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



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

2. Memorial Tree



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 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



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




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



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




33. Display Favorite 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



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)



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




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!