A woman holds a candle as tribute to those we lost in 2017.

 

Written by Elisa Weiss

 

The last several years have been marked by an increase in the number of families looking to personalize their or a loved one’s funeral, resulting from the aging population’s tendency to make funeral choices based on values that are different than in previous generations.

 

Today’s families are looking to plan funeral services that are as unique as the person who died, oftentimes reflecting the hobbies, passions, and interests of the deceased.

 

Check out these 40 ideas to help families memorialize their loved one long after the service.

 

Creative Photo and Message Displays

Memorialize a loved one through creative displays of personal photos and condolence messages. These unique displays are easy to create and will show families that you are willing to go the extra mile to help them commemorate their loved one.

 

1. Photo Display with Balloons

 

balloon_photo_attached_memorial

Attach a photo from each year of the loved one’s life for an extra touch.

2. Memorial Tree

 

memorytree

Hang condolence messages from tree branches.

3. Photo Quilt

 

memorial quilt

Create a photo quilt. (Click the picture for a how-to guide).

4. Memorial Stones for Condolence Messages

 

memorial stones

Guests can record condolence messages on rocks and place in a bowl for the family to take home following the service.

Memorial Releases

Families are increasingly memorializing their loved one through celebration of life events in lieu of traditional funeral services. This stems from the desire for more personalized, informal gatherings to reflect upon and celebrate their loved one’s life. Memorial releases like the ones listed below make great additions to life celebration events and help the family say goodbye to their loved one in a meaningful way.

 

5. Butterfly Release

 

butterfly release

Butterflies have, for many cultures, represented transformation. Because of this, a butterfly release is a meaningful tribute to a loved one’s transformation from this life to the next.

6. Balloon Release

 

A previous version of this article included a balloon release, but after much feedback, we suggest finding an alternative that is safer for the environment.

 

7. Dove Release

 

dove-release

Dove releases represent letting go and promoting the healing process. In some cases, doves have also been seen as the representation of a loved one’s spirit, flying away to heaven and freedom.

8. Lantern Release

 

lantern release

In some Eastern cultures, sky lanterns are released to help guide the spirits of their ancestors back to the grave.

Memorial Jewelry

Following a service, many family members may be looking for a way to keep their loved one with them wherever they go — memorial jewelry is a great solution.

 

9. Cremation Jewelry

 

cremation jewelry

 

10. Handwritten Memorial Jewelry

 

custom handwritten jewelry

 

11. Beads Made from Sympathy Flowers

 

jewelery beads out of funeral flowers

 

12. Locket with Favorite Photo of the Deceased

 

locket

Creative Memorial Frame and Photo Ideas

Frames and photos are a great way to personalize a celebration of life gathering — from displaying favorite pictures to offering a unique sign-in experience for guests — and the options are truly endless. See below for some of our favorite frame ideas.

 

13. Alternative Funeral Guestbook

 

heart guestbook

Guests can sign in by writing their name on tiny cardboard hearts.

14. Memorial Shadowbox

 

photo box

Click the photo to learn more about how to create a photo keepsake box.

15. Photo Wreath

 

personalize a funeral

Click the photo to learn more about how to create a photo wreath.

16. Signable Photo Frame

 

signable frame

Guests can sign in and share condolences on a signable frame.

Custom Treasured Keepsakes

Today’s families are far more value-conscious than in the past, and they are looking for unique personalized keepsakes to honor their loved one.

 

17. Photo Keepsake Book

 

memorial keepsake book

Transfer info gathered using Frazer Consultants’ Tribute eGuest digital guestbook into a professionally-printed, Shutterfly-quality tribute keepsake book.

18. Customized Thank-You Cards

 

funeral thank you card

Use your Tribute eGuest data to create customized thank you cards and mailing labels.

19. Memorial Candles

 

memorial candle

Our Life Journey candles are a beautiful and unique way to honor the memory of loved ones.

20. Memorial Glass or Crystal Ornament

 

memorial ornament

Memorial ornaments serve as a great addition to your holiday remembrance services.

21. Memorial DVD

 

memorial dvd

Easily create cinematic quality memorial DVDs priced as low as $14 per video using Frazer Consultants’ all-in-one personalization suite, Tribute Center.

Food and Drink

Serving the favorite foods and beverages of the deceased is an endearing way to personalize a funeral service.

 

22. Offer the Deceased’s Favorite Treats in a Candy Bar

 

candy

 

23. Serve a Favorite Beverage

 

beverage table

 

24. Cook a Favorite Food or Dish

 

favorite dish

Let Your Love Grow

Planting a tree, shrub, or flowers in honor of the deceased is a beautiful way to commemorate a loved one and create a permanent memorial for friends and family to gather in remembrance.

 

25. Plant a Memorial Tree in the Decedent’s Name

 

 

26. Hand Out Keepsake Saplings to Funeral Attendees

 

keepsake sapling

 

27. Plant a Remembrance Tree from Cremated Remains

 

ashes tree

Personalize the Funeral Service

Look for ways to personalize the funeral service so it serves as a direct reflection of the deceased loved one, their life, and their existing legacy.

 

28. Involve Family and Friends

 

Loved ones can share favorite stories and memories over a microphone for a more meaningful eulogy.

29. Hand Out Personalized Programs and Prayer Cards

 

programs and prayer cards 2  programs and prayer cards

 

30. Play a Favorite Song or Artist of the Deceased During the Service

 

song

Highlight the Deceased’s Hobbies or Interests

There is no better way to showcase a loved one’s passions at a funeral service than by adding their favorite hobbies and interests to the mix.

 

31. Incorporate Favorite Sports

 

fishing pole golf clubs

 

32. Showcase a Map of Their Travels

 

memory_table_travel_map

 

33. Display Favorite Books

 

books

 

34. Ask Family and Friends to Wear Clothing Representative of the Deceased’s Favorite Sports Team

 

favorite sports clothing

Showcase Favorite Items

Ask families to bring in some of their loved one’s favorite items to create a more meaningful and personalized service.

 

35. Display Favorite Collections

 

car collection star wars collection

 

36. Repurpose a Favorite Shirt into a Pillow

 

shirt

Click the picture for a step by step guide for creating a T-shirt pillow.

37.  Exhibit Favorite Artwork (i.e. Sculptures, Paintings, or Drawings)

 

RaysofHope

Invite Guests to Take Home a Memento

Many guests that attend a funeral service may be looking to take home a keepsake item in memory of their departed friend or relative. Provide keepsakes like those listed below for memorializing the deceased.

 

38. Memory Stones

 

memory_stones_heart_angel_wings

 

39. Forget-Me-Not Seed Packets

 

seed packets

 

40. Memory Pocket Charms

 

pocket charms

 

Any other ideas on how to personalize your funeral services? Share your favorite recommendations in the comments below!