11 Wedding Personalization Ideas To Steal For Funerals
If there’s one thing today’s families appreciate the most when it comes to funeral services, it’s personalization.
They don’t want to plan or attend a memorial service that could feel like it’s honoring just anyone; they want to know they’re honoring and remembering their loved one, in an appropriate and heartfelt way.
As you tend to the needs of your families, it can become increasingly difficult to find new and creative ways to add that customization and personal feel to services. How do you capture the essence and special qualities of a life lived in a way that feels meaningful to family and friends? And how do you do it in a way that feels intentional, purposeful and genuine?
If you’ve got a Pinterest account, you’re in luck! There’s no industry more familiar with personalization and creative ideas than the wedding industry, and with just a little ingenuity (and some online inspiration boards to get your creative juices flowing) you can borrow some of these genius added touches from beautiful weddings to add that something special to your funeral service offerings.
1. Rethink thank-yous and tokens of appreciation.
Wedding guests typically leave with a small gift of gratitude, but some couples are opting to make a donation to a special charity or cause in the name of each guest.
Put your spin on it: Encourage family and friends who wish to send their condolences to the family to make a small donation to a good cause instead. Learn about what causes the loved one championed in life and offer a simple collection for it—maybe a local animal rescue for the dog lover, or a national cancer foundation for someone who lost their life to the disease.
2. Collect photos and let guests donate their memories.
Wedding guest books have evolved a great deal over the years. These days you’ll find photobooth guestbooks and big displays for all to enjoy.
Put your spin on it: Take a page from the photobooth crowd and set up a space where guests can display their photos and tokens of memory with their loved one. Think snapshots, concert ticket stubs, graduation programs, anything goes.
3. Pipe in a personalized playlist.
The wedding DJ or band is a huge part of creating the mood and tone of the event, and everyone knows the first dance song is everything.
Put your spin on it: Of course you’re not setting the scene for a wild dance party, but music triggers memories and provides comfort to many people in times of grief or sadness. Consider having a family member customize the background music to include songs that pay tribute to their loved one, like a wedding dance song, favorite movie score or favorite artist’s best tune.
4. Bring the decor from close to home.
Flowers are an omnipresent factor in most weddings, and can do a lot to set the tone. You can take it a step further and use them to up the personalization.
Put your spin on it: Not everyone has a favorite flower or plant, but find out from the family if their loved one did and try to use them as centrally in the decor as possible. Another option if he or she had a green thumb: use blooms from their very own garden to let family and friends feel like their loved one is present with them.
5. Choose words wisely.
It’s not uncommon to hear passages from favorite poems, scriptures and even songs read at weddings or even incorporated as decorative messaging.
Put your spin on it: Ask family members about their loved one’s favorite book, poet or passage. You can use these words in a program or on a service card, or even borrow from the wedding DIY-ers and make it a focal point with some big printed lettering.
6. Shed some light on the service.
Many wedding ceremonies now incorporate a unity candle, which is lit by members of both families to signify their coming together.
Put your spin on it: Use a candle to spread a light of remembrance. Have a family member or dear friend ceremoniously light a large candle, which other guests can then light small tapers off of. Especially for an evening ceremony, this can a beautiful segue into a candlelight service or vigil.
7. Save a seat.
At too many weddings, a loved one of the bride’s or groom’s has been lost too soon and cannot be present. This is of course the same case at a funeral service, and we love this method of “saving a seat” for beloved family and friends.
Put your spin on it: There will surely be coming events—weddings, birthdays, graduations—where your family will feel this absence. On this day, remind them that their loved one is always with them by adorning a vacant seat with a ribbon or flower arrangement to represent the presence that will always be felt, if not seen.
8. Hide a special snapshot.
Some brides carry locket-sized photos of passed loved ones in bouquets to feel close to them during their big day.
Put your spin on it: Use photos provided by the family to attach a small photo charm to corsages or boutonnieres for the widow(er) or children, so they can carry a physical reminder of their loved one always.
9. Create a memorial sky.
Wedding guests traditionally shower the couple with rice as they exit their ceremony.
Put your spin on it: Have guests release paper lanterns or blow bubbles to create a significant and memorable experience that helps them release their grief and create a beautiful moment in their loved one’s honor.
10. Pick a favorite theme.
Some people are known for that one thing they love—a city in France, their favorite movie, the holiday they loved best. Plenty of weddings take that theme and run with it.
Put your spin on it: If appropriate, theme the service around that one favorite thing. Think Parisian refreshments and chic decor, or Halloween-themed details adorning the room that make guests feel like they’re celebrating their loved one in a way they would want to join in.
11. Recall the best memories in a video.
Slideshows and photo books of the bride’s and groom’s lives have become almost ubiquitous at modern weddings.
Put your spin on it: Include a Life Tributes Memorial Videos to display videos and photos that tell the story of a life lived. Help guests remember the best times with their loved one and maybe even share some comforting laughs together as they recall these memories.