Memorial service readings are tributes offered to loved ones to celebrate their lives, honor their memory, and recognize their achievements. A memorial service may be held on the anniversary of an individual's death, in lieu of a funeral, or whenever friends and family gather.
About Memorial Service Readings
Memorial service readings can be formal and prewritten or casual and spontaneous, inspired by the mood and atmosphere. If your loved one has recently passed, the attendees may still be mourning the loss. In this case, you may consider a formal event. If a lot of time has passed since the death of your loved one, however, you may regard the evening as a celebration rather than a somber affair. Be sensitive to the needs of your attendees, and aim to capture the spirit of the one you are remembering, using their personality, religious beliefs and lifestyle as a guide. You may choose poetry or scriptures, concise commentary or letters for your memorial service reading. When selecting a reading, remember:
- The first and most important step when choosing the materials you will read is to follow the wishes of the deceased. If your loved one has selected a poem or scripture, use that in conjunction with a corresponding introduction and closing.
- Be brief. A lengthy reading is not required. Reserve time for guests to share, music and a few moments of silent reflection.
- Keep in mind, your introduction often sets the tone for the service-choose your words carefully.
- Offer a prayer or kind word for those in attendance, acknowledging their grief and expressing your gratitude.
In addition, you will need to appoint a eulogist. A family member or dear friend may be the appropriate person to present the reading. If the service is religious, you may choose a priest or other clergy. If you choose to open the floor to guests, allowing them to share memories or prayers, allot them a limited period in which to speak to avoid a lengthy service. Generally, a memorial service runs for approximately one hour.
The follwing are some sample reading materials to make your memorial service memorable:
- Nothing Gold Can Stay
- Crossing the Bar
- Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep
- Funeral Blues
- Psalm 23
- Romans 8:31-35
- John 3:35-40
Aside from your memorial service reading, selecting a location is one of the most significant elements of your memorial service event. You might choose to hold the service in a comfortable room, the place where the deceased spent time sewing, reading or dining with loved ones. You may choose an outdoor destination, such as a park or backyard, symbolic of the deceased one's love of nature or free spirit. For an elegant setting, you might rent a hall, or hold the ceremony in a distinguished building. After you select the room, you can focus on the other details, like music and décor.
Memorial Service Music
Music is inspiring. You can stimulate and soothe your guests, invoke laughter or tears with the right melody. Consider the mood you would like to portray when selecting songs for your service. While old hymns and classical tunes are time-honored, don't be afraid to choose something unconventional, assuming it is fitting.
Memorial Service Décor
Adding some personal touches to the memorial service will make your ceremony a special event, indicative of the deceased one's life and character. If your loved one spent vacations in Hawaii, treasuring the rich sand and warm sun, you may decide to decorate with bold flowers and tropical fabrics. Display photographs of the deceased in Hawaiian attire, and invite guests to wear similar clothing. Other décor ideas include exhibiting awards, letters, art, collectables or other prized items of the deceased.
When planning memorial service readings, consider all the elements, including suitable music and pleasing decor.