10 Personalization Ideas That Will Help You Create A Pinterest-Worthy Funeral Celebration


After spending any amount of time in the funeral profession, a few things become clear: A strong team can accomplish anything, everyone feels grief in different ways, and a personalized funeral or memorial service is one of the biggest and most frequent requests families have when making arrangements for a loved one…

More and more, families want to know that the service they’re attending is made specifically for this occasion, tailored to their loved one and not a prepackaged reiteration of generic funeral ideas and traditions. This service, they hope, will be a celebration of a life lived, and a true representation of their family member or friend. Personalization is paramount.

It makes sense why: Everything we do — from the way we dress for work to how we decorate our homes to the centerpieces at our weddings — is captured on digital film and shared with everyone we know (and then some). Social media sharing has made it easier to see friends’ and strangers’ unique, special ideas for celebrating and capturing the essence of a moment, and has left many reaching for a more inspired event, whatever it may be.

“Pinterest-worthy” images are now the norm, since Pinterest, the insanely-popular digital pinboard website, has gotten everyone feeling inspired—or wanting to feel inspired, at least. Intricate tablescapes and “why didn’t I think of that?” decorations and event themes are no longer reserved for grandma’s Thanksgiving table or an elaborate Sweet 16.

When it comes to funerals, which are too commonly thought of as somber, joyless occasions, personalization is the best way to make sure your families are treated to the same opportunities to celebrate their loved one. There are tons of ways to borrow those Pinterest-perfect details from weddings and holiday gatherings to give your families a special occasion worth looking upon with joy and gratitude for the loved one they’re saying goodbye to. Give one of these 10 ideas a try next time:



1. Call on culture.

There are tons of different ways to theme an event of any sort, from borrowing favorite film scenery to incorporating superheros, musicians or hobbies. Another way you might tie in some personal touch is by honoring the family’s culture, or one their loved one, in a respectful way. Think a Chinese lantern ceremony, an English tea-inspired event, or a tree planting from many Asian traditions



2. Pick meaningful flowers.

Flowers are a given at nearly every funeral service, and you likely already know they provide a great way to customize the ceremony to the life lived. But there are other ways besides choosing their favorite bloom or color: Consider his or her wedding flowers, or the flower of their birth month or state, or maybe pick petals in the colors of grandchildren’s birthstones. There are many ways to get creative and unique with something so traditional as funeral flowers.



3. Serve a refreshment.

Many families will observe the custom of returning to a family member’s home or dining out to celebrate their loved one’s life over food and drink after the funeral. But during a unique service, you have an opportunity to personalize the ceremony with a refreshment. If you’re honoring a true coffee aficionado’s life, a small espresso bar might be fitting, or perhaps you could offer their favorite snack that they always set out for company.



4. Sow seeds of love.

In many cultures and traditions, planting a tree is a way of symbolizing important occasions, including birth, marriage and death. Embrace the tradition by either packaging seeds for a particular plant that service guests can bring home to plant their memorial tree or flower, or gathering attendees together for a joint planting in someplace special, like their loved one’s back yard.



5. Weave a wreath to give the family.

One of the hardest parts of losing a loved one is often the time and toll it takes to sort through their belongings. Help make this process a celebration by encouraging the spouse, parent or children to turn something belonging to their loved one into a new piece of decor they can see and smile. Gather her scarf collection or his tie wardrobe and make a family event of weaving them together over twine to create something beautiful and special to hang at home after it adorns the service.



6. Send home something special.

Many of us keep collections that grow beyond anticipation. If your family’s loved one has something they collected in large number but offers sentimental value, encourage them to help other close family and friends remember their loved one by taking home a piece of this collection. What else might they do with all of those Christmas ornaments or pile of costume jewelry anyway?



7. Write the story of their life.

The most special funeral services allow family and friends to see just how valued their loved one is to everyone else they touched in life. So often we hold onto our own memories and forget to acknowledge our loved ones’ relationship to others. Encourage all guests to help write the story of the life lived by placing out a blank book with a page or few pages dedicated to each year, decade or phase of their loved one’s life. Mom might remember that age 9 is when he broke his ankle, but big sister remembers the time they built the best blanket fort ever instead. All those memories are of equal value and work together to weave a beautiful and complete picture of a life.

8. Create a quick highlight reel for the epic tale…

Memorial videos are quickly becoming a mainstay in ceremonies of all kinds, including funeral services meant to celebrate life. To honor a movie buff, art enthusiast or adventure junkie, place a new spin on the slideshow by helping the family to create a minute long film trailer-inspired video that truly shows their loved one’s highlight reel and lets all in attendance remember or experience for the first time the most inspiring or reflective moments. 

9. … Or a meaningful full-length Tribute Video!

If a minute long trailer isn’t enough to fully capture a person’s spirit, go for the full-length feature! You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg to create cinematic, moving video tributes for your families. LifeTributes software by funeralOne helps you create high-quality videos simply and easily. Simply open up the software, import the photos, and you’re well on your way to creating a full-length video tribute of home movies that may include birthday candle blow-outs, hilarious memories and the most tender moments everyone loves to catch on film.

10. Leave it open-ended.

For truly Pinterest-worthy details and inclusions, turn to the family and make sure they feel able to share their own ideas with you. You might be surprised at how creative and inventive they can be, so be sure to let them know that personalization is an option, and they are able to make suggestions you will do your best to accommodate. The possibilities are truly endless, even when the bounds of your creative think-tank are reached.

Visit funeralOne to learn more about the LifeTributes software and how you can incorporate ideas like video imaging and more into your next service.

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  1. Allan Stearns

    As a Certified Celebrationist, I make every service as personal as possible. I will not do a service unless I have the opportunity to meet personally with as many members of the family as possible. I try to do this on their turf, at their home, in their environment. This allows me to see their surroundings, what they keep on display, what their particular tastes and hobbies are.
    I have retired the term “funeral” because of its somber connotation. Everything is a celebration of life, and sometimes a special memorialization.
    I try to identify a “takeaway” for each event. Something that the family can take home as a reminder of their loved pone and a reminder of their celebration of life. I often use angels or butterflies or something small that can be displayed in a home. I have also found special poems that relate to the person’s life, that I can then frame and present to the family.
    The cookie cutter style event is no longer an option for me. Lastly, I try to keep my events relatively short. 25 – 30 minutes is what the families ask me for. They have seen too many funerals that drone on far too long. Music selections should be appropriate for the honoree’s life. Traditional church hymns are ok if that was their style, but Elvis, Sinatra, and Elton John are very acceptable choices too.
    Most of my families request an inclusion of God in the service which I readily accept.

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    […] and more personalized these days… families are swapping out light funeral refreshments for full-on food and beverage stations, and even planning weekend-long memorial celebrations instead of a traditional funeral service! […]