tips for planning a funeral for yourself

Three Ways To Personalize A Funeral

Funerals serve as a way to pay your final respects to the deceased. They allow family and others who are grieving the loss of a loved one to find support and comfort in the company of others. While a traditional funeral service often includes the dearly departed at the front of the room in an open casket with a minister or other official presenting a eulogy, customs and practices have changed in recent years. Many opt for a more modern funeral that is personalized to match the personality or wishes of the deceased. If you are faced with the task of making funeral arrangements for someone you love, consider these options for personalizing the funeral.

1. Showcasing Photos: Honoring the life and achievements of a loved one is easy when you do it with photos. Setting up a video display with images that represent all stages of the loved one's life is a wonderful way to showcase special moments and to illustrate the deceased's finest moments. In addition, because the video includes photos and clips from varying segments of the deceased life, there is something that will hit home for nearly all the attendants. Including work and leisure activities, childhood photos, school days and family photos may be especially meaningful for old friends, work associates and family. Videos or slideshows can be made on your home computer and broadcast at the funeral or during viewings.

2. Preserving Memories: There are several options for making memories a central point of the service. Consider these options:

Memory Jar: A simple memory jar placed on or near the casket allows attendees to write a special memory on a note card and add it to the jar to take part in sharing memories without being put in the spotlight. The memories can be read aloud by a willing volunteer, if desired, or saved for later for family to read after the services.

Memory Book: Instead of the traditional guest book, provide a book where guests can jot down their favorite memories of the deceased. You can also do this online prior to the service and make the book available for guests to read online. Either way, the book serves as a keepsake for the family to remind them of how their loved one touched the lives of others.

Memory Photo Album: If a media display is not practical for you, ask guests to bring a special photo of the deceased and add it to a photo album. You may want to appoint someone to take charge and organize the photos in an inexpensive photo album as they come in. After the service, you can turn the collection of photos into a memory book.

Memory Tree: This cute display is similar to an Easter tree and can be made from natural branches, or you can purchase a base in craft stores. It may be sold as an Easter tree, money tree or other similar name. Use small tags for writing memories and hang them from the tree. As an alternative, ask guests to write one or two words that describe the deceased and display them from the branches. You may wish to use stars, hearts or other shaped tags for the memory tree.

3. Giving a Grand Send Off: Some prefer to make the actual service a grand gesture by having the entire ceremony in an unusual setting that honors the deceased's lifestyle. Consider these options and tailor them to meet the lifestyle of your loved one.

  • On the Water: If your loved one had a passion for the water as a swimmer, sailor or surfer, take the entire funeral service to the beach. A central boat can be used for giving the eulogy, while attendees watch on from boats filling the harbor.
  • On the Ski Slope: If your loved one was an avid skier, consider holding the services on the ski slope. Once the eulogy is given, everyone can ski down to the lodge and gather to offer condolences and support for the family.
  • In a Favorite Location: Everyone has their own unique passions, whether it is observing the sunset or watching the sunrise. Consider staging the services in the environment your loved one found most enjoyable.

Personalizing a funeral is an excellent way to pay your final respects to a loved one in a way that honors their lifestyle and passions in life. Think about what mattered most to your loved one and look for ways to incorporate that into the service. For more information and advice, contact a funeral home like Taylor Funeral Home.