As we lead our own unique journeys, our personal legacies can shape new traditions for how we celebrate the end of our lives. There aren’t any rules you need to follow when saying goodbye to a loved one, but it can help to have a guide when planning a meaningful service in their honour. Memorial ceremonies create a time and space to celebrate the life they lived and remember who they were in a way they might have wanted.
One of the main distinctions between a funeral service and a memorial ceremony is whether or not the deceased's body is present at the gathering.
A funeral service traditionally involves:
engaging a funeral director
a viewing of the body
a coffin or casket present
cremation or burial after the ceremony
A memorial ceremony takes place without a coffin or casket present, so you’re not limited to having it at a church, chapel or cemetery. There's no particular timeframe, meaning you can plan for a memorial whenever you're ready. You’re also able to organise it on your own, or you might like to ask your friends and family to help.
When contemplating how to celebrate your loved one's life, it’s best to reflect on who they were as a person and what they enjoyed. You have the freedom to pick a special spot and organise the details around what made them who they were. It can be as low-key, extravagant or formal as you like.
When deciding what the memorial should be like, you might like to think about:
having a toast to them at their local hangout
visiting a familiar holiday location that holds special memories of them
serving their favourite type of cuisine (if they were into a southern BBQ, think ribs; if they had a sweet tooth, try for some desserts)
hosting a picnic surrounded by nature
planting a memorial tree and scattering their ashes
getting together with their friends and family at the beach
creating a playlist of their favourite songs and letting them be the DJ
Planning for a memorial ceremony could involve:
finding someone comfortable to lead the service with a eulogy or tribute
reaching out to close friends and family who might want to do a poetry reading
creating a collage of photos to display or a slideshow of photos
requesting people to wear particular colours on the day
asking guests if they’d like to share any fond memories
considering flowers or charitable donations
If they were cremated, you might like to bring their urn and make sure there’s a special spot to place it. When planning ahead, it can also be helpful to think about what you’d like to do with the ashes, whether you plan to hold onto them, scatter them or create a memorial keepsake.
With more Australians identifying as non-religious, we could see more changes in how we plan for the end of our lives. Where traditional funeral services were once considered the norm, people can find new comfort in creating their own special rituals away from religious ceremonies. Private cremations and memorials give people a personalised and affordable way to remember our loved ones’ unique legacies.
We understand how important it is to remember your loved one with a personalised memorial. Our dedicated arrangers at Safewill Cremations are here to handle the finer details so you can celebrate your way.