Buffets help keep the costs down, while still affording attendees the opportunity to share a meal together and continue to process grief, encourage the family, and share memories. You can also incorporate a buffet into the decorating scheme by asking attendees to bring dishes in an ethnic or party theme.
A balloon release allows everyone to participate in the act of “letting go”, and at very little cost. Provide small cards or bits of colorful construction paper with a hole punched in the corner. Allow guests to write a message, such as a treasured memory or a note expressing love or grief, and attach message to the balloon and release them together for a beautiful finish to the memorial service.
Decorate in a way that expresses your loved one’s heritage, favorite sports teams, hobbies, military or charitable service, religion, or other interests. For someone of Irish heritage, think about throwing a traditional Irish Wake. For a hunting enthusiast, cover the walls with camouflage, leaves, and mounted trophies. Use Dallas Cowboys colors or Star Wars decor. Have photos of the inner city kids they mentored, or Habitat for Humanity projects, or volleyball teams they coached.
Chinese lanterns Floating lanterns, have been a traditional part of many culture’s celebrations and holidays for generations. Lighting a candle for the deceased is a common memorial tradition, so it is fitting (and beautiful) to combine these traditions by lighting sky lanterns during or after the memorial service.
A cairn is a man-made pile of rocks, often used as a landmark. If you will be scattering remains, or even just conducting the memorial service in the great outdoors, having those present help in building a cairn in honor of your loved one will allow everyone to contribute during the service, and will also leave a landmark in memory of the departed which can be revisited by all.