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A memorial service, which can be held with or without the body
present, is designed by the family. It can be a small, informal
gathering at a beach, park, or garden, or a large formal church
service. It can be as unique as the life it commemorates, including
verses, prayers, hymns, songs and more. Sometimes a member of the
clergy, family member, or friend delivers a eulogy. Similar to a
funeral, a memorial service might have ushers escorting guests to
seats, and a guest register to sign.
Personalizing a memorial can have therapeutic value for the
family. In a personalized service, an arrangement of items is
usually set up where the service is held. For example, family
members might display the honoree's favorite team pennant, uniform,
or trophies. Photos of the person at every stage of his life, or
even videos, can be displayed.
Cremation urns can also be personalized. Engrave the urn with a
military emblem, school logo, special saying, or even a symbol of a
- When attending a service, be on time and enter the house of
worship as quietly as possible.
- If there are no ushers, the seats closer to the altar or front
are for very close friends; acquaintances should sit in the middle
or toward the rear.
- If you are late, enter a pew or row of seats from a side aisle,
not the center.
- If the processional has begun, wait outside until all members
of the cortege have walked down the aisle.
During the Service
- Sit quietly and don't get up during the service - unless you
have a cough that won't stop or you have to quiet a crying or
- If a eulogy or tribute has humorous stories or anecdotes, it's
fine to laugh - but not too raucously.
- Try not to do anything that distracts others: fidget, squirm in
your seat, twirl your hair, chew gum.