Planning a Memorial: Location and Time

Funeral and memorial services can be held nearly anywhere -- a funeral home, a place of worship, the honoree's home or a beloved park. Consider the ambience you want to create for the service and then choose your venue accordingly. A service in a traditional Christian church feels completely different from a jazz procession through a city street; a reception in a banquet hall feels different from one in a state park.

Like weddings, there are a multitude of venues available and you will certainly be able to find one that suits your needs. But also just like weddings, memorial celebrations can either be outrageously extravagant, modest or somewhere in between. When it comes time to choose a venue for the memorial service and reception, the first step is to consult the wishes of the honoree. If no instructions were left behind, and perhaps even no funding put aside for a service, there are still a number of ways to pay tribute.

Talk with relatives or friends, agree on an appropriate budget, and then proceed from there. While it's best to hold the memorial service within a reasonable time period (at least within one year), you do not have to rush into making an immediate decision. Take the time to do it right.

Less Expensive Venues

An affordable memorial service doesn't have to look cheap! Unlike other events, a memorial service can be held during any season, any day of the week and at any time of day. You do not have to have it on a Friday or Saturday night, which tend to be the most expensive times to rent space. If you expect a lot of older guests, bear in mind that they often prefer to drive or travel during daylight hours.

If the venue you are considering charges a rental fee, let them know the nature of the event - they may offer you a reduced rate if the venue is available anyway.

Below are some suggestions for alternative, less expensive venues:

  • Church, chapel or temple
  • Community facility
  • A large yard, park, beach or other outdoor location (be sure to check with the town to see if you need a permit for public locations)
  • The home of the honoree
  • A location special to the honoree (a tailgate party for the football enthusiast, a barbeque for a grill-master, a garden tea for the gardener)

More Extravagant Venues

If you have the funds and wish to do something extravagant, there are infinite options. An easy way to explore ideas is to draw on the tourism and wedding industries. It could also be helpful to hire an event planner to help you work through all of the details of the event.

Once you have determined the location and time of the funeral or memorial service, share it on your honoree's Heart2Soul Community.

For ideas on where to hold a reception after the funeral service, visit Reception Location.

Adapted with permission from Celebrating a Life by Faith Moore, published in 2009 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang

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Celebrating a Life: Planning Memorial Services and Other Creative Remembrances
By Faith Moore
Faith Moore