Today it can be very hard for all of the family and friends of a deceased person to gather together in time for a funeral not to mention work mates from past jobs, old school friends and acquaintances with whom the rest of the family may not be all that familiar. To give everyone who loved the deceased person the chance to celebrate his or her life, many families and friends choose to organise a memorial service to be held after the funeral.
Date and Place
The first step in organising a memorial service is to decide when and where it will be held. Memorial services are almost always held on a date after the funeral, some even a year or more after that date. Memorial services may also be held on a specific date, such as the deceased s birthday or the anniversary of his or her death. Memorial services may be held anywhere, though they are often held in family homes, school or church halls, local community centres, or even in natural settings that were favoured by the deceased such as a beach or park. Be sure to check with authorities if you would like to hold a memorial service in a public or privately owned location.
Announcements and Invitations
Once you know when and where you will be holding the memorial service you must communicate this information to potential guests via an announcement, invitations or both. Placing an announcement in a newspaper, church bulletin or school circular is usually as easy as calling the publication and arranging for the ad. Flyers that can be posted or passed around the deceased s former place of work or study may also be helpful in spreading the word. Finally, invitations can be purchased in packs or printed for the occasion which can be mailed out to particularly important guests.
Order of Service
What will actually happen at the memorial service is up to you. Would you like music to be played or songs sung? Would you like poems or essays to be read? Would you like friends or family members to speak about their favourite memories of the deceased? Would you like pictures, slides or videos to be shown? You may also need to think about the setting of the service. How would you like it to be decorated? Will there be pictures on display? Will there be flowers? When you do decide what you would like, remember to ask others if they would be comfortable with participating rather than simply assuming that they will. Once you have the order of the service confirmed, consider printing it in a small booklet or on a card so that guests can follow along.
Most often memorial services are followed directly by some kind of reception whether it is formal and hosted in a nearby restaurant or hotel, or informal and hosted in someone s back garden. While the reception itself can be an extension of the service with pictures of the deceased decorating the area, it can also simply be a time for family and friends to socialise and enjoy each other s company. Decide what you are comfortable with, and what you can afford, and design your reception in accordance with these factors.
Organising a memorial service is often a labour of love. Usually the organisation is undertaken by the family and friends of the deceased in order to celebrate his or her life. Memorial services can be as long, short, entertaining, sombre, formal or informal as you wish so feel free to give your loved one the tribute (s)he deserves.