Personalizing Ceremony

Personalizing Ceremony

Remembrance ceremonies allow us to say, "Life is important," while helping us say good-bye. By incorporating the varied interests and many facets of a life, you can say, "This was a life well lived, and here is why."

Every day we help families create personal and meaningful ceremonies. Personalizing can be as simple or elaborate as you choose; it is the details that count. Know that we will honor any appropriate request.

Some personal touches may include:

  • Incorporate hobbies or interests into a flower arrangement.
  • Display photos and memorabilia on a memory table during visitation.
  • Choose a casket, vault or urn representing special interests.
  • Invite friends to share special memories during the visitation.
  • Create a Memorial Tribute Video with photographs and music to include on the website obituary or share at the visitation or service.
  • Include a favorite photo, poem or recipe in a service program.
  • Display professional or hobby items during a visitation: a musical instrument, a cherished typewriter, drafting tools, professional publications, playbills or favorite books.

Ceremonies and Rituals

If the deceased was a member of a particular group or organization, there may be specific rites or rituals practiced by the group. Military honors are available for any eligible veteran. Some lodges, fraternities, and other such organizations have specific funeral rites or rituals. If the deceased was a member of such a group and you would like to learn more, please let us know.

Some ethnic groups have particular rites and rituals that are part of their funeral or memorial ceremonies. Our directors are well-versed in many traditions and willing to learn about others. If you would like some information or assistance, please let us know.

Share Memories

To display during visitation, many families create a Memory Board with family photos as well as professional awards or favorite sayings. Many families do more than one board. We provide the supplies to you and have easels available.

Many families also place framed photographs and other highlights of a loved one's life on a Memory Table. Items representing accomplishments, hobbies, trips, and other special events and interests may be displayed, typically during visitation. A musical instrument with favorite sheet music, a fishing pole or a cherished craft, such as a quilt or wood carving may be displayed. Still others share favorite sports memorabilia or souvenirs from special trips.

Some families provide a Memory Book for friends and family to record memories and reflections of a loved one during a visitation. Anyone can be invited to participate. Children can share some drawings, a favorite shared joke or cherished memory. Friends may share a favorite story and colleagues a professional success. The collection of memories then becomes a one-of-a-kind keepsake.

Many families use photos and video clips to create a Memorial Tribute Video. If you supply the photos and clips, we will create a video for your service. Equipment is available to set up in the chapel for viewing during visitation or a service and it can be posted on the website obituary.

Others invite sharing as part of an evening service during visitation. Some plan ahead, perhaps beginning with a eulogy and then inviting a few others to share. Others are more spontaneous, inviting anyone who wants to come forward to share cherished memories.

Ceremony Preparations

Casket and Urn Selections

For those having a funeral and/or burial, casket selection is a very personal decision. A casket may reflect the personality and taste of your loved one in a final tribute. It is also a focal point during the funeral services. There are numerous possibilities to represent a loved one's uniqueness on a casket.

For those choosing cremation, urn selection is important because it provides a dignified container for the cremated remains. Is there is to be a ceremony with the urn present, the urn becomes the focal point at the service. The final placement of the urn also needs to be considered when selecting an urn. Is the urn to be placed in a columbarium or cemetery? Is it be placed in a special place at a home?

Prayer Cards and Memorial Folders

Prayer cards or memorial folders are traditionally distributed at visitations and services. Often with a prayer, reflection and/or artwork, they offer brief biographical information of the deceased. We offer numerous printing options, including portraits and various ethnic and religious styles and prayers. We may also be able to include original verse or artwork. Let us know of any ideas you may have and we will get it done.

Funeral and Memorial Service Programs

Many families print service programs with the selected songs and readings to hand out at a service. Personal touches may, include a beloved verse or poem, original writings, a treasured photo or even a favorite recipe to create a more intimate program.


For centuries, flowers have been part of death rituals and this continues today. For a funeral, the family typically adorns the casket with flowers. For a memorial service, flowers often surround an urn. To personalize these arrangements, start with a favorite flower or specific colors. Was there a favorite flower in the home garden? Is there a color or two that represents your loved one? Some incorporate interests into the arrangements; for example, fishing lures or drawing pencils. We work closely with many local florists to create distinctive arrangements, or contact your favorite florist and share your ideas.

Share Music

Music plays a critical role in ceremony by setting a tone, elaborating a theme, helping us remember and offering us hope. Different songs and styles represent certain parts in each life story. Share favorite songs or music styles during the visitation. Share a family musician's talent or hire a harpist during the visitation or service. Hire a bagpiper to accompany the burial. Play favorite music at the luncheon or reception.

Additional Ceremony Ideas

Incorporate a distinctive commemoration into the visitation, service, burial or inurnment. Distribute seed packets or golf balls during the visitation. Hand out copies of a favorite recipe. Release Monarch butterflies at the burial or inurnment. We have numerous ideas, just ask us.

A luncheon or reception can incorporate favorite foods, beverages and music. Show a Memorial Tribute Video. Display any Memory Boards and other memorabilia that were part of the visitation. Again invite family and friends to add to a Memory Book.

After the Service

Commemorative possibilities continue after the services. Many suggest that donations be made to a special organization in honor of the deceased. Some families create a rosary using dried flowers from the service. Others plant a tree in a special place. Some families gather to mark a birthday or other special occasion. Others may get involved with a particular charity or special interest. Know that many families find it beneficial to keep remembering a loved one by continuing to do things they all enjoyed.

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