Family has an at-home memorial ceremony

25 creative ideas for a memorial service at home

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You might like the idea of a simple home memorial to remember and honor your loved one. Many people feel more relaxed in their home and are able to fully grieve. In your home, you also have the ability to add your own unique touches to the memorial so that it reflects the life and character of the person who passed. However, it can be overwhelming trying to decide the best way to honor a loved one. To help you out, we’ve gathered some creative memorial service ideas that you can organize at home.  

25 home memorial service ideas 

1. Include live music

Music brings people together and helps us connect with our emotions. Live music at a memorial invites quiet contemplation in the presence of friends and family. It’s an especially nice option if the person who passed away was a music lover.

2. Create a memory board

A lovely way to gather memories of your loved one is to have a memory board that people can add to. Provide pens for people to add messages and favorite memories and invite guests to bring photos of happy times to add to the board.

3. Hold a candle-lighting ceremony

It’s traditional in various religions and cultures to light candles for the dead. Holding a home memorial where people can light a candle for their loved one is a nice option that’s inclusive of many faiths and beliefs.

4. Plant a tree

If your backyard is big enough, you could plant a tree in memory of your loved one. This is a beautiful gesture that will remind you of the person you’ve lost whenever you look outside. 

5. Organize a potluck

For a more relaxed, less expensive home memorial, you could arrange a potluck meal. Catering for guests can be one of the biggest tasks of arranging a memorial, so asking each guest to bring one dish can help lighten the organizational load.

6. Have an open mic

In more formal ceremonies, only the person leading the ceremony and a select few family members speak. However, a home memorial is more flexible, so you can have an open mic to let more people share memories. Anyone who knew the deceased can share a few words, a reading, a poem, or a song.

7. Hold a fundraiser

If your loved one was a charitable person or had connections to a certain cause, organizing a fundraiser memorial can be fitting. Whether it’s a fun run, a darts contest, or a bake sale, you can choose something they would’ve enjoyed.

8. Screen a memorial video

Some people find they can connect more with visual media than with readings or eulogies. In an age where many of us regularly record special events and our daily lives on our phones, it’s easy to create a lovely memorial video using old clips of your loved one.

9. Light a campfire

Light up a campfire or fire pit in your backyard, and invite friends and family over for a relaxed evening to remember your loved one. It’s a great way to be together and share memories in a peaceful, cozy setting.

10. Hire a live portrait painter

A painting of someone who’s died is a lovely way to immortalize their memory. Some artists will also attend the memorial and create the painting there, allowing guests to see the portrait take shape before their eyes.

11. Arrange a game night

If the deceased was a keen gamer, then gathering friends and family together for a game night can be the perfect way to remember them. If they had a group they used to play with regularly, then holding a game night in their honor can also be a comfort to those friends.

12. Have a jam session

If the person you’re honoring played music, you could get their fellow musicians together for a jam session. In jam sessions, the music tends to be improvised, which can be a therapeutic way to express emotions. You might even end up with a new piece of music to remember your loved one.

13. Organize a picnic

A picnic is another way of getting people together to break bread and share memories about the person you’ve lost. Having it in your backyard means it’s nice and private, which might feel more comfortable than a public setting.

14. Scatter ashes at home

If your loved one has been cremated, you may want to scatter their ashes in a special or meaningful place. Scattering them in the backyard at home means you’ll always feel like they’re close by. You can invite friends and family over for a ceremony to scatter the ashes as a final goodbye.

15. Bury ashes in the backyard

Some people prefer the idea of burying the urn containing the ashes rather than scattering them. You can combine a more traditional burial-style ceremony with a home memorial and can still keep your loved one close by.

16. Decorate a memory tree

If there’s a tree in your backyard, you could turn it into a memory tree. Invite memorial guests to attach photographs and messages to the branches with colorful ribbons. When it’s time to take the decorations down, you can gather them in a box to look back on in the future.

17. Hold a poetry reading

Words are incredibly powerful, and poetry can express the hardest of emotions and help people feel connected. A poetry reading could include favorite poems of the deceased, famous poems about loss, or original poems to remember the person who’s passed.

18. Screen a memorial slideshow

With a memorial slideshow, you can tell the story of someone’s life through pictures. You can also invite guests to send in their favorite pictures so that everyone can contribute their memories of the person they’ve lost.

19. Arrange a themed memorial

If the person who’s passed had a favorite hobby or interest they were passionate about, you could hold a themed home memorial in their honor. This is a more celebratory style of memorial, embracing the things that brought them joy during their life.

20. Release some doves

Doves are viewed in many cultures as symbols of love and peace. Releasing doves at your home memorial is a beautiful, poignant tribute to your loved one. Many people like to release doves to mark the end of the memorial ceremony.

21. Create a story table

Gather pictures and objects together on a table to tell the story of the person’s life. This can be a touching, visual way for guests to remember them and feel connected to who they were

22. Have a virtual memorial

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s harder for people to gather together, especially if they have to travel. You can host a virtual memorial from your home by scheduling a video call where you read eulogies and share a memorial slideshow with participants.

23. Host a watch party

A watch party lets multiple people watch the same show or film at the same time online while chatting virtually. You could gather a group of people to watch the person’s favorite film or one that reminds you of them.

24. Create a memorial website

A memorial website provides a virtual location for sharing photos, memories, and messages. You can add your own content to the website and create a function for people to leave their own messages, too.

25. Come up with a social media hashtag

Many people like to share photos and memories about their deceased loved ones on social media. If you create a hashtag for people to use, then everyone can browse each other’s posts, too. They’ll also stay in one place to look back on in the future. 

Planning a simple home memorial

Planning a memorial can feel difficult and overwhelming when you’re grieving. If you’re feeling this way, ask friends and family to help out, and choose home memorial ideas that’ll take less work on your part, such as a potluck or open mic. Sharing the load takes the pressure off you and gives other friends and family members a chance to get involved, which might be a comfort to them as well. 

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