Someone lights a paper lantern and waits to release it


Written by Jenny Goldade


Personalization is one of the 2017 funeral trends funeral directors expect to grow.


Families want funeral services to reflect their loved one and let everyone experience what made their life special.


Since personalization is on the rise, we’ve come up with a list of 11 ways to personalize a funeral service.


Family and Friends Involvement

Family and friends can have personal involvement in the funeral service to help them grieve and honor their loved one. They can be a pallbearer or read a eulogy in tribute of the deceased, or if they’d rather do something behind-the-scenes, they can help create personalized photo displays about the deceased, which we’ll talk about in more detail later in this post.


Floral Sprays

Don’t underestimate the healing power of flowers; flowers express feelings of love, show sympathy, and give hope and strength to grieving families. Creative, personalized floral sprays can showcase a loved one’s hobby, such as incorporating golf balls into the floral spray if they played golf. Or, you can personalize the floral spray by including photos of the deceased.



Food and grieving go hand in hand and create more opportunities for personalization. Families can serve their loved one’s favorite foods, or if their loved one liked to cook, use their recipes to make their signature dishes to serve. Family and friends can be given a copy of the recipes as a memorial gift to take with them.


Memorial Gifts

Families and friends can grieve and remember their loved one through a personal memorial gift. For example, if they liked to garden, give funeral attendees a packet of seeds to plant in their loved one’s honor. Or if they liked to read, provide everyone with a personalized bookmark to keep the memory of their loved one close to them.



When listening to music, it transports us to a different place and can provide us with a way to cope with the loss of a loved one. Whether it’s through comforting words or familiar lyrics, music heals the soul. You can personalize funeral services by playing songs for grieving, or playing songs by the deceased’s favorite music artists.


Personalized Casket or Urn

A custom-designed casket or an iconic urn can personalize the memory of a deceased loved one forever. Caskets and urns can be made personal by having a unique design, or they can be made to look like a favorite item of the deceased, such as Carrie Fisher’s Prozac pill urn, or this sneaker-shaped casket.


Photo Display

A memorial photo display of a loved one’s hobbies and interests shows their personality and what made their life special. You can create a wreath with photos of the deceased and fake flowers so that it’ll last forever. Or, create a display filled with their favorite activities. For example, if they liked running, create a display with their running shoes, water bottle, and photos.


Release Lanterns

By having family and friends participate in a ceremonial release of lanterns, it’ll add personalization to their loved one’s funeral service while also honoring their memory of them. Other than releasing lanterns, some other suggestions for things to release are balloons, butterflies, or doves. Just be sure to find lanterns and balloons that are biodegradable.


Share Memories

Family and friends can share memories of their loved one by writing their name and a short message on a piece of paper and attaching it to a memorial tree. Or, everyone can write on memorial stones to place in a glass vase, or an item personal to the deceased such as a soccer ball if they played soccer. Family and friends also can gather after the service to comfort each other and share memories.


Tribute Video

Creating a Tribute Video to honor a loved one can help family and friends grieve while having a permanent memorial video of their loved one’s life to keep and cherish forever. You can include photos and memories that capture the deceased’s personality, and add effects to create a mixture of emotions to show their life’s moments.


Unique Memorial Service Location

Holding the memorial service in a location special to the deceased is another way to add personalization to the service. If they liked being outdoors, hold the memorial service in a garden or park. Or if they chose cremation and having their ashes scattered, hold the memorial service in the scattering location.


What are some other unique ways to personalize a funeral service? Share them with us in the comments!