Seeking a Funeral Alternative? Consider a Memorial Service

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While a traditional funeral service allows bereaved family members and friends to gather in honour of someone who has recently passed away, a memorial service is often a viable alternative. There are plenty of reasons for holding a memorial service—it doesn't have to take place immediately after a death, it can serve as more of a life celebration than a time of grief, and it can often have an informal structure. Whether you're facing the death of a loved one or are being proactive by planning your own service in advance, give serious consideration to the merits of a memorial service. Here are some key elements to consider.

Timing and Location

The timing and location of the memorial service are entirely up to you, which means you can plan the event to suit your family. It's customary to hold the service within a year of a death, but there's no hard and fast rule about exactly when the service should take place. Some people have the event within the first month, while others wait for the first anniversary of the death. The location is also flexible. You can hold the event in virtually any type of venue, including a private home, a church, a funeral home, or a public area such as a park.


You can organize the memorial service to be as formal or informal as you'd like, but this type of service is often on the informal side. It's customary for a memorial service to include remarks from one or more family members, a video presentation or a photo slideshow, refreshments, and music. Memorial tables are another prevalent element; this table includes photos and mementos that tell the story of the deceased person's life. Like at a traditional funeral, it's conventional to have a guestbook at a memorial service to allow the family to get a record of who attended.


Because a memorial service is often held well after the death, it's typical that the deceased person's body isn't present at the event. Memorial services are common when someone wishes to be cremated, and the person's urn is often displayed in a prominent location at the service. Guests can spend time in front of the urn and share some words or thoughts with the deceased person. A memorial service can also be an opportunity to scatter the urn's ashes, depending on the location of the event. For more ideas or answers to questions about memorial services, look into funeral alternatives by Affordable Burial & Cremation.