Personalizing a funeral service is not a new idea or topic. But in recent years, more and more families are looking for different ways to make their loved one’s service special. Many families still prefer to plan a more traditional service, but many others are also looking for unique funeral ideas. Even if the family wishes to plan a more traditional service, they still want to make it reflect the uniqueness of the individual who has passed away.
It’s hard to offer ideas to personalize the service if you don’t really know much about the deceased. As a funeral professional, you know that the family is likely experiencing a whirlwind of different emotions in the days after the death. It’s important to be mindful of language and tone, while trying to keep the family comfortable during an uncomfortable time.
Some families may wish to visit the funeral home to make arrangements, but others may not. With our Arrangement Aide software, you can visit with the family and work with them from anywhere. Some people may be more comfortable meeting with you at their home or another place the deceased enjoyed spending time like a local diner.
As you get to know the family, there are some standard questions you’ll need to ask. It’s also important to ask open ended questions to that get the family talking and starting to share details about their loved one. The family may not realize it but the little tidbits they share during the conversation can be used to create a theme or spark a unique funeral idea to personalize the service.
Below are some different questions you can use to get the conversation started:
Another great way to help personalize a funeral service is to make your funeral home different than the rest? By adding different amenities and features to your location, you can create new ways to stand out from competitors and offer families more.
If you have the space available, consider building a patio and outdoor space like other funeral homes have done. While some families may use this as a place to escape for fresh air, others may plan to hold the entire ceremony or reception outdoors. While these types of renovations require some space and costs; doing so could transform your facility and offer something no one else in the area does.
There are plenty of other ways to make your funeral home unique. Many firms will offer coffee and tea after the service but one South Carolina funeral home has taken things a step further. Robinson Funeral Home in South Carolina operates a Starbucks coffee shop within his facility. The coffee shop is located well away from the chapel and includes wifi, a television, and fireplace. According to the firm’s owner, the space is meant as a place to escape from the stress for a bit and another way to comfort the bereaved. Again, you might not have room to open a coffee shop, but finding ways to make your space unique is a great way to offer families more value.
Depending on the family and culture, a toast to the deceased may be how they wish to honor their loved one. Some funeral homes are now making this possible by obtaining a license to sell alcohol. Others are using their space and hiring a local caterer or restaurant to serve the drinks. The added social aspect makes the service completely unique and something many people have likely not experienced at other funeral services.
For years newly engaged couples have used Pinterest for inspiration when planning weddings. Others use it to find recipes, DIY home renovations, and much more. Now, more and more people are starting to use it to find funeral planning ideas. If go to Pinterest right now and search funeral ideas, you’ll find thousands of different posts. From prayers and quotes to floral arrangements, happy funeral setups, keepsakes, and more.
If you create a profile, you can start to build boards and start saving photos and ideas to revisit. Below are a few different things you can find on Pinterest:
If you’re looking for some great ways to personalize a funeral service, check out the blog post by Conner & Koch in Bellbrook, Ohio. As a life celebration home, they pride themselves on creating uniquely personal services to celebrate a life well lived.
One great example of a personalized service is what they did for one woman who loved to cook and celebrate Christmas. To help make the service more personal and meaningful for her family, they printed large displays to decorate and transform the funeral home. The displays showed off the deceased’s kitchen and living room decorated for Christmas.
Other examples of services they’ve planned include bringing a pool table and ping pong table in to celebrate the deceased’s love of games and get guests interacting and sharing stories. They’ve also setup craft tables, board games, and more for other services.
Of course, these are just a few ways to personalize the service. Below are a couple more ways you can make the service special and meaningful.
Encourage your guests to bring small mementos, photos, or memories of the deceased written on a card. During the service, the guests can take turns adding their items to the time capsule and sharing the story behind their item. When the service is over, the family can lock the time capsule and wait to open it at a later date like their loved one’s birthday or the anniversary of their passing.
If the deceased enjoyed spending their time completing crafts, celebrate that at the service. You could find a space to set up a crafts table where guests can complete a simple craft and then present it to the family or take it home as a keepsake from the service.
Everyone has something they’re passionate about. If possible, make this the theme of the service. For instance, if the deceased loved to hunt or had a favorite sports team, encourage guests to wear the team colors or decorate the venue with hunting memorabilia and camouflage. You don’t have to go all out with a theme. For instance, if the deceased loved donuts and their favorite color was pink, serve pink frosted donuts on pink napkins.
The Book of Memories offers dozens of themes to choose from for the memorial page. Whether it’s the golf theme, beach theme or something else entirely, the Book of Memories has a theme for everyone complete with matching stationery and memorial DVDs.
Now you can make the memorial page even more special with our custom memorial photo feature. With this feature, the family can upload any photo they wish and make the memorial that much more personal. The golf theme looks great, but maybe the family wants it to be the course their loved one played at every week. Now they can. Maybe they want a picture with all the grandkids. No problem. As long as you have the usage rights, the Book of Memories can be customized with the image.
Want to learn more about the Book of Memories and how we can help you bring your unique funeral ideas to life? Contact us today to learn about our power software solutions and how we can help you offer families more.
Tommy holds a Communications degree from Laurentian University and an Integrated Marketing Communications Graduate Certificate from St. Lawrence College. He is a Content Marketing Specialist at FrontRunner and focuses on producing engaging content that funeral homes can use to connect with families. In addition, Tommy crafts SEO content for clients and specializes in helping the general public connect with the death care industry as a whole.