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.

What is the difference between a funeral service and a memorial service?

Both a funeral service and a memorial service serve to give us opportunity to ritualistically say goodbye to a departed loved one.  Funerals are often regarded as practices for the living, and part of the process of grieving.  The distinction between a funeral service and a memorial service is largely the presence of the deceased’s body at the service and the time-frame in which the service is organized.

A funeral service generally takes place within a week or so of a death occurring, and the casket (and deceased) are usually present during the service, whether it be an open or closed casket service.  This can be a funeral service followed by a traditional burial or a funeral service followed by a cremation.

A memorial service often takes place some time after the death has occurred.  It can replace the funeral service, or it can be an additional service providing opportunity for a wider circle of people to participate in the memorialization.  With the rise in cremations, some families are opting to have a memorial service instead of having a funeral service.  This way the family arranges for an immediate cremation and then arranges a memorial service once the cremated remains are returned to the family.

The benefit of opting for a memorial service is that firstly it alleviates the pressure of having to organize a service in the immediate days following a death.  Allowing grieving to take place without frantically making arrangements.  All that needs to be organized is the collection and cremation of the deceased.  Many funeral homes will offer the opportunity to have a private family viewing where you can have the chance to say a formal ‘goodbye’ to your loved one before the cremation takes place.  The cremated remains will be made available for the family to collect, or can be delivered to the family.

Another benefit of a memorial service is the reduced cost.  If you arrange and undertake your own memorial service, not only is it truly personalized, it eliminates the need to pay other people for this service.  Whether you are choosing to inter or scatter the ashes, you can arrange to do so at a time and place that suits your family.

The funeral industry is resisting this shift to cremation and memorial service, largely because it reduces their revenue and profits.  They like to try and tell us that we need to have a service in order to process our grief.  Whilst I do agree that a ritual may be an important aspect of psychologically managing our bereavement, I do not think that the funeral industry have to be intrinsic to this process.  I believe that we as family can often arrange a memorial service that better reflects our lost loved one’s life, without any assistance from professional services.

At the end of the day, you have to do what is right for you and your lost loved one.  What kind of service you decide upon has to be the right way to memorialize and pay tribute to the person you have lost.

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