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.
If you are planning on scattering cremated remains, think about incorporating the scattering into the service itself. You can hold a memorial service at the location of scattering, or plan the service so that it leads into the scattering at a different location.
Organize a slideshow of photos from all stages of the individual’s life. Be sure to include captions to show what year, or where, photos were taken, as it will help the memorial service attendees to piece together aspects of the person’s life with which they may not be familiar.
Funeral flowers come in all colors, styles, and designs. You can choose a particular flower or color as part of an overall theme. This can include hobbies, organizations and associations, sports, and much more.
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.
Dove Releases have become a popular way to end a funeral or life celebration. The release is a symbolic yet tactile way to help family members in the grieving process by a literal act of “letting go.” This adds a poignant sense of hope and beauty to the memorial service.
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.