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Memorial Ceremonies – Six Ideas for Honoring Your Loved One’s Passions

When a loved one passes away, it can be difficult to plan a fitting memorial service. And if your friend or family member didn’t live a traditional life, a traditional memorial might not be a fitting tribute. Below are six ideas for memorial ceremonies to help you create one more lasting memory about your loved one.

1: Hold a Memorial Ceremony on the Scattering Site

Memorial ceremonies do not have to be held in a church or community center. When you make plans for a memorial ceremony, consider having it in the same location where you plan to scatter the ashes. This may mean that you postpone the memorial until such a time as logistical arrangements can be made to get guests to meet at the location you choose. It can be a park or you can hold it on a boat in the middle of their favorite lake. The location should never be a limitation for memorial ceremonies. However, be sure to check local rules and regulations to see if any permits are needed or if there are any requirements that need to be met.

Explore more options for scattering ashes.

2: Give a Memorial Gift

Memorial gift

After memorial ceremonies, the family is usually left with the cremains to serve as a memory for the dearly departed, but what will other guests get to take away from the memorial service? Why not give guests at the memorial service a gift to remember the deceased? It can be a simple token representing a favorite past time, such as a golf ball or a pin from their favorite baseball team. Giving a gift allows everyone attending to leave with a memory of their friend.

Family and close friends might also receive a portion of the cremains in a memorial keepsake.

3: Throw a Memorial Party

Celebrate life with a memorial party

Instead of grieving the loss of someone dear, as is customary with so many memorial ceremonies, why not celebrate the life they lived? Decorate a local event center and invite people to bring their favorite dishes. Be sure that the main course served was a favorite of the deceased and let guests reminisce about their loved one on their own terms. Set up a mic and let anyone who feels the urge get up and tell a story about the deceased, but keep a spirit of levity throughout the party.

4: Have the Memorial in Their Home

Memorials at home

For a long time, memorial ceremonies were held in the deceased’s home. It was only in the 20th century that funeral homes started handling the details of memorial ceremonies. Why not make a return to older customs and hold the memorial service in your loved one’s home? This is an especially great idea if your family member loved to entertain guests.

Redfin created a useful guide “How to Plan a Home Memorial Service for Your Departed Loved One”.

5: Send Messages to the Deceased

Image showing a Lit Chinese Candle being released skyward.

In traditional Japanese Odon memorial ceremonies, living family members write messages on paper lanterns and float them down a river to reach the deceased. Use this idea as a starting point and have your guests write messages to the friend that’s no longer with them. How you “send” the messages is up to you. You can tie them to balloons and release them or, for a more eco-friendly approach, you can burn them and let the messages travel upwards in a cloud of smoke.

6: Organize a Memorial Community Service Event for a Favorite Charity

volunteering, charity, people and ecology concept - group of happy volunteers planting tree in park

So many memorial ceremonies involve sitting and reminiscing. Why not get your guests up and doing something good for the community and involve the memory of your loved one in the process. Hold a memorial ceremony in their favorite park and then have guests pitch in to help clean the park in memory and honor of their friend. It does a good deed for the community and is a lovely tribute to your loved one.


Melody Jamali is the Founder and President of  Une Belle Vie, a Colorado company dedicated to bringing the choice of cremation to public light. Their company offers a wide selection of custom urns for cremation along with resources designed to help families and friends in their time of need. From tools for the grieving, to informative articles about planning, support, and other uplifting thoughts, Une Belle Vie is a company dedicated to helping you celebrate the life of the one you love – on your terms.

Celebrate the life of your loved one with a custom cremation urn.

2 Responses to “Memorial Ceremonies – Six Ideas for Honoring Your Loved One’s Passions”

  1. From Faisal Zebdah

    Thanks so much for sharing

  2. From Sutton Turner

    I love the idea of writing messages on paper lanterns and floating them down the river for a deceased loved one. My grandma has been clear that she wants to be cremated when she passes and scattered in the ocean on the beach where she met my grandpa. Thank you for the ideas for a celebration of life ceremony.

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