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Personal Funeral Ideas To Make The Day Special

Funeral Ideas To Celebrate Life For Families And Guests

Whether using a local undertaker to organise the funeral, or even taking on the whole task yourself, there are numerous options/alternatives for personalising the funeral.

Hosting a memorial service for your loved one can be challenging, as emotions are high and grief begins to manifest.

However, it doesn’t have to be a sombre event. There are memorial service ideas that give your guests a lasting impression.

Read on to find out more about some unique funeral ideas to celebrate a loved one’s life with families and guests.

Here is a list of interesting funeral ideas for deceased loved ones that commemorate their final fling. Whether it’s funeral ideas for parents or grandparents, there is something for everyone to honour the memory of a loved one.

Letter Writing And Reading

Have your guests write letters for the deceased loved one and read them during the wake.

Writing letters is a chance for people to say what they feel and going over the best memories they had with the deceased person.

Each person reads their letter out loud one by one. If someone is too timid or emotional, have someone read the letter for them.

Put the letters in a time capsule, buried, or cremated with the recipient. The recipient’s family may also keep and store them, having the letter in the room they used to occupy.

Telling Stories

Reflecting on the good times is a therapeutic way while going through grief. Remember the happy and challenging times, whether it’s going on vacation or a funny event—having guests share their best memories will be an excellent experience for everyone.

Storytelling is also a chance for guests to learn more about their loved ones, even in their final days.

Playing Sports

Commemorating someone’s memory by playing their favourite sport such as football or basketball can help bring everyone together and celebrate the recipient’s life.

Playing sports is also great if the whole family and friends were involved in the same sport, especially if it involves the loved one’s favourite court they frequently visited.

Have some drinks and snacks on the sidelines, share stories, and have some fun!

Personalised Casket

There is a chance for guests to personalise the coffin in several ways, such as signings, drawings, or painting creations.

For instance, writing farewell messages on the casket, with guests signing their farewells before burial or cremation, allows them to express themselves before the recipient’s final fling.

If there will be lots of children at the memorial service, consider decorating the casket with markers. However, markers can also be entertaining for adults as well to express their creativity alongside the kids.

The deceased will then have a more unique burial than most, with a colourful casket filled with festive colours and messages.