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What is a Memorial Service?
A memorial service is a ceremony that honors and pays tribute to the deceased after the body has been cared for. A memorial service has the meaning of any other type of funeral service; honor the deceased. It is very common for a memorial service to take place weeks or even months after the death has occurred.
Memorial Service vs Funeral
The biggest difference between a traditional funeral and a memorial service is that the body is not present at a memorial service. However, an urn with the deceased's ashes may be present at a memorial service. Both a traditional funeral service and memorial service have structure, and both bring the community together in support and remembrance. The main difference between the two is that a traditional funeral service is a much more structured and formal event. A traditional funeral service is often associated with religion so it is often led by a member of clergy, whereas a memorial service is led by a celebrant or master of ceremonies. Memorial services often allow each guest to participate to some level, where guests of a traditional funeral are there to simply observe and reflect.
A celebration of life is an event that truly celebrates your loved one’s passions, intellectual pursuits, personality, and personal accomplishments. A celebration of life can really have no structure at all and can really be anything you want, the possibilities are endless.
A memorial service could be best described as a perfect mix of a traditional funeral and celebration of life. A memorial service is somewhat structured, but still allows the flexibility to make the ceremony unique and personalized, to fit the individual being honored. Also, the mood generally lies somewhere in between somber and celebratory.
Why Choose a Memorial Service
We find that the most common reason people choose our Winnipeg memorial service because they want the extra time to plan a ceremony. Since a memorial service can take place after the body has been buried or cremated, there is no rush to organize a service. Families are often not emotionally ready to have a ceremony immediately following death – They need time to grieve. Family and friends that live far away can also use this time to organize their schedule to travel for the memorial service.
Those who are not religious often choose to have a memorial service as opposed to a traditional funeral because traditional funerals tend to be more associated with religion.
Memorial services are often cheaper than a traditional funeral
For some people memorial services serve as the perfect compromise between a celebration of life and traditional funeral service.
Some find celebrations of life do not pay enough attention to the deceased and are solely a party
Use of a Civil Celebrant
It is common for memorial services to be led by celebrants. A celebrant is a someone that has been trained to conduct formal ceremonies, such as weddings, baptisms and funerals. They are not clergy; rather they are experienced masters-of-ceremony and story-tellers. A celebrant works closely with the family to create a ceremony in which reflects the beliefs, cultural background, values and aspirations of your loved one, and your family. If you think you would be best served by a celebrant, please speak with your funeral director.
Places to Hold a Memorial Service
There is a significant amount of flexibility when it comes to a location, especially since the body will not be present. Some families choose to hold memorial services at beaches, community centers, parks, restaurants, banquet halls, or at a family members home. For some that want to incorporate some religious facets it is best to choose a place of worship. Keep in mind that you want a space/location that can hold a large group of people and that has the amenities for any of the features you have planned. For example, if you want a photo slideshow, choosing the beach as your location would not be ideal.
Memorial Service Ideas
Music seems to be a staple at any event and this is no different at a memorial service. Many families like to play the favorite songs of their loved ones. Or families play a genre of music that is more somber or upbeat depending on what type of atmosphere you are trying to create.
Showcase Their Hobbies & Favorite Items
It is common to plan a memorial service theme around one of the the deceased's favorite hobbies such as travelling, sports, coin collecting, etc., where related memorabilia can be showcased.
Food and Drink
You can personalize a memorial service by serving some of your loved one’s favorite dishes and beverages. Perhaps they have a famous recipe?
More and more memorial services conclude with some type of release – a butterfly release, dove release, balloon release or lantern release. It is quite beautiful to see these releases, as they represent a time of transition – “the family and close relatives are letting go of their loved one”.
A Photo Collection or Display
With the advancement in technonology, it is common to have photo slideshows or some type of video tribute. However, we still do come across old-fashioned photo collages that are also very meaningful.
We're Here to Help
We've got years of experience listening, brainstorming, and advising families how they can best pay tribute to a beloved family member. That means we're the perfect people to help you decide if our memorial services in Winnipeg are right for you. We'll explore your funeral service options with you in detail, taking all the time you need.
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Celebration of Life Checklist]
How to Plan a Memorial Service
Because it's an opportunity to showcase someone's unique life story and achievements, today's memorial service is a deeply personal event. If you think such an event is the right choice for your situation, here's what should know about planning memorial services.