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Funerals can be an extremely emotional time for family and friends, but that emotion is rarely simple. While sadness often rules the day, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate your loved one and the impact that they had on your life by creating an experience that brings their personality to life for loved ones. This type of celebration of life often includes funny stories and touching moments that will be remembered throughout the ages. Here are a few personalized funeral service suggestions to consider as you are planning your or your loved one’s final goodbye.

1. Personalize Your Loved One’s Casket.

Caskets and coffin choices do not have to be bland and boring, but can truly be used to communicate the personal style of your loved one. Consider using the bright colors of their favorite sports team or even custom-design a coffin with an image of a beloved pet.

2. Encourage Visitors to Bring Keepsakes for a Memory Board

There are plenty of photo display ideas that can be woven into your loved one’s memorial, but why not get your family and friends involved? Ask visitors to bring keepsakes such as photos or ticket stubs that speak to a special memory that can be shared with funeral guests.

3. Organize an Extended Family Meal

Many churches or civic organizations like to organize a family meal after a funeral, where guests can mingle in a more relaxed way and celebrate the life of your loved one while breaking bread together. This doesn’t have to be an overwhelming event, and most guests would be happy to bring an add-a-dish option to help offset any costs.

4. Define a Color Scheme for the Funeral

Did your loved one adore the color purple or perhaps yellow? Nothing says that funerals must be a black-and-white affair, dominated by white and red flowers. Instead, encourage guests to dress in their favorite color and let local florists know that there’s a color request for flowers. This is one of favorite personalized funeral service ideas.

5. Find Trendy Transport for the Casket

While hearses and limousines are the default option for transport of caskets from the funeral home to the final resting place of the body, horse-drawn carriages and other unique forms of transport are also acceptable. Consider a vehicle from the year your loved one was born, for instance.

6. Bring in Community Activities

Was your loved one a firm supporter of a local charity or hospital? Why not consider representing that community of individuals at your loved one’s final goodbye? They would likely appreciate knowing that funeral guests can donate to a beloved charity instead of purchasing flowers.

7. Offer a Candle-Lighting Ceremony

Lighting candles has long been a way to honor the memory of someone who is deceased, and a candle lighting ceremony can provide a feeling of serene peace for visitors. Allowing each visitor to light a special candle provides brilliant proof of their impact on the world.

8. Set up a Memorial Stone Station

All too often, loved ones are taken from us unexpectedly and without the opportunity to share a final thought with them. When you create a memorial stone station, you are offering guests the opportunity to share their last thoughts with the family and with their loved ones.

9. Get Creative with Flower Displays

Roses and lilies and potted plants in a display are certainly not the only options for flowers! Why not go full “Rose Bowl” and hire an expert florist to create a meaningful item designed wholly from flowers? This could be anything from a movie character to a beloved pet, but it should be something meaningful that will make guests think — and maybe even smile for a moment.

10. Raise Funds for Charity

It is becoming increasingly popular to use “In lieu of flowers” language when announcing a memorial service. While flowers are a stunning visual reminder of your loved one, a more physical sign of devotion might be asking guests to contribute to their favorite charity.

11. Provide an Art Table

Children often have a hard time expressing extreme sadness or other emotions in words, but can share and work through their feelings using tangible methods. Creating an art table for children (and adults!) provides an option that not only offers a few moments of silence for parents but a meaningful way for children to share their thoughts.

12. Commission a Memorial Painting

Did your loved one have a special location or person that they adored? A memorial painting commissioned after their passing can help capture the spirit of your loved one in a way that will live on for generations.

13. Request a Powerful Military Service

Military funerals can be particularly moving, from the sound of “Taps” to the folding of the American flag. If your loved one is eligible, you can learn more about military funeral honors at the National Cemetery Administration website.

14. Design a Magical Memorial Release

The idea of your loved one’s soul moving on can be physically commemorated through the release of butterflies, doves or lanterns. While balloon releases have been favored in the past, it’s good to select a more environmentally-friendly option that still represents your loved one and provides opportunities for interaction with funeral attendees.

15. Cremation or Funeral Jewelry

Your loved one’s cremains (cremated remains) can be transitioned into stunning jewelry options that can be provided to loved ones before or after a funeral service. Alternatively, you can design memorial jewelry that has a special quote or thought on it that is passed out to each of the funeral attendees.

16. Memorial Candles

Personalized memorial candles can include the image of your loved one as well as a favorite saying or their lifespan. Providing a candle to each of your memorial service attendees is yet another way to create a lasting memory of your loved one. This is a very popular option that is often used for mother figures, as they will continue looking over their loved ones.

17. Plant a Memory Tree

Long-living trees that are planted in a spot that was important to your loved one is a great way to maintain their memory long after they have passed. Visiting that special area in the future allows those memories to surface for years.

18. Give Away Favorite Books

Whether your loved one was a book worm who adored all types of books or had a single title that was particularly important, consider giving away books to family and friends at their memorial service. This is a great way to honor your loved one while also providing something useful to guests.

19. Send Your Loved One Off With a Bang

While not for everyone, alternative funeral ideas such as creating a fireworks show can help reinforce that memorial services are a celebration of life. If outdoor fireworks simply aren’t a viable option, you can consider indoor fireworks which can be projected on the wall during a service.

20. Memorial Seedlings or Flower Seeds

Giving the gift of life is an important part of any funeral celebration, and providing tiny saplings to attendees or cards that can be planted to grow flowers are excellent options.

The most important aspect of any personalized funeral service is to keep in mind that this is an event for the living, to help them know that their contribution to the life of your loved one was important and meaningful. Create the ideal personalized funeral service for your friend or family member when you call the caring professionals at San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home and Advance Planning Center at 480-888-2682. We will work with you to understand your needs and provide answers to any questions throughout the funeral and memorial service planning process.