The demand for increased personalization in memorial services provides excellent opportunities for funeral directors. In addition to expanding your service offerings to better meet the needs of client families, you can also implement creative solutions that help you grow your skillset.
With so many possibilities available, the challenge isn’t necessarily a lack of ideas—it’s ensuring that both your ideas and those of the family don’t overshadow what’s really important for the memorial service. The most meaningful services share some common core elements that can provide a foundation for your planning conversations with families.
A personal, meaningful tribute
Sharing stories can become central to a memorial service. Stories are unique to each of us and make our lives worth celebrating. Excellent funeral directors are skilled at helping families remember the meaningful moments in their loved ones’ lives. The next step is to ensure that these stories—the ones that truly capture the personality of the loved one—are shared at the service. Working in conjunction with the family’s preferred religious officiant, celebrant or designated speaker, you can ensure that these moments are represented and help provide an impactful experience for everyone who attends.
An opportunity to comfort one another
Memorial services are a healthy, essential part of the grieving process—not only because they allow loved ones to gather and celebrate a life well-lived, but also because they give families an invaluable opportunity to come together and experience their grief as a community. Making sure that each family member feels welcome and included in the process is an essential part of the services you offer. Here are several ways you can help to make every family member feel included in the memorial service:
- Select a venue with adequate space and amenities to ensure that the immediate family, extended relatives and friends can make the most of their time together.
- Invite family musicians to play or sing something that was memorable to their loved one.
- Ask family members to provide snacks, baked goods or other food and beverages during the visitation or after the service.
- Enlist the help of tech-savvy family members to create meaningful memorial videos.
- Invite loved ones to help greet people at the door or usher them to their seats before the service.
- Ask family members or friends of the deceased with artistic talents to help design the programs, and those with strong writing skills to help with the obituary, short poem or reflection to share during the service.
Prompts to remember a life well lived
You never know what may trigger happy memories of a loved one. It might be a photo, a song, a printed copy of a meaningful poem or a display of keepsakes. This is another reason why those stories are so important—they can help you and the family identify items to display, songs to play and content for the program. These seemingly small memorial service elements can create lasting memories for family members and friends. (For additional memorial ideas, click here.)
Aftercare and grief support resources
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to grieving, and families need to know about the resources that are available to help them after the service. As an expert on funeral services in your community, you’re uniquely positioned to assist by providing aftercare services and support. These services can take many forms, from ongoing communications and on-site grief workshops to support groups and annual memorial events. The important thing is to keep families (and anyone else who attends the service) informed of the resources that are available to them.