Memorial Service Ideas and Planning Information
Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, and this is something that we understand all too well. Our goal at Vander Plaat-Vermeulen Memorial Home is to make sure that you have the best possible experience, and that your family is able to properly say goodbye.
A Memorial Service Definition
Unlike a traditional funeral, a memorial service is a gathering where a casket is not present (although the urn with the cremated remains may be on display). A memorial service can be held weeks or even months after the death.
Our memorial services can be held in a church, our affordable funeral home or a community hall, or somewhere of importance to the deceased and family. There is usually music, selected readings, and a eulogy. Memorial services can be further personalized as a celebration-of-life.
Why a Memorial Service?
Rather than opting to do things "the same old way", many families today want to celebrate the life of a loved one. Many funeral service professionals see this change as one of the many contributions to social change made by 'Baby Boomers'. The National Funeral Directors Association notes, "As baby boomers age and find themselves having to plan funerals for loved ones and themselves, they are making funeral choices based on values that are different than previous generations. Baby boomers see funerals as a valuable part of the grieving process and are seeking ways to make them meaningful." If you too desire to make the funeral for a loved one more engaging and personally meaningful, a simple memorial service may be the perfect concept to build on.
The Memorial Service vs Funeral Service
There are four basic components which make up the conventional approach to funerals:
The Funeral Service
A Committal Service
The Funeral Reception
A traditional funeral then is a series of events; it's a ritualized process where the deceased, and the attendees, pass from one social status to another; a process where the torn fabric of a family and community is repaired. According to the online article "Six Characteristics of Helpful Ceremonies", by William Hoy, Director of Grief Connect, this is done by including:
Symbols of shared significance intended to communicate beyond words
Ritual actions shared by a group of individuals
Gathered people providing comfort to one another
Connection to heritage through recognized readings
Increased physical contact between attendees provide comfort
Witnessing the transition of the body through burial or cremation
A memorial service is a customized remembrance ceremony that generally incorporates some or all of these characteristics but is deliberately distinct from a traditional funeral. In knowing these characteristics, you can design a memorial service as unique as the life of your loved one.
Memorial Service Ideas
Our experience has shown us that many of today's families want more than a traditional funeral. This can be done by bringing more of the personality and lifestyle of the deceased into the arrangements. By displaying photographs or staging the event around a favorite pastime, a memorial service can become more personal and meaningful.
If personalized memorial service suits the needs of your family, we suggest you consider the following questions:
What did your loved one like to do?
What was he or she like as an individual?
What was their profession and how did that shape their life?
Was your loved one spiritual?
Was he or she proud of their cultural or ethnic heritage?
We have provided additional information below on planning memorial services and we hope that you'll find these pages useful. As always, we are available if you have any questions as well. Feel free to reach out to us at 201-891-4770 if we can be of service in helping plan your memorial service.
What is a Celebration of Life?
Take time to learn about this new ceremonial format, the celebration of life. Intended to showcase the unique life of your loved one, you'll also appreciate our suggestions on planning a meaningful and personalized celebration of life.
How to Plan a Celebration of Life
Because it's an opportunity to showcase someone's unique life story and achievements, today's celebration of life is a deeply personal event. If you think such an event is the right choice for your situation, here's what should know about planning celebrations of life.
Looking for information on burial services? Visit our Direct Burial Service & Burial Arrangements page, or our funeral service arrangements page.