form an integral part of how we commemorate the memory of the person we
have lost. There are many forms of memorial tributes, and new ones
are emerging as modernity fuses with the funeral industry, and memorialization
becomes an intrinsic aspect of death care rituals.
Funeral homes offer various
memorial tribute services as part of their services, but many of these
will incur additional charges. Of course, today, with all the resources
of the Internet at hand, it is quite feasible to do some research and create
your own memorial tributes at a fraction of the cost.
As cremation and ‘green’
burials become more popular, so too are many families choosing to conduct
their own funeral and memorial services instead of employing a funeral
director. For those families opting for a low cost direct cremation,
there are many ways in which you can then conduct your own memorial service
and create your own unique memorial tributes.
To help give you some ideas
for how you can create your own personalized commemorative tributes, we
have listed below a selection of memorial products, with an outline of
how you can create your own. Creating your own memorial tributes
can help you to save costs on the overall funeral expenses, plus it can
also be a much more personalized way of commemorating your loved one.
to create a eulogy, memorial speech or a life sketch
to create a Memorial Book for a funeral
to create memorial cards and sympathy cards
to create a memory board or table
to create a memory box, memory niche or ‘shrine’
to create an online memorial
to create memorial candles as a remembrance tribute
your own memorial flowers or wreaths
to use symbolic memorial tokens to create unique memorial tributes
a memorial release – lanterns, balloons, doves, and butterflies
for memorial donations as a tribute
How to create a eulogy, memorial
speech or a life sketch
This is perhaps the most common
form of a memorial tribute that most people are aware of. A eulogy
is the commemorative speech given at a funeral or memorial service.
It typically recounts memories of the deceased, and can be both sad and
yet uplifting. The funeral director, a clergy or a funeral celebrant
can give a memorial speech, or members of the deceased’s family or close
friends can read it.
The most important thing
is to ensure it truly reflects and celebrates the memory of the deceased.
You should talk to family and friends to capture shared stories and memories
that are important to everyone. Make notes about significant achievements,
life events and the personality of the deceased. Research if there
are favorite or special songs, verses or poems that had meaning to the
deceased and his or her family and friends. It is advisable to avoid
any personal memories that may cause embarrassment to the deceased’s family.
It is probably wise to write
out your tribute speech and organize an order for readings. Practice
is also a key element for delivering an excellent eulogy memorial.
Try and read through your tribute out loud several times. It obviously
helps if you are comfortable with public speaking, and you do need to consider
how you will cope with the emotional aspect of delivering a memorial speech.
It can help to enlist family or friends who are less emotionally affected
by the bereavement. They may be able to help you create and present
a memorial speech with a more objective approach.
How to create a Memorial Book
for a funeral
homemade memorial scrapbook.
Either way, a memorial book is a great and inexpensive way to capture forever
your loved ones memory. You can find online photo book publishing
starting from as little as $19.99. You can also purchase quality
scrapbooks or folders form a stationer for as little as $5.00.
|Memorial books are a great
way of bringing together memories of the deceased, both pictorial and written
stories and anecdotes. A memory book can be created before a funeral
or memorial service and used as a focal point during a service for attendees
to reflect on memories of the deceased. Alternatively, attendees
of a funeral can create a memory book by everyone bringing a photo that
is especially memorable to them, and then writing short remembrance comments
in a guest book.
In this way a memory book
can either be a professionally self-published book that can be put together
and then copies produced by a printers or online self-publishing company.
Or it can be a
How to create memorial cards
and sympathy cards
||Memorial cards are usually
cards that are given out at a funeral, or sent to those who cannot attend,
as a cherished keepsake. They can be a variety of sizes and designs.
Many funeral homes offer memorial cards or personalized prayer cards that
they will create in-house using bespoke software. This software is
usually template driven, and you select from a selection of various templates
customized with your own photos and messages.
