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How to Plan a Memorial Service

A well-planned memorial service honors the deceased and comforts those who are grieving.


  • Step 1: Think about what's appropriate Give careful thought to what kind of memorial service would be most appropriate for the deceased's personality and what they would have wanted.
  • Step 2: Make guest list Make a guest list. Ask friends and family for suggestions. You don't want to leave anyone out.
  • TIP: The number of guests will determine the size of the location and the quantity of food.
  • Step 3: Choose location and time Choose an appropriate venue for the memorial service using online or local directories. Determine the date and time for the event.
  • TIP: The date should be far enough in advance to allow plans to be made for the event, including guests' travel.
  • Step 4: Select speakers, readings, and music Select people to perform readings and choose the music for the event.
  • Step 5: Choose the food and flowers Choose the type of refreshments that will be available and the type and quantity of flowers and decorations for the memorial area.
  • Step 6: Plan memorial display Plan a memorial of photos and other items of personal significance that will be displayed at the event for attendees to view.
  • Step 7: Create and print programs Create and print programs that provide a timeline for events in the memorial service. Print enough for each attendee and for possible additional guests.
  • Step 8: Place obituary and notify guests Place an obituary in the local newspaper and notify the guests of the upcoming event.
  • FACT: Did you know? The Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, "In Memoriam" which contains the famous line, "Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all." was written for his friend Arthur Henry Hallam.

You Will Need

  • Consideration
  • Friends and family of the deceased
  • A venue
  • date
  • and time
  • A computer with internet access
  • People to speak
  • Music
  • Refreshments
  • Flowers
  • Memorial items
  • Programs
  • Obituary

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