Personalizing a Funeral or Memorial Service

Personalizing a funeral provides a wonderful range of options to make a lasting and memorable tribute. Families can choose as much or as little personalization as they like. Below are many of the options we see South Coast area families choose, but if you have other ideas to reflect a personality trait or hobby, please be sure to share with us.

Personalization of the Service and Burial


A casket symbolizing a loved one's final resting place and for some, choosing a casket is one of the most important choices when planning a burial. Caskets come in a variety of styles from classic to elaborate. They are offered in materials from pine, mahogany and maple to stainless steel and bronze.

Burial Vault

A burial vault is a lined and sealed outer receptacle that holds the casket or urn and protects it from the weight of the earth and the heavy maintenance equipment that is used to keep cemeteries beautiful. Many cemeteries require having a vault because it's an important part in keeping your loved ones remains safe.

Headstones and Markers

Headstones and markers are longstanding tributes that offer a physical place where loved ones can come to pay their respects. From granite headstones to bronze markers, there are many choices available and options for every family.


Urns come in many shapes, sizes and designs. Urns can be displayed during a memorial service and then buried in a cemetery plot or placed in a niche or columbarium. Sometimes, a family member will take the urn home to display in a special place in their home. There are also smaller urns available so other family members can share in the remembrance of their loved one. There are many unique urn options available today, including picture frame urns or even weathervane urns that have a waterproof compartment to house a small amount of ashes.

Biodegradable Urns

For those that choose to scatter cremains over water, there are biodegradable urns that are designed to break down naturally. There are also biodegradable tree urns that offer a unique option to memorialize a loved one by growing a tree that includes their cremains.


Photos are a great way to share a lifetime of memories. One option is to display framed pictures at the visitation or memorial service. Today, many families like to create a memory board containing a collage of photographs and memories. Not only can photos be displayed during services, but they can also be used to customize programs, bookmarks and prayer cards.


Sharing a loved one’s favorite things like medals, diplomas or awards is another way to honor the deceased during the visitation or service. For some, it may display a beautiful oil painting they made. For others, it may be their favorite cookbook.

Video Tribute

Families are welcome to create a DVD of photos and videos to play during the visitation or service. This is an opportunity to share favorite music and memories that were significant to the deceased.

Custom Registry Books

Hathaway Family Funeral Homes offers registry books in many styles, colors and materials and can range from simple to elaborate. Registry books can also be customized with a photo or favorite quote.


Music is a very special and personal part of a funeral. Families can arrange for musicians to play instruments including the violin, piano, organ, harp or bagpipe. Some may also choose a special vocalist for songs or hymns performed during services.

Specialized Veteran Services

Hathaway Family Funeral Homes is proud to offer professional and dignified assistance to help honor your loved one’s dedication and service as a veteran. Learn more about veteran ceremonies and services.

Display Tables

A display table is another way to honor and remember a loved one. For example, maybe your loved one enjoyed baking and that was a big part of their life. You may choose to set up a display table with their favorite cooking tools and recipes. Or maybe a family member was in the military, and a display table could be used to showcase their uniform and memorable photos.


Personalization After the Service


Creating jewelry that holds the ashes of a loved one or is created by mixing ashes into the material used, is a popular option today. This choice also allows for several pieces of jewelry to be created and shared with more than one family member.

Customized Keepsakes

A memorial keepsake is a special item that provides a personal connection to a loved one. There are many unique and beautiful options when it comes to creating a keepsake. From bookmarks to jewelry, urns to windchime, there is no limit when it comes to creative and memorable keepsakes. These can be created to hand out to those attending services or specifically for family members to display or otherwise treasure.

Interested in Creating a Personalized Plan for You and Your Spouse?

Contact Us to Learn More

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