Cremation memorial services are an opportunity for the family and friends of the deceased to pay their respects and commemorate their loved one. While cremation memorial services share certain features with traditional funeral services, there are some differences in planning and executing cremation services. Here, the experts at Evans Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services offer a guide to planning a cremation memorial service that will properly honor the deceased while still feeling personal.
For many, a cremation service provides more freedom and opportunity to personalize the memorial. Many cremation services include elements of traditional funeral services, such as an opening greeting, prayer, and eulogy from a loved one. Beyond that, this type of service offers a much wider variety of options for those planning the service, allowing the loved ones to customize the event to their needs. For this type of memorial, the family and friends planning the service have much more control over the elements of the service and the order in which they occur.
The formality of a cremation memorial is truly determined by those planning the service, and reinforced through the different elements of the service. Factors such as location, type of officiant, selected music, and religious elements will all indicate the formality of the event to guests. Cremation memorial services can be as formal or as casual as the planner would like, and is often reflected in the number of guests attending.
The role of the officiant is primarily to lead guests through the various stages of the service. In cremation memorials, there is much more flexibility in who can fill the role of the officiant. While some opt for a more formal officiant, such as a minister, religious leader, or celebrant, others opt for a more personal choice, such as a family friend. Depending on who you choose to act as officiant, it’s customary to pay them an honorarium.
Cremation memorial services offer much more freedom regarding timing than traditional funeral services, as they can occur at any point after cremation. For some, having the service a few days after death is preferable. In this case, guests are able to gather and offer each other comfort in a more immediate time frame, an important step in the grieving process. However, others choose to have the service weeks or even months later. This option offers more time for organization without forcing those planning the event to rush through details as a result of logistical constraints. This time frame provides added flexibility in choosing a venue and selecting service elements. No matter what option is right for the service you’re planning, the flexibility in timing is a relief for many.
Similar to the flexibility in timing, cremation memorial services can take place in a wide range of locations. Funeral homes often host cremation services much like traditional funerals with a floral display and photos of the deceased. Graveside cremation memorial services are also common for those being buried in a traditional grave plot. For a service steeped more heavily in religion, a church or place of worship is a great choice. Other popular location choices include banquet halls, restaurants, and parks. For a smaller, more intimate service, a family member or friend’s home can be a great setting. While the above venues are common choices, this type of service can really take place in any space that can accommodate the guests attending.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of a cremation memorial is the opportunity to include personal elements in the service. Many cremation services will have a video tribute or photo slideshow as a way of memorializing the deceased. Similarly, displays of photos, awards, or memorabilia are typically displayed. Others will have designated speakers or, for less formal services, a group sharing time to tell stories about the lost loved one. Readings of poems, prayers, or religious texts are also common. Prerecorded or live music can also be a nice touch to personalize the ceremony. For a more unique alternative, certain ceremonies will have a candle lighting ceremony, balloon release, or lantern release in the deceased’s honor. Some services will also have commemorative favors for attending guests. No matter which elements you feel best fit your specific service, a cremation memorial offers you the opportunity to incorporate as many as you’d like.
The process of planning a cremation memorial service can be difficult or overwhelming. If you’re looking for a team of compassionate and thoughtful experts to shepherd you through the process, contact Evans Funeral Chapel & Cremation Services today. Our team has all the resources to help you plan the perfect cremation memorial service. To learn more about the help we can provide, visit our website or call one of our locations in Parkville, Monkton, or Forest Hill today.