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Personalizing a Service of Remembrance

When planning a service, it’s helpful to think of the unique qualities of the recently deceased and create a service that honors those traits. A personalized funeral will be memorable for friends and family and provide a feeling of closure knowing that the life of your loved one has been truly celebrated.

When searching for ways to personalize a funeral service, remember the moments you spent with the person and try to highlight the qualities that she or he are remembered for. Consider hobbies, subjects of interest and places where the person spent much of his or her time. It can help to make lists of their passions, achievements and memories you shared together. There are a number of ways that these items can be incorporated into a service:

Photos and albums – There are many opportunities to display photos at a funeral service. We can print a photograph of your choosing on canvas to provide your family with a beautiful Custom Canvas Portrait Keepsake.  Photographs can be included on keepsakes or even printed onto placemats for the reception.

Videos – A video of the deceased or in memory of the deceased is a moving way to share their life with others. At Heritage Oaks Memorial Service, we can prepare a slideshow set to music of up to 60 pictures of your loved one’s life. 

Artwork – Artwork of the deceased or art created as a tribute is a beautiful addition to a service. Sculptures, a slideshow of drawings or displaying artwork throughout the funeral home helps people learn more about a life that was cherished.

Music – Live or pre-recorded music enhances a service and provides a moving addition. Some ways to use music in the service include:

  • Create a mix of the deceased’s favorite music
  • Hire musicians to play live music
  • Play music the deceased wrote
  • Encourage musical friends and family members to perform

Readings of poetry and literature –Passages from the deceased’s favorite books or poems that capture the essence of their life help to create a service infused with wisdom and words to remember. You can also invite friends and family members to read passages or poems of their choice or write their own pieces to share.

Clothing worn by the deceased – A simple way to make a service more personal is by asking the guests to wear a type of clothing that the deceased enjoyed, or their favorite color, or even a hat.  Another example would be if they were passionate about a sport, guests could be encouraged to wear a shirt or hat in support of your loved one’s favorite team.

Customized funeral programs – The program handed to friends and family as they enter the service provides an easy opportunity to personalize a service. At Heritage Oaks Memorial Chapel we will prepare 100 personalized folders that match the style of the guest register.

Food – Serving the favorite foods and beverages of the deceased is an endearing way to share their uniqueness with friends and family. You can serve their favorite dishes after the service or hand out something during the service.

Centerpieces – If tables will be used during the reception, bring centerpieces which include collectables that your loved one enjoyed.  If they loved gardening, potted plants in attractive containers, or bouquets of their favorite flowers will make lovely centerpieces.

Create a Memory Book – A classic way to remember the deceased is to ask friends and families to share memories. Ask the guests to write several memories on paper you provide that will fit into the memory book.  Friends and family can read their memories aloud as a part of the reception.

Release of balloons or butterflies – An enchanting addition to a service is the release of balloons or butterflies.  Provide helium filled balloons for the guests to write a message to the deceased and released them together.

Dove release – A dove release is a potent symbol during a funeral service because the doves used in releases are trained to fly home.

Bagpipes – Bagpipe music has roots in traditional Irish and Scottish funerals, but gradually became a tradition for firefighters and police officers. These days, bagpipes are commonly integrated into a service, playing tunes such as “Amazing Grace” and “Danny Boy.” They add a solemn, moving touch that is loved by many.

Motorcycle motorcade – Motorcycle lovers can receive a send-off that celebrates their love of bikes. Motorcycle hearses are made specifically for bikers’ funerals.

Keepsakes – Distribute keepsake items to friends and families that honor the deceased in a special way. Possibilities include prayer cards, candles, and ornaments.

Cards that can be planted – The paper of these cards is compostable and embedded with seeds, ready to be planted. Each time you see the flowers in bloom, you’ll be reminded of your loved one.

Display of personal items – A common method for placing focus on the unique qualities of the deceased is to set up a display of their most cherished possessions. Items that were part of a collection, creative expressions, or any items that provide some physical reminder of his or her personality are a great way to tell their story.

Meaningful floral arrangements – Choose the deceased’s favorite flowers or flowers that have a special meaning. For example, dahlias signify elegance and dignity.

Celebration of cherished personality traits – If the deceased was known for a particular personality trait, find a way to incorporate it into the service. For example, have friends and family take a moment to hug each other in honor of an affectionate person.

Customized casket corners – Casket corners can be easily customized so that the casket is decorated with a symbol that is meaningful to the deceased and loved ones.

Engravings – Engravings displayed on a grave monument, marker, urn, casket or vault provide a personal, dignified reminder of the deceased that will last for generations to come.

A personalized funeral service touches friends and families and celebrates a life well-lived. Give us a call and we will help you plan a unique and meaningful service of remembrance.

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Heritage Oaks Memorial Chapel
FD 1990
6920 Destiny Drive
Rocklin  CA  95677
(916) 791-2273