Memorial Service Guidelines

A Memorial Service is similar to the funeral service, but the body is absent. It is sometimes necessary if the body is not available, or if many friends and family members were not able to attend the funeral.

Memorial service can be organized in any place of your choosing and it can be done even some time after the loved one has been buried or cremated. In fact, memorial service is often organized on the anniversary of the death or birthday of the loved one.
The advantage of memorial service over funeral service is that it can be done after the most raw emotions are over and the worst stage of grieving has passed. That allows you to organize the memorial as the true celebration of life.

Think of the memorial service as a party honoring the life of the departed loved one. It can be done in any place he or she loved, such as a beach, garden, boat deck or mountain summit. It can be anything from a memorial barbecue to. a solemn church or cathedral event.

Get several people to prepare short speeches to talk about the life of the departed person. Get the music he or she loved. Bring his or her favorite flowers. Invite all the people you think he or she would love to see, people who were important part of his or her life.

If you are serving food during the memorial service, you might want to choose your loved one’s favorite dishes. Stay away from alcohol, not everyone can hold their liquor.

Memorial service can also be organized around the release of the ashes, if your loved one was cremated.


Music is the language of emotions. It affects us profoundly even when we are not completely aware of it. Music should be a vital part of any funeral or memorial service. It will offer comfort to the bereaved and it will bring memories of the departed loved one to life.

Funeral service with religious affiliation will dictate the choice of music you can bring. Funeral homes usually have excellent sound system to help with it. If you have no preference as to the kind of music to have, the funeral director will offer appropriate selection.

Live music performed by a family member or by a well known musician is always welcome by the bereaved.
You can buy appropriate funeral music online, or you can download it to your computer. Some of the all-time favorites are:

Amazing Grace (Elvis Prestley)
Ave Maria (there are many versions, the one sang by Andrea Boccelli is popular)
Mozart’s Requiem
Candle in the Wild by Elton John

All sacred hymns, baroque music and new age music can be used, most of it sounds sufficiently solemn.

Music for the memorial service can be quite different. While memorial services held in churches will demand more solemn kind of music, other types of memorial services offer a lot of freedom to choose the kind of music you find appropriate. It can be the favorite music of the departed loved one, even if it is jazz or punk rock.

It can be music performed by their favorite composer or musician. Or it can be soothing sound of guitars or piano. It all depends on the atmosphere you want to create. Memorial services are celebrations of life and the life often means happy music. Just think of your loved departed one smiling or tapping his or her feet.


Flowers are traditional part of funeral or memorial services in all cultures and religions. They bring a sense of beauty and elegance to the proceedings. They are often very formal, but they can also be the favorite flowers of the departed person and can add a personal touch to the ceremony.

Traditional funerals have their own protocols when it comes to flowers.

Open viewing of the body requires a special flower piece that is placed on the body in the coffin.

Top of the closed coffin requires special formal bouquet supplied by the famiy.

Funeral service requires close family to provide a wreath on the easel as well as a special formal bouquet on its own stand in front of the coffin.

Flower wreaths are often sent by close friends, relatives and business associates, as a sign of respect and condolence for the close family. They are displayed during the funeral service and later placed over the grave.

Floral wreaths can be made of fresh or artificial flowers. While artificial flowers last longer, the real flowers are much more appropriate.

Flowers, especially formal arrangements typical for the funerals, are often very costly and many families prefer that the money is spent to benefit a charity close to the heart of your loved one. In that case, make sure that it is mentioned in the obituary and death notice that the donation should be made instead of flowers.

Sympathy flowers are usually sent to the home of the close family, often together with the sympathy card. Pots of live flowers or plants are also very appropriate and will bring comfort to the bereaved family for a long time.

Instead of flowers for the funeral, you might opt to plant flowers or a tree in the honor of your loved one in some public place. It would be a touching symbol of the life well lived.

If you’re still planning or thinking about a memorial service, chances are you’re undergoing some turbulent emotions at this time. Be sure to sign up below to receive my next video on how to overcome feelings of grieve and distress during this tumultuous time of loss.

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