Giving a eulogy
It is common to have a main speaker at the ceremony give a eulogy.
A eulogy is a small speech that you give to honour and pay to tribute to the person who has died. It is often given by a close friend or relative and could include intimate memories, achievements or landmark events in their life, some humour and moments of reflections.
If you use a third party minister or celebrant they can help you write and even give the eulogy for you.
How to decorate a celebration of life memorial?
Depending on where you choose to hold the memorial, you may want to decorate the area with things that are meaningful. If your loved one had a particular hobby or interest, you could have snippets of this around. Flowers can be a way of brightening up the venue. You can find local or online providers to create floral tributes into shapes or their name. Photos provide a visual memory and can be used as a focal point at the front of the venue.
You can be as creative as you like when decorating for a memorial. If you hire out a location, they may have a team that can help you plan a theme for the day.
Unique additions to the day
There are many ways to make the day unique. You could get the guests involved with an element of the ceremony. Possibly lighting a candle or writing something down in a card that the family can keep. You could create a display with the ashes by spreading them across lots of lanterns and letting them drift away in a stream.
For further ideas on this topic, view our recent blog on planning a personal send-off. Here, we discuss ways to make the day more unique for you and your loved ones.
Should I include food and beverages at a memorial?
If you are planning something at your home or garden it is usual to have some food and beverages available either before or after the ceremony. This can be as simple as some light snacks you buy from the supermarket to hiring a caterer to serve a full buffet. The time of day may help you choose between light snacks or a full meal. If you are hiring out a venue, they may be able to help with the catering. Check with your caterer or venue about guest dietary restrictions. Including a bar can help the celebratory nature of the service if you are planning an evening event.
It is not uncommon to have a ceremony at one location and then reconvene at another location to eat and drink. To save on cost you could meet at a local bar or restaurant after the ceremony where everybody pays for themselves.
You may want to create a memory of the event using family or a friend/professional. It could even be webcast to include those unable to attend.
How to host a celebration of life memorial?
Using the different elements provided in this guide you can create a plan of how you want the memorial service to run. It’s best to break the ceremony up so that you have some speaking, music and readings one after the other. It helps to write everything down including the speaking parts, either word for word or as a bullet point list – don’t worry if this isn’t exactly how it happens on the day, it’s just to get your thoughts down on paper. Once you have a plan of everything you want to include and you have put the elements in an order you are happy with, run it past some friends or family to get their input. There’s no right or wrong way, it’s an emotional time and nobody is expecting it to be perfect when it comes from the heart.