Funeral directors play a crucial role in helping families deal with losing a loved one. However, their responsibilities extend far beyond the logistical aspects of funeral arrangements. Funeral directors are like event planners, using their expertise to create meaningful and personalized memorial services.
Themed Memorial Services
Like event planners organizing themed parties or gatherings, funeral directors have recognized the power of incorporating themes into memorial services. These themes can be inspired by someone’s interests, passions, or hobbies, allowing family and friends to unite and honor their loved ones in a truly memorable way. Whether it’s a sports-themed service for an avid fan, a garden-inspired gathering for a nature enthusiast, or a celebration of a life well-traveled, themed memorial services provide a unique opportunity to reflect the personality and essence of the departed.
Favorite Themed Memorials from ShareLife Funeral Directors
“The young adult children of a 52-year-old mom told us their mother loved fireflies. I bought craft items to make firefly-themed bracelets and keychains. All of us would work on assembling them whenever we could. I also bought battery-powered fairy lights and put them in potted trees. When we reached the prayer portion of the service, we turned off the overhead lights. The sparkling lights in the trees looked like fireflies. It was lovely.” (MarQuita Cooper, Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer/Celebrant, Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral and Cremation Services, Waukesha, WI)
Christmas in June
“We handled a service for a family member who loved Christmas. In fact, he looked like Santa Claus. We decorated the funeral home for the service, complete with a Christmas tree, garland, and other holiday decorations. It didn’t matter that the service was held in the middle of June – it was a meaningful, beautiful life celebration centered around a special holiday to the family.” (Stephen J. Marana, Jr., Certified Funeral Celebrant/CANA Certified Crematory Operator/Market Leader for Advent Funeral and Cremation Services, Lanham, MD & Falls Church, VA)
Movie Buff Memorial
“The family wanted to have a full movie-like experience for their loved one, who was a film buff. We rented popcorn and cotton candy machines, and per the family’s wishes, the staff wore jeans and tee shirts. We used our projector and screen, and showed a movie. Similarly, we held a movie premiere-themed memorial for another individual who specified the details in her prearrangements.” (Michael Shorter, Certified Funeral Service Practitioner/Market Leader, A Life Tribute Funeral Care (Largo, FL)
The Last Ride
“The loved one was a custom bike (motorcycle) builder. He traveled thousands of miles on the beautiful motorcycle he built himself. Riding was such an important part of his life that at the family’s request, we brought his prize motorcycle into the funeral home for the service.” (Keith Fields, Licensed Funeral Director, Oak Ridge Funeral Care, Winter Haven, Florida)
Catering: Nourishing Hearts and Souls
Catering services have become increasingly common at funerals, allowing family and friends to gather and share memories over a meal. Funeral directors work closely with caterers to create menus that reflect the preferences of their loved ones or cater to the cultural or religious traditions of the family. Whether a simple reception with comforting dishes or an elaborate spread within a theme, funeral directors ensure that food and beverages contribute to an outstanding service.
Tips on Serving Food and Drink at Memorials:
- Ask guests before the service about any food allergies.
- Tell your funeral director about specific requests, such as kosher foods
- Offer non-meat options for vegetarian guests.
- Serve alcohol if that is your preference but consider limits on the number or type of beverages.
Funeral directors strive to honor the unique lives of individuals through personalized touches. They understand that the small details can significantly impact the memorial service’s overall experience. Funeral directors collaborate with families to create custom souvenirs such as memorial videos, memorial jewelry, or engraved keepsakes. These items serve as cherished reminders of the departed and add a personal touch to the celebration of life.
Events Outside of the Funeral Home
While many funeral homes offer beautiful chapels or meeting facilities, funeral directors can also create a memorial at other locations. They live in the communities they serve and can provide excellent options for venues and facilities. These include houses of worship, restaurants, banquet halls, community centers, and private homes.
Some ShareLife funeral homes have a certified Veteran’s Funeral Specialist (VFS). They are trained and certified to help veterans and their families understand, apply for, and obtain any military honors or burial benefits they could receive. Funeral directors can arrange for local honor guards for a veteran’s military funeral or patriotic life celebration.
Creating Lasting Memories
Event planners are renowned for their attention to detail, ensuring that every aspect of an event is meticulously executed. Similarly, funeral directors leave no stone unturned when creating a memorable celebration of life. From the choice of music to the arrangement of flowers, from the seating layout to the order of service, funeral directors carefully consider each element to craft an experience that resonates with the family and friends attending the memorial service. By paying careful attention to these details, funeral directors help create a lasting impression and a meaningful tribute to a life well-lived.
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