Whether you choose a funeral or cremation ceremony, your loved one deserves to be remembered with a meaningful service. This can include music, photos, videos and special readings.

The service can occur before the cremation or afterward, as with a traditional funeral. Some ceremonies also involve scattering the ashes or taking them home in a keepsake urn.


Many people choose to pre-arrange their cremation and funeral services. It provides them with the opportunity to learn about their options in a pressure-free environment and to make decisions they feel are best for them and their loved ones. It also allows them to lock in today’s prices and save money.

You can have a service at the crematory prior to the interment or a memorial service days or weeks after the cremation. You may scatter the ashes or have them buried in a grave, columbarium, or mausoleum.

Memorial services can be religious or celebratory with themed decor and their favorite food and music. You can have a few speakers or many, and some loved ones can provide eulogies at the service. Music is often used to set the mood and fill in quiet moments, as well as to comfort mourners. A video slideshow of photos can be shown at the memorial service as well.

Planning a Service

Regardless of whether your loved one chooses burial or cremation, there are still a variety of choices to be made. Rearranging gives them the opportunity to become familiar with their options in a stress-free environment and think through these decisions while they are still in full control.

For example, some families like to hold a memorial service before the cremation service process takes place, which can include an open casket. Other families may wish to have a service around the interment of their loved one’s cremated remains, often called a graveside or committal service.

If your loved one was a nature lover, consider having the family plant a tree with their ashes. Others may prefer to light a great number of sky lanterns, with a bit of their loved ones’ ashes inside, and have everyone simultaneously release them into the night. This is a truly magnificent sight to behold. Keepsakes are also popular and can be given to funeral attendees. Examples could be a personalized bookmark or recipe card, custom golf balls or key chains and even a special piece from their collection.

Choosing a Location

One important thing to consider is a venue for the service. This can be done in a home, church or other location that was meaningful to your loved one. It is a good idea to invite guests in advance so that they can make plans accordingly.

You may also want to ask your provider to give you a breakdown of their pricing for each option, including the cremation casket, so that you don’t get any unexpected charges at the time of your service. You can also choose to plant your loved ones ashes in a place that holds special meaning (after gaining permission, of course) or you can offer each guest a seed packet so that they can take home their own little piece of your loved one.

Choosing the perfect spot for your memorial service can be an emotional decision. Preplanning gives you the opportunity to discuss your wishes with your family and friends in a more relaxed environment.

Choosing a Payment Option

While cremation is often understood to be a more affordable option than traditional burial, funeral and memorial ceremony costs can add up quickly. This is why many families choose to prearrange and prepay for their service ahead of time. This allows them to lock in today’s prices, which helps reduce the financial burden on their loved ones at a difficult time.

Another benefit of prearranging is that it provides your family with a valuable planning guide to record and discuss your loved one’s wishes in a pressure-free setting.

Many families who choose to have a funeral or celebration of life service before the cremation hold a ceremony in their home when the urn is returned, or in a place that held meaning to them. Other unique ceremonies include a gathering at the beach or scattering the ashes in a special place.

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