5 Ways to Personalize a Funeral

Published: October 27, 2022

Many families want to plan a personalized funeral service that reflects the unique qualities of their loved one. A personalized funeral allows the family to express love for their family member and helps highlight how special this one-of-a-kind person was. When contemplating how to plan a personalized funeral, remember that our culture encourages people to think "outside the box." This article will help you plan a memorable funeral service that will honor your loved one in a personal way.

1. Mementos Display

When mourners first arrive, they should see a table or a few tables in the foyer adorned with photographs and mementos. Maybe your loved one had a collection they were proud of, such as dolls, baseball caps, quilts, Christmas tree ornaments, crazy neckties, or pet rocks. You can also display certificates of accomplishment, trophies, and personal creations such as art, woodworking, or inventions your loved one created. Maybe your loved one preferred balloons over flowers, so the attendees might see cheerful, colorful balloons welcoming them inside. Watching people enjoy remembering their loved one can be a comfort to grieving family members.

2. Memories Video

Hathaway would like to help you create a personalized memorial video. All you need to supply are photos. But, you may ask, how many? Around 70 pictures are recommended. You can start collecting these in advance so there will not be a stressful scramble at the last minute. You can also choose music for the video that will play while scrolling through treasured photos. You can use your loved one's favorite music or music that communicates how you feel about your deceased family member. The video will become a family treasure that will be viewed with nostalgia in the years to come.

3. Shared Stories

Family members may want to share stories about how their loved one impacted their life. Some reflections may be humorous, while others may contain nuggets of wisdom passed down to the next generation. They can ask someone to read their memories if they feel uncomfortable doing so. These stories are a meaningful way of making the funeral more personal for family members. Hearing a story they have not heard before can be like receiving a priceless letter from their loved one after they passed. Some families choose to have an open microphone or testimony time, in which people are allowed to share during the funeral. Others prefer to provide memory cards at the sign-in table, on which people can write their stories and place the card in a basket for the family to read and reflect upon in the coming days.

4. Service Details

Creative planning can produce a personal reflection of a life well lived. Music, readings (Scripture or poems), a pastor's message of comfort, inspirational speakers, and words spoken by family members all create a personal funeral. Some people may even want to make a video of them talking to their funeral guests before they pass, to be played at their funeral. The options for a personal funeral service are endless. For example, if your loved one adored ballet, you could invite a ballet dancer to grace the service. If your loved one loved picnics, the reception could feature potato salad, baskets with sandwiches, chips, and cookies, checkered tablecloths, and an outdoor photo booth. Your loved one may be pleased to display their Irish pride by requesting green tablecloths with an Irish flag displayed in a centerpiece at each table. This is your chance to make your loved one’s funeral one that people will remember.

5. Guest Keepsakes

Some families take great care in making a beautiful memory folder. The folder can contain a few favorite photos, a poem or verse, a recipe they were famous for, the obituary, and a personal thank-you message from the family. This folder can become a keepsake that will be treasured. In addition, some families like to give each guest a small token of appreciation. If your loved one collected candles, you could give each guest a small candle in a pretty candle holder. Or, if your loved one was an avid coffee lover, grandchildren could stand at the door with baskets full of k-cups (coffees, teas, and cider) to give each guest as they leave.

We hope these ideas have sparked your creativity and provided valuable ideas to help you plan a personalized funeral. You can find out more about creating a personalized funeral service here. Please let us know if you have any questions, and we will be happy to help you. Your efforts to create a personalized funeral will honor your loved one in a meaningful and memorable way. 

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