When planning a service, think about the following:
What did the person like to do?
Often people have hobbies that become more than just a casual pastime. Why not showcase that important part of their life? Incorporating a hobby can be as simple as:
- Displaying frequently used items, such as sports equipment, gardening tools, or a collection
- Displaying trophies or awards they won
- Creating a picture board or presentation showing them engaged in their hobby
- Having someone speak about the person’s passion for the hobby
By adding these or other personal touches to a funeral, the service becomes a reflection of the person’s life and personality.
What was the person like as an individual?
One way to enhance a funeral is by bringing a piece of the person’s personality to life. Consider what made that person special, what made them who they were, and then find ways to link their individuality to traditional aspects of a funeral service. As an example, an avid cowboy or cowgirl may want to ride off into the sunset one last time. Tasteful ways to honor their wish include:
- Displaying their saddle and riding equipment
- Playing western music
- Having their horse walk in the procession
- Hosting a barbecue after the service
Other themes you may want to consider:
- Military honors for a member of the armed forces
- Tailgate party for a sports enthusiast
- Harley-Davidson rally for the Harley owner
What was the person like as a professional?
Many people take great pride in their career. Perhaps they dedicated a lifetime to a profession that transformed into more than just a job. The following are two examples of how you could incorporate a profession into a service:
For a teacher
- Have the choir or band from the school perform during the visitation or service
- Encourage students to write essays about the person, which could be displayed
- Invite a past student to speak at the service
For a fire person/police officer
- Incorporate honors or traditions their department has established (for example, invite bagpipers to play at the visitation or service)
- Use fire trucks or police vehicles in the procession
- Display their uniform and equipment
Was the person spiritual?
Through organized religion or personal beliefs, most people have some sense of spirituality in their life. Often those values are from the very core of who the person was in life.
Ways to honor their religion
- Hold the service at the person’s parish or religious facility
- Decorate the funeral home with symbols of the person’s faith
- Have the person’s cremated remains scattered at a place of spiritual significance
- Read a prayer/scripture that touches on their key beliefs
- Include sacred music from the religion in the service