When you’re thinking about preplanning your funeral, consider all the possibilities, no matter how unusual. Take some time to really think about how you’d like the service to unfold and how your personality could be represented. Write down your ideas and talk to a funeral director about which ones are feasible.  

To get you started, here are some interesting ideas for a memorable memorial: 

  • A memory table is a beautiful way to share memories and give people a focal point at a visitation or reception. You can put whatever you’d like on the table, including photographs and mementos representing the life and passions of the person who has died. You can also put the guestbook on this table or a matted photo so that those in attendance can sign the mat.  
  • A photo display can be large or small. From groupings of photos on the memory table to a large portrait at the funeral, photos help people feel connected to the person they loved. 
  • Using a theme is an interesting idea. Some people choose a theme related to the person’s hobbies or interests, from golfing to music to airplanes or motorcycles. Also popular is a color theme, with flowers, décor and even the casket within a certain color palette.  
  • Memorial stones take the place of a guestbook. Guests can sign the stones and place them in a basket. The family can then take them home and arrange them artfully as a meaningful keepsake to treasure.  
  • Memorial trees can be given as keepsakes for those in attendance. Small tree saplings can be planted in honor of the person and provide comfort as they grow.  
  • A dove release has powerful symbolism. Released by hand, the doves represent hope as they soar through the sky.  
  • Unique musical options can make the service meaningful. Whether it’s a bagpipe, a harpist or a string ensemble, music brings up powerful emotions and helps people feel connected.  
  • A cairn is an ancient tradition that is being revived. Whether it’s made of small pebbles or large stones, this stacking of stones creates an impermanent but powerful marker.  
  • Donations to charity instead of flowers can represent the person’s beliefs. If you’re passionate about a cause, you might consider stipulating donations in your funeral plan.    
  • A coloring station for kids keeps the littlest in attendance occupied. If there are going to be several children present, it’s good to have something for them to do.  
  • One unusual idea is to have games at the reception. Especially if you’re planning a celebration of life instead of a traditional funeral, games or other planned activities can help people connect.  
  • Plan for an open mic at the reception. This will allow your loved ones to share stories, connecting with each other through shared memories.  

Preplanning allows you time to think about all your options. You can make a plan that appeals to you, and arrange all the details yourself. Preplanning also saves your loved ones from having to answer difficult questions about what you would have wanted when they’re already living through a stressful time.  

Chapel of the Chimes Hayward has been serving families in our community since 1872, and we offer a Personal Planning Guide to help you plan your funeral without financial commitment. Call (510) 400-4442 today to discuss your options. You can also visit the Plan Ahead page on our website to start planning online or request your free preplanning guide.