affair.  If your family has a plot in an established cemetery, and if you happen to live in a city where burial space is becoming sparser, then you may be in luck.  But you do need to accept that your plot may take months, if not years, to sell and may not fetch thousands of dollars.

Cremation & Memorialization: Conducting your own memorial service

cremation-memorialOne of the most significant changes happening in the funeral industry today is the fragmentation of professional services.  For many years we have entrusted the funeral home to handle all aspects of the death ritual, from collecting and preparing the deceased to delivering a eulogy.  This may have all seemed very relevant in times when the funeral director most likely knew the deceased in person or through his community.  However, this is not so much the case now where funeral directors can be handling the services for a deceased person that they have never met!

This raises the issue of how effectively a funeral home can assist a family memorialize a person that they have no prior knowledge of, and is but one driver in why more families today are opting to conduct their own cremation memorial services.

Funeral directors can cremate: Families can memorialize!

Industry critics talk about how the industry is separating into the disposition and memorialization elements.  The disposition element continues to be served very well by funeral professionals, and cremation is offering a simple and low cost disposition option.  A basic cremation without any services (known in the trade as a direct cremation or immediate cremation) can be conducted in most cities for between $795 and $1,195.  This handles the complete disposition process simply, efficiently and at a manageable cost.

Once the cremated remains are returned to the family they can than arrange to conduct a cremation memorial service.  This can be arranged at a time and place that is entirely suitable for the family.  Memorial services can be held at home, in a place of worship or a community venue.  In fact, you can even hold a memorial service at a golf club!  They can be held with the cremated remains present, or without.  A memorial service can be held to scatter cremated remains, or to distribute keepsake cremation urns between family members.

Not only can the family arrange to conduct their own memorial service which can be uniquely personalized, but they can do it at a fraction of the cost a traditional funeral service at a funeral home would have cost.

memorial_board_makingLife celebrations: Tributes that are uniquely personal

No one can best memorialize a lost loved one than the family who hold those shared memories of the deceased.  Funerals are becoming less somber events and more about creating an uplifting celebration of a life lived.  The number of celebrants is increasing as families use the services of a professional to deliver secular celebration services.  However, where they feel capable the family can prepare and deliver their own tribute service.  A benefit of being able to arrange a timely cremation and postpone the funeral service is that it gives the family a chance to immediately grieve without being forced to make decisions about a funeral service.  The service can be arranged at a later date when the family feels ready to address the memorial aspect of remembering their lost loved one.

Save money by creating your own memorial tributes

If you wish to conduct your own memorial services and keep costs down, then there are various options available for how you can make your own memorial tributes.  You can download templates for memorial cards, set up free online memorial pages, and create your own memory boards, candles and wreaths.  All it takes is a little bit of time, imagination and desire to completely make your tribute personal.