Are you planning a funeral for a loved one, but aren’t sure how to make it special? Or perhaps you are preplanning your funeral and would like to include some personal touches. Look no farther! This post will give you 3 basically free funeral personalization ideas that will warm hearts, spark conversations, and trigger memories for every guest attending.
#1. Deliberate Decorations
There are so many ways to personalize a space through decorations. That’s the difference between a house and a home, is it not? Consider being a little more deliberate with the spaces that will be visited during the funeral you are planning. For example, my sweet neighbor was known by the whole block as having “the flamingo house” because she loved and collected flamingo figurines. When I attended her funeral, I was so pleased to see the whole room had been decked out in her collection of flamingos. It didn’t seem to match the vibe of funerals I had seen on television—the room did not feel austere or solemn or oppressive in any way, because my neighbor was none of those things. She was peppy and quirky and such a fun lady. I thought the deliberate decorations perfectly immortalized her personality and brought a little of her spirit there with us. Could you make an effort to match the energy of the room with the energy of the person being honored? Can you use any items from their home as part of the décor? What if the guests were able to contribute to the room’s look and feel by bringing something that represents the person who passed? Get creative and don’t worry about straying from tradition!
#2. Memorial Music
I had this idea when I was working with my preneed agent to pre-plan my own service. Instead of religious or instrumental music, which is not really my style, I included in my plans a request for my family to reach out to family and friends to submit a song that reminds them of me or our relationship or our time together. I instructed my loved ones to compile these songs into a playlist and play them during my memorial service. I can imagine my sisters chatting about the concerts we went to when we were teenagers, my daughter feeling excited when “our song” comes on. I just want people to share memories and have conversations about our lives together, and for me, nothing helps me remember more than music does. Could you assign out the music instead of going with the funeral home’s default playlist? What if you chose music that epitomized certain time periods in someone’s life? Have you considered live music? For many people, music is one of the most personal things about them, so don’t forget this element as you nail down the details!
#3. Cultivate Contributions
For me, one of the best ways that I have seen funerals become more intimate and personal has been to have the guests contribute to something—a guest book, a thumbprint tree, or a photo album. I love the idea that everyone brings a photo (or picks a photo from a pre-printed stack), places it in an album, and writes a memory below it. What a beautiful and special keepsake for the grieving family! I once attended a funeral where the 3 daughters of the deceased had mounted a huge blank canvas in the middle of the church gym. They had a table full of paints and brushes, and asked everyone to paint a handprint with their name onto the collage. It ended up as this breathtaking piece of art that connected everyone together in their grief—what a great idea! Have you considered some sort of collective project like this? Is there a more creative way you could keep track of who was in attendance? Could you make this part of the experience for the guests?