The death of a loved one is never easy, and for many, planning a funeral service before the person can be buried is too much to bear. Instead, many families choose to host a memorial service after the burial. These events don't have to have a religious affiliation, nor do they have to be formal affairs. You can host an informal memorial service at home as a way to gather friends and family members to remember the lost in a comfortable setting.
Select a date for the memorial service. Unlike a funeral service, where the body is usually present, a memorial service can be planned after the person is buried, even weeks or months after the death. Choose a date when the most important people in the person's life will be able to attend.
Invite guests to the memorial service. Because this is an informal affair, give each person a quick phone call, send an e-mail or publish the information in an obituary. Include the event's date, time and location. Also, note if this will be an open-house event with hours that people can stop by.
Choose an area of the home where the service will be held. Ensure the space has enough room to fit all the guests. Have the event in a living room, and bring in enough chairs from other areas of the house where guests can sit. Or have the service in the backyard of the home, and ask each guest to bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket to sit on.
Decide what refreshments and food will be served during the memorial service. You can hire a caterer to supply a meal or appetizers for the event, or ask guests to bring a dish or drink for a pot luck.
Display a few photographs and memorabilia of the person who died around the home. Frame some pictures from throughout the person's life and display them as the centrepieces on tables. Also, showcase what his passions were with memorabilia from hobbies, crafts and other activities. For example, if the person loved baseball, display his glove, bat and baseball cards on a table.
Select at least one person to speak during the memorial service. Although the event is informal, it's important to have a person who is prepared to direct the events and share sentiments about the deceased. This person can be a friend or family member. During his speech, he doesn't have to include religious remarks; instead, the speaker should share a story or memory about the deceased and tell about what he will miss most about her. You can then invite other guests to share remarks during the ceremony, if you choose. They can do this in front of the audience or simply from their seat in the crowd.
Play the person's favourite CD during the memorial service or read a passage from his favourite poem or book. These are small details that will help guests honour and remember the person who has died.
Give guests a simply way to remember the deceased. Print pictures of the loved one that they can take home, or write her favourite quote on a sheet of paper and make copies for each person in attendance.
Things you need
- Phone or computer
- Pictures and memorabilia of the deceased
- CD or book