If you are reasonably adept
on a computer, you may be able to create your own memorial cards using
a creative application. You will need some digital images of the
deceased, but you can scan in photographs to create digital copies. You
will want your memorial cards to have a quality finish, so you may want
to invest in some better quality paper than regular printer paper, or even
have them professionally printed at a local stationer. You may also
want to consider laminating your memorial cards as this can help to preserve
You can look for ideas for
the layout of your cards online or just use your imagination. You
may even get creative and add embroidery thread or ribbon. It can
be a nice idea to create a laminated memory card that can be used as a
bookmark or as a fridge magnet. The cost of creating your own memorial
cards will depend largely upon how many you need to produce, what quality
of paper or card you use and whether you opt for printing and laminating
How to create a memory board
|Setting up a
memory board or table at a funeral is becoming more popular these days.
It is a very simple, yet effective, way to have a focal remembrance point
at a funeral or memorial service. Some funeral homes may offer to
set up a memory board for you as part of their services. Usually
it is a large board set onto an easel, the name of the deceased and dates
are added, along with some photos.
A memory table is very much
the same, although as well as photographs, memorabilia and symbolic items
may be added. Sometimes family ask for attendees at the funeral to
each bring a little memento along to add to the memory table. This
way it creates a shared and interactive experience.
How to create a memory box,
memory niche or ‘shrine’
A memory box, niche or a small
memory ‘shrine’ can be a great way to capture memories of a lost loved
one. You can either purchase a readymade box or hope chest, or you
can make one if you wish. You can decorate the outside of the box
as you chose with colors and images that connote the memory of your loved
or a bucket, some ribbon and
||You can fill a memory box
yourself with special things that remind you of your loved one, or you
can ask family and friends to contribute items that hold cherished memories
of their dearly departed. Even just have everyone write a special
memory message to put in the box. I have even seen this done with
a colorfully decorated bucket, with everyone at the memorial asked to write
a simple goodbye note on a colored card to be added to the ‘bucketful or
memories’. This, again, can be achieved very inexpensively, if you
purchase a cardboard or wooden box
Memory shrines are often
erected in a designated place that holds significance to remembering the
deceased. In some cases shrines are erected either at a special place
that the deceased loved, or where their ashes have been scattered.
In other cases a remembrance shrine may be erected at the place of death
in remembrance. If you wish to create your own remembrance shrine,
do carefully check that you can do so in the place you have selected.
Candles and flower tributes are often placed at shrines.
As cremation becomes a more
popular choice, there are a growing number of cemeteries offering glass-fronted
memorial niches, where a permanent shrine of memorabilia to the deceased
can be stored. Families can store the cremation urn in the niche,
or store a keepsake urn along with other artifacts. If you opt for
a designated niche in a cemetery or columbarium, there is a charge.
The costs for a niche can vary tremendously dependent on size, location
and perpetual care costs. You can expect to pay at least a few hundred
dollars to acquire a niche and then you may have an ongoing maintenance
or opening and closing of the niche costs.
How to create an online memorial
Online memorials are extremely
common these days, and are largely replacing newspaper obituaries.
There are various ways that you can create an online memorial. Firstly,
your funeral home may offer online memorials on their website, either free
or for a small charge. If this is not the case there are a whole
host of online memorial websites. Many of these offer a very basic
free online memorial, with enhanced features or a permanent memorial being
charged at nominal fees. Be sure to check out more than one online
website service before making a decision, as the range of services and
prices do vary. If you wish to create an everlasting online tribute,
you do need to ensure that the company you opt for do offer a lifetime
Of course, with us all living
our lives on social networks today, we are creating online living legacies
every day, and these days you can actually convert an existing Facebook
page into a memorial. If someone has died who had an account, you
can apply to have the account ‘memorialized’. This means any sensitive
data is removed, the settings are made private and then friends can post
remembrance and condolence messages on the wall. Similarly it is
possible to set up a memorial group page with customized privacy settings.
Both these options do make a quite unique way to take someone’s online
presence and memorialize it.
How to create memorial candles
as a remembrance tribute
Candles have long been an established
way to signify remembrance and pay tribute to a life lost. These
days you can purchase a range of specialist memorial candles from basic
wax candles with a printed remembrance message to solar-powered everlasting
The great thing with memorial
candles is that they are so easy to make your own and it can be achieved
quite cheaply. You can buy simple plain wax candles from a store,
and then make your own memorial decoration. These days you can buy
small wax candles in glass or plastic holders, or even purchase candles
and holders separately. You can make your own candle labels on a computer,
print them off and glue them to the candles, or you can have adhesive labels
printed at a stationer. Giving everyone at a funeral or memorial
a candle to light can be a great symbolic and shared gesture of memorialization.
Creating your own memorial flowers
Funeral flowers are an integral
part of the aesthetic of a funeral service, and they add beauty, color
and sentiment to grace a solemn event. Today people can find the
cost of funeral flowers expensive, with some casket sprays and wreaths
amounting to hundreds of dollars. Therefore making your own funeral
flower arrangements can be a great way to save money by creating your own
unique floral tribute.
You do not necessarily need
to have expert flower arranging skills, as there are easy to follow video
tutorials on YouTube today, and step-by-step guides available online.
You can buy the basic tools from a craft store, such as Styrofoam and wire
shapes, floral tape, greenery filler and even artificial flowers if you
so desire. Of course, you can also save money by cutting your own
fresh blooms from your garden, or buying inexpensive flowers from a local
Creativity and imagination
is what is required. Choose colors or flowers that were a favorite
of the deceased, and remember that by making your own floral tribute, you
are creating a totally personal and unique memorial to the deceased.
How to use symbolic memorial
tokens to create unique memorial tributes
Today we are getting more and
more creative about how to personalize a funeral service. Many people,
especially baby boomers, want more creative and celebratory services.
It is becoming more common for family or celebrants to choose symbolic
tokens that signify something about the deceased and can act as a unified
Again, you can really use
your imagination if you wish to conduct a memorial service using symbolic
memorial tokens. I have heard of numerous types of symbolic tokens
being used at funeral and memorial services, from basketballs to cans of
Budweiser. What is important is to ensure that the token quintessentially
represents the memory of the deceased and it is not offensive in any way
to all those attending the service. Tokens such as packets of memory
seeds or small memorial tree saplings are a great way to give a keepsake
gift to attendees that gives them something to take away and plant in remembrance.
Helium balloons can be a cost
effective method for arranging a memorial tribute release. You can
even give everyone a marker pen to enable them to write their own remembrance
message onto the balloon before the release.
Arranging a memorial release
– lanterns, balloons,
doves, and butterflies
The symbolic release of Chinese
lanterns, balloons, doves and butterflies is yet another way that everyone
can participate in a shared remembrance tribute at a funeral or memorial
service. The release of doves and butterflies can be a metaphorical
way to symbolize peace and the release of the spirit. It can also
be an uplifting and celebratory act. Obviously there is a cost to
employing a company who can facilitate a dove or butterfly release, however,
there are other types of releases that it is much easier to arrange yourself.
Alternatively, Chinese or
Thai lanterns are becoming a popular choice for a shared release experience.
These can be purchased fairly inexpensively online, and again being paper,
it is easy to decorate them in remembrance of the deceased. Chinese
sky lanterns can be purchased in packs of 20 for around $25.00. Square
floating water Chinese lanterns can be purchased in packs of 10 for around
Arranging for memorial donations
as a tribute
The practice of asking for memorial
donations is becoming more common today. Sometimes family feel that
the money spent on expensive funeral flowers or other tributes would be
better put towards a charitable cause. This can especially be the
case if the deceased had a charitable cause that was special to them, or
perhaps they had suffered a terminal illness and wished to donate to the
hospice or charity that supported them at the end of their life.
If you wish to arrange for
charitable memorial donations as a tribute to the deceased, it is important
to make this expressly clear as soon as you are making funeral arrangements.
If you are putting an announcement in the local paper or online, ensure
the information about memorial donations in lieu of flowers is included.
Hopefully this article has
given you some ideas for how you can create your own personalized memorial
tributes, and design a remembrance tribute that will celebrate the life
of the deceased, whilst not putting you too much out of pocket.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.