How to Plan a Memorial Service

A Memorial Service can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. Unlike a traditional religious funeral, a memorial service honoring a loved one who has died takes place without the body being present.

One of the main benefits of having a memorial service is that the family can control the date and time of the event. Some families choose to wait for months after the loss of a loved one to plan a service, so that more family and friends will be able to attend. Here are some basic things to consider when planning any type of memorial service.


Even if you do not want a religious service, you can plan a memorial service at a church or the funeral home that handled the deceased’s cremation or burial. Both of those venues will have space and be able to accommodate parking and accessibility issues.

There really is no limit to the type of venue for a memorial celebration of someone’s life. If weather isn’t a concern, you could consider a park or other outdoor area that the individual might have enjoyed visiting during his or her life. For very intimate gatherings, a private home is an option. To simplify the food or refreshments aspect of a service (if you would like to serve food), look for a restaurant with a private room or any type of event venue that has in-house catering.

Guest List

Try to finalize a guest list before you start looking at possible locations, to make sure that everyone can be accommodated. This is another aspect of a memorial service that differs from the traditional funeral, where the service and lunch are often open to anyone who is able to attend.

If you choose to publicize a memorial service to a wide group of people, plan your venue and other details accordingly. Otherwise, you can follow a limited guest list and either prepare and send invitations, or call or contact each person individually. Keep in mind whether children will be attending the service, as that can guide your efforts to find the perfect venue.

Service Type

When planning the service itself, most families try to honor the beliefs and personality of the deceased. But it’s also important to respect the feelings and emotions of surviving loved ones. A funeral planner can suggest readings, music, and presentations that can respectfully pay tribute to the deceased and honor their unique traits and history.


A funeral planner can relieve families of the burden of finalizing small details of any memorial service. Once you have settled on the size of the event and a location, a planner can help research and narrow down selections of music, flower arrangements or other decor, handle printing of invitations, programs and other keepsakes, organize displays of photos, and find an appropriate caterer and help narrow down a menu.

A thoughtful, creative and loving memorial service can help people heal from the loss of a loved one. If you have no idea where to begin, and are struggling just to process your loss, we would be honored to help. Please contact us to talk about how we can help you send off your loved one by celebrating their life and legacy.