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More People Are Planning Memorial Services To Die For


More people are asking themselves that if today were their last day, how would they want their lives to be celebrated?

Accordingly, more people are planning memorial services to die for. They want to go out in style and be the life of the party at their own funerals, according to Faith Moore, author of “Celebrating a Life - Planning Memorial Services and Other Creative Remembrances” (

Recent articles and blogs have been discussing the growing “do-it-yourself” memorial services movement, where memorial services have become more of a celebration of a person’s life, with attendees dressing festively and even dancing. More and more people no longer wish to leave the details and decision-making of a memorial service to someone else. They prefer to take control and do things their way, while they are still alive, according to Moore, president of Faith Moore & Associates, corporate event planners in Boston (

“There is no statute of limitations on memories, ” said Moore, a corporate event planner for more than 25 years. "People are increasingly participating in planning how they want to be remembered. They are having planning parties with a few friends, and taking advantage of family events and other gatherings to brainstorm their final good-byes. It’s the ultimate networking party.

“How many funeral or memorial services really capture the essence of the person? Why should our final send-off be a generic ‘let’s get through with it’ type of event, rather than a celebration of who we really are, remembered by those who are left behind?”, asked Moore.

“Celebrating a Life” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang: 2009) offers practical advice and guidance on planning memorial services down to every last detail – from popular symbols, music, eulogies and poetry to use, to selection of a venue, food and drink. The book also includes a resource guide that provides contact information for organizing balloon, butterfly or white dove releases and tokens that can add a personal touch to the ceremony These include personalized bookmarks, recipe cards, seed packets, candles, and seashells.

According to etiquette expert Letitia Baldridge, who wrote the book’s foreword, “Moore takes a fresh approach and offers some good, solid advice on the roles that family and friends should play in giving a proper send-off. Yes, a memorial service can be looked upon as a celebration. Doing it properly is like mastering a great recipe. What is needed are first-class ingredients, loving care, and a healthy measure of heart. "

The element most often missing from memorial services is the personalization that goes beyond choosing scriptures, hymns, and what is said at the service. “Symbols evoke vivid memories of people, and are increasingly being used. A favorite hat, book, or objects that were used in one’s profession are powerful reminders of who people were, and how they lived their lives. A person’s hobbies and interests can paint a more complete picture in celebrating someone’s life, ” added Moore.

Among the symbols Moore includes in “Celebrating a Life” are:

- Recipe cards and bookmarks. “Symbols can include something as simple as a bookmark keepsake with a picture, poem, favorite passage, prayer, quotation, or family recipe. People can print recipe cards with Dad’s famous barbecue sauce or Mom’s brownies, and hand them out as people leave, to thank them for coming. What a great way to be remembered, as people are enjoying trademark recipes in their honor. ”

- Pomegranates. “Pomegranates were used by the ancient Greeks to symbolize immortality. Mentioning the reason for the pomegranate martinis or punch served at a reception will add a special dimension to the celebration. ”

- Daisies. “The daisy is a symbol of loyal love. What a lovely tribute to one’s parents’ happy lifelong marriage. ”

- Packets of seeds. “This symbolizes spreading the memory of a person who loved gardening, flowers, nature, or ecology. ”

- White dove releases. “In a standard dove release, at least 12 trained white doves are set free from a white wicker basket. When they are released, they fly around in the sky and once they have their bearings, head straight home. At a memorial service, they are powerful witnesses of the spirit’s passage to heaven. ”

- Bubbles. “At memorial services that include children – or children at heart – providing soap liquid and bubble wands is an easy way to add a hint of playfulness. Blowing bubbles gives people a way to participate at the end of the service, plus they are beautiful to watch. ”

- Balloons. “A balloon release is another expression of reaching out and up. Balloons give participants the opportunity to send messages into the sky. Selecting balloons in a color that is representative of the departed can make the release even more meaningful. Consider giving guests a permanent marker to write a message or a favorite quote, their name, a place, or a song title or verse. ”


 memorial services
 celebrating a life

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