A creek running through a forest


Written by Jenny Goldade


Nature is the perfect place for reminiscing while being out in the fresh air amongst trees and flowers. It’s proven that nature has a positive effect on emotional health, so what better place to hold a funeral service?


Loved ones can grieve in the comfort of nature and with personalization on the rise, an outdoor funeral service is a unique way to create a personalized service, especially if the deceased was outdoorsy.


Here are a few tips on how to make the most of an outdoor memorial service.


1. Location. Location. Location.


When choosing a location, keep in mind places that are scenic and have a special meaning. It can be a family member’s backyard, a local park or garden, or the cemetery or ash scattering location if being cremated; just make sure you have permission to use the area. Dedicating a memorial bench to the deceased at the funeral location is an admirable way to honor their memory. Check with your local park to find out the requirements for dedicating a bench.


2. Add Personalization


Further embrace nature by incorporating a seasonal theme. If it’s springtime, a spring funeral can include floral photo wreaths, pastels and greens, and spring-themed decorations such as rain boots and umbrellas filled with flowers, but weigh down decorations in case of wind. Or, a fall funeral can have leaves, hay bales, pumpkins, and warm reds, oranges, yellows, and browns.


3. Go Green


In an effort to protect the environment and not cause a financial burden for family, green funerals are a popular environmentally-friendly option. The deceased’s love for the outdoors can be expressed through eco-friendly burial options such as a pine casket or a biodegradable urn with their ashes and seeds that grow into a tree.


4. Have a Releasing Ceremony


Families can have a releasing ceremony for their loved one’s ash scattering, or just as a tribute to their life. They can release something natural like wildflower seeds, something living such as doves or butterflies, or light biodegradable lanterns to send off into the sky. A loved one’s ashes can even be turned into fireworks to celebrate their life.


5. Make Outdoorsy Mementos


Use nature-inspired decorations to create long-lasting memorial items for loved ones. Family and friends can write memories and memorial messages on pieces of paper to attach to a memorial tree. All you need is a vase, stones, tree branches, and string to attach the messages. Or, give loved ones a packet of seeds as a memento to plant in their loved one’s honor.


6. Learn from Wedding Planners


Funeral directors and wedding planners are more alike than you may think, as they’re both event planners. Funeral directors can learn a few tips from them for creating a personalized funeral service. When planning an outdoor service, consider items you’ll need such as chairs or a tent, and have the area sprayed for bugs beforehand and light citronella candles to help repel them. Depending on the location, you may want to rent restrooms if there aren’t any nearby.


7. Be Prepared


In case the weather doesn’t permit, it’s wise to have a backup indoor location for the service. If you’re using a tent, make sure to choose a type of event tent that works on your surface whether it’s pavement or grass, and have tent side walls and plastic tarps in case of rain. If it’s a warm day, you may want to bring some fans and find a shaded area for the service.


Do you have other tips for planning an outdoor funeral service? Share them with us in the comments!