Inspired Ideas to Personalize a Funeral Service

June 11, 2015

Funeral services give us the opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual and honor the character and values of the deceased’s family through thoughtful and personalized touches. The more personal the funeral service, the more meaningful to friends and family who want to know that the life their loved one lived has truly been commemorated.

36605540_sThere are many ways to personalized funeral and memorial services, and Keohane takes pride in helping our families incorporate personal touches. When planning the funeral service, it can be helpful to make a list of the hobbies, places of interest and achievements of the loved one. Write down special memories you have of your loved one and include the qualities and personality traits that are most significant to you.

Ways to Personalize a Funeral Service

Try some of these innovative ideas to honor your loved one’s unique qualities, traits and interests and make the funeral service as personal and unique as the deceased:

  • Display Photographs: Display framed pictures at the visitation and/or service; make a memory board using a collage of photographs; create photo keepsakes such as personalized funeral programs; bookmarks; and prayer cards. Try these free MSWord templates to create printable memorial mementos.
  • Poems and Memorial Verses: Poetry and special verses are a moving way to pay tribute to a loved one. To help you find the right words, take a look at this list of free funeral poems/verses. If you can’t find the perfect poem, have a custom funeral poem written about your loved one for the funeral service.
  • Create a Memory Table: Display arts, crafts, medals, diplomas, awards, clothing or other personal artifacts that belonged to the deceased during the wake or service.
  • Ask Others to Participate: Friends and family members can participate in the service by reading a favorite passage, a quote, or a poem. They can also share special memories of the loved one. Or ask them to write letters to the loved one which are then placed in the casket or cremated with the deceased.
    • Music: Arrange for special musicians to play at the service such as a bagpipe player, harpist, pianist, violinist, organist, or vocalist. To help you choose the right music, here is a list of the most popular funeral songs.
    • Military Honors: If your loved one served in the armed forces, we can help you arrange for military honors.
    • Unique Processional: Plan a special route to the cemetery to drive by places that were special to your loved one; have the funeral procession led by a special vehicle, such as a firetruck for a deceased firefighter; or let a loved one drive the hearse.
      • Encourage Others to Share Memories: Provide note cards at the visitation and/or service for people to write comments or share stories with your family.
      • Mementoes: Provide parting gifts to those who come to the service to honor and remember your loved one, such as personalized plantable seed cards; seed packets of forget-me-nots; or your loved one’s favorite recipe.
      • Symbolic Ceremony: Release balloons, doves or butterflies at the cemetery as a celebration of your loved one’s life and a symbol of the deceased’s spirit.
        • Reception: After the funeral services, invite friends and family to a reception to share stories and special memories of your loved one. This could take place at the church, someone’s home, at a hotel, restaurant, or country club.

Today’s Technology

Modern technology offers many significant and creative ways to incorporate personalized tributes into today’s funeral services:

  • Video Tribute: Create a DVD of photos and videos to play at the visitation and/or service. Use favorite musical medleys or traditional hymns significant to the deceased.
  • Virtual Attendance: For family and friends who may not be able to attend the funeral, some funeral homes offer web casting in which the funeral service is broadcast over a closed link or website. If web casting is not available, technology such as Skype or FaceTime can be used on personal devices to include those who are far away or unable to attend.

We are happy to assist you in creating a personalized tribute of your loved one that brings closure and meaning to friends and family. Our staff will help you plan a personal and significant memorial that celebrates your loved one’s life and honors the values of the family left behind.

Call us at 1-800-Keohane (800-536-4263) to discuss planning a personalized funeral service.

Photo credit:  © Satori /123RF.COM



Kate Hansen

10/20/2016 at 12:46 pm

Although funerals are sad occasions, I like to think of them as a way to celebrate the life of a loved one. I think the funeral home you choose has a big part of making sure the funeral is a great service because they do a lot of the planning. It's nice how you mention that with today's technologies, we have so many ways to honor our loved ones like with a video tribute. I'll have to look for funeral homes that offer these technological services for funerals.


09/06/2016 at 8:37 am

My grandpa just passed away, and so I really like the idea of making a memory table for his funeral. I think that it would be a great idea to show off his art, awards and other things that have to do with him for others to look at. However, I think that it would be a good idea to ask family members and close friends to contribute to the table some of the things that either were his or that remind them of him.

Theodore Winston

06/27/2016 at 9:39 am

I really like your idea for having a memory table with some of the personal effects of the deceased at the memorial service. I've always thought that a memorial service should be a celebration of the life that the person lived, so I think that putting displaying things that celebrate them is a great idea. I'll have to remember this idea for the next time that I am involved in planning a memorial service!

Lillian Schaeffer

03/07/2016 at 7:54 pm

These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to set up a memory table with things that belonged to the deceased. My mother passed away, and I want to make sure her memorial services are meaningful and touching to everyone who comes. She loved to sew and do crafts, so I think it would be special to set up a table displaying a collection of her projects. Thanks for the great post!

Patricia Anderson

03/02/2016 at 11:58 am

A memory table would be the perfect addition to a funeral service. usually you just see pictures of the deceased but it would be nice to add objects that were important to them as well. Such as a piece of knitting they did or a picture they drew, My grandmother has been really sick lately and we think she might pass away soon. Maybe I can ask her what is really important to her or what she has enjoyed in life now so that we can better show how special she was when she passes. Thank you for the ideas on having a personal funeral service.

Cheryl Smith

11/06/2015 at 3:30 pm

I like your idea of having a unique processional. My grandfather lives in a small town and wants to be buried there. That will be neat to drive around, during the procession, and see some memorable places. Hopefully, this will make his passing a little easier to accept.

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