10 Unique Memorial Service Ideas for 2023

When people think of a traditional memorial service, it tends to be a sombre affair. Attendees wear black and it’s a quiet and serious service. Yet it doesn’t need to be this way. More people are choosing to remember their loved ones in a positive way, using the occasion to celebrate their life and the person they were. There are a host of ways to add a personal touch to a traditional memorial service while also keeping it respectful. If you find people enquiring about different types of memorial service ideas, we’ve put together ten ideas for them to try.

Create a memory wall 

Everyone at the service will have cherished memories and thoughts about the person who’s passed. Why not collate all these on a memory wall to share them with everyone? This could be a pinboard, a chalkboard, a large piece of paper to write on, or a whiteboard to attach sticky notes to. Encourage attendees to write their thoughts, feelings and a special memory they wish to share - it’s a beautiful way to get people thinking, talking and remembering their loved one in a positive way.

Incorporate a theme

Memorial services don’t need to be drab and morbid, instead, why not make them more personal with a theme? Choose something that honours the heritage of your loved one; this could be related to a hobby or something like a favourite colour. You could incorporate it into everything from the dress code to the decorations, shape of the flowers and the food served.

Step away from all-black attire

While the tradition at a memorial service is to wear all-black, many consider this to be sad and formal. Switch up the narrative to make the day a celebration instead of something upsetting and encourage attendees to swap monochrome for colours. You could choose the favourite colour of the person who passed or ask everyone to be as bright as possible.

Hand out seeds as favours

Favours are a nice memento for people to take back with them and seeds are an ideal choice. Symbolising life, they can be planted and forever be a way to remember the person that passed. It’s a good idea to choose a flower or plant that reminds you of your loved one - you could also personalise the packet with a photo of them or their name, birth and death date. 

Plant a memory tree

Memory trees are a beautiful way to keep a memory alive, so why not all get together to plant one? These can be planted in a public space, back garden or memory forest and create a peaceful spot for friends and family to come and visit. You can choose to plant this after the traditional funeral service, putting the ashes of a loved one into the unique Memory Tree system.

Organise a fireworks display

There’s something magical about fireworks and they bring everyone together to just stand, marvel and get lost in their thoughts. With flashes of colour, these fireworks also represent the idea of a celebration of life as opposed to a funeral being a sad service.

Have attendees decorate the memory tree 

If you decide to have a memory tree at the service, why not incorporate the idea of a memory wall into this? Instead of having people write notes on post-its or on a blackboard, have them write them on ribbon or pieces of paper. You can then tie all of these onto the tree branches. You could ask everyone to bring a photo and write a message on the back. These can then be hole-punched and attached to the tree as a beautiful commemoration of their life.

Put together a slideshow of photos

If you want to add a more personable element to a memorial service, consider playing a slideshow with photos and videos. This is a lovely way to talk about certain memories and tell stories of your loved one who passed. You could also get others to send in photos ahead of time that you can use, and have them write a caption or few words of their own to be read out with the image.

Have everyone light candles and say a message to the loved one 

Candles are a beautiful touch to add to a memorial service. Have small tea lights that people can light and say a few words. You can set these up on a table set up around photos of the loved one you’re commemorating and encourage people to head over in their own time.

Losing someone is never easy, but a memorial service offers a way to say a proper goodbye. By offering these top memorial service ideas to people, you can help them to process their grief and celebrate the life of their loved one that’s passed.