How to personalize your loved one's funeral or memorial service

How to personalize your loved one's funeral or memorial service

Planning a funeral, memorial service or celebration of life is challenging enough after losing a loved one but with limited options, personalizing the service can feel even more daunting. It’s important to remember that you can incorporate any elements and traditions you believe reflect your loved one best and ignore the rest. The day is about honoring your loved one, not following the path of traditional ceremonies. While it does take a little advanced planning to personalize the day in honor of your loved one, we’ve curated a list of options to consider when preparing for your loved one’s service. 

Design a unique memorial card 

  • The memorial card acts as a keepsake for the attendees to remember the life of your loved one so allow yourself to think outside of the box when designing. Just because the funeral home lays out a couple of options, does not mean you need to move forward with those. Etsy is a great resource to find graphic designers to create a personalized card that matches the aesthetic and favorite memories and achievements of your loved one. 

A few of our favorite unique memorial card mentions are: 

  • Quirky, fun facts about your loved one 
  • Their favorite food (& maybe you even serve that food during the service!)
  • Brief story about them
  • A favorite quote

Include an officiant 

Provide yourself the space to reflect and memorialize your loved one by hiring an officiant of your own that you can collaborate with to share the story of your loved one. They’ll weave the information you provided with them into a custom memorial, sharing their story the way they would want it to be told. This allows you to be present during the day and allows for a most custom experience than what is traditionally offered. The officiant can also help lead a memorial after a religious ceremony, to provide structure and allow for sharing stories in addition to having the traditional service that the loved one desired. Learn more about the process from our friends at Liz Rae & Co.


Customize the decor

Just because this is a time of sadness, doesn’t mean the scenery can’t be cheerful. Decorate the memorial or funeral space to reflect your loved one’s personality through more than just florals. This could be through a theme that reflects their hobbies or favorite things or simply just include candles, picture frames, tablecloths, and even decorative items – you can even choose a couple of your loved one’s cherished items to make the ceremony feel as if you were in their home.


Select a unique urn 

Choose an urn that you believe reflects your loved one best but that also fits into the aesthetic of the final resting place (that may be your home, a friend or family member's residence, a vault at a memorial, or a combination). When planning a funeral or memorial service, you are typically presented with a handful of options but know that you are able to choose outside of what is presented at that location. This is exactly how Weklin Memorials came to life – to provide urns designed with kin (you) in mind. Check out our blog post for more details on How to choose an urn for your loved one. You can even go one step further by adding a custom bouquet to your urn that you feels reflects the personality of your loved one -- we personally love these, created by Juniper Flowers


Play your loved one's favorite music 

Music is a great way to personalize your loved one’s service whether it’s through a custom playlist to be played at the funeral or hiring a musician or band to play live. Did they play an instrument? Have a favorite band? Attend a memorable concert? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it will help you build a personalized playlist for the service and don’t be afraid to lean on other friends and family members to help you curate the list, they are likely to have their own songs in mind to expand on your list.


Present a tribute video 

Bring together photos that reflect your loved one’s life to create a digital presentation to play before, after or even during the service. Collect photos from their early days, their most memorable moments, and major milestones to create a visual celebration of life. Asking the other attendees to participate in this project ahead of time will help with the process and is also a great way to make everyone feel included, in both the event preparation as well as during the event by providing an opportunity to share their personal memories.


Incorporate a personal ritual 

Did your loved one have a personal ritual or tradition that they were known for or simply just loved to do? Did they love to play cards, read the newspaper every morning, fish or have anything that they participated in on a regular basis? If so, these are great things to incorporate into the service before, during or after the memorial. The attendees could play a game of cards before leaving, or the memorial card could be drafted in a newspaper format, or the decor of the service could be a fishing theme. Having the guests participate in their personal rituals is a great way to offer one last goodbye.


If there are any personalization options you personally love and feel we are missing on our list, feel free to send us a message at, we would love to hear about them!



    To learn more about the services Liz Rae & Co. provides to personalized your loved one's services, visit their website here.

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