Life is full of unique and special people, each with their own set of likes and dislikes. With this in mind, it makes perfect sense to customise that final send off, as well as how we choose to celebrate and memorialise the life of our unique and individual loved ones.
Sometimes, a loved one will leave behind instructions on how they wish their memorial or funeral to be carried out. However, if there are no instructions and you believe your loved one would be unsatisfied with a traditional funeral service, there are many alternative ceremonies worth exploring. This guide will help you discover new ways of saying goodbye to that special someone in your life.
Due to their solemn and sombre nature, for some people a traditional funeral can make the grieving process even harder. So whilst the loss of someone you love is always challenging, there can be relief in taking a different route. Especially if you know your loved one would have wanted more of a celebration compared to a gathering full of mourning and sadness.
As compared with a traditional funeral, a memorial service allows for flexibility in time and planning. Depending on your circumstances you can elect to have a memorial service anywhere from several days after the date of death to several weeks or even several months later.
Where to host a memorial
If you prefer to keep things simple and low key, then you could consider holding the memorial service at the funeral home. Most funeral homes can provide a podium, microphone, sound system and video projection. However, if a funeral home is not to your liking you could look at holding your service at the local gardens, RSL, clubhouse, park, theatre, private event spaces or even a winery. Depending on your budget and theme, catering could include a buffet, sit down meal or something more casual like a BBQ. The key to creating a memorable and meaningful memorial service is selecting a location that best reflects the life of your loved one.
Incorporate hobbies or passions into the memorial
A popular memorial trend at the moment is to incorporate your loved one’s passions into the memorial service. Themes can include anything from favourite colours, animals, sporting clubs, movies and sitcoms as well as collectables. Themed memorials really allow you to get creative with the venue, dress code, decorations and music.
Continuing on with the idea of a themed memorial, you could hold a movie night and screen your loved one’s favourite movie. Most local cinemas will allow you to book out a cinema and event space. You could start the event with some tributes, open the candy bar and then watch the movie all together.
Scatter ashes at the memorial
Scattering ashes is another common form of memorial service. Ashes can be scattered at a location that held sentimental value to the deceased. Including the home, parks, gardens, the beach or countryside. Drone scattering can elevate this approach. Companies including Blue Horizon Memorials make it possible to release ashes and if you so desire, combine the ashes with coloured powders to add to the visual experience.
Did your loved one enjoy watching the New Year’s fireworks? An Australian company known as Ashes to Ashes will include your loved one’s cremated remains in a breathtaking fireworks display.
Hold a charity auction in their honour
If your loved one was passionate about a particular cause or charity, you might like to create an auction, either in person or online. You could auction off some of the deceased’s possessions or even ask local businesses for donations. At the end of the auction, all of the proceeds would be donated to the charity in the name of the deceased.
A memorial trivia night or sporting match
Was your loved one passionate about trivia, a game or sport? You could design the memorial as a grand tournament or competition. You might even theme the trivia questions around the deceased and their passions. This not only makes the memorial service highly interactive, it will also leave a lasting tribute in everyone’s minds.
A holiday memorial
Did your loved one have a favourite holiday destination? Did they return there year after year? Perhaps you could arrange for the memorial service to be held at that location. You could hold the service at their favourite restaurant, beach or camping ground and incorporate the scattering of their ashes as well.
A balloon or butterfly release
Balloon releases have been a popular way to memorialise someone who has passed away. You could choose to have the balloons in your loved one’s favourite colours. Alternatively, you could opt for a more eco-friendly option like a butterfly release. Butterflies are symbolic of life and a number of cultures believe the butterfly is connected to our souls. There are many Australian companies that provide sustainable, hand-raised butterflies for release at events such as memorials and funerals.
A social media tribute
With advances in IT, and in particular Social Media, we can now record and share the video tributes and photo slideshows commonly shown at memorials to celebrate precious memories of the deceased person’s life. This means videos can be shared by a wider audience and can easily be enjoyed by family and friends from any location and at any time.
These days, you can also change a deceased person’s Facebook page into a memorial page and then upload any eulogies or video tributes there. It’s also an easy way for family and friends to share their own memories of the deceased.
There are countless ways to celebrate and honour the life of a loved one. By selecting a theme, location or activity that best represents them you are not only creating a heartfelt send off, but also memories to be shared and cherished by all those that survive them.
If you would like to be remembered in a particular way, you can note your wishes in your legal Will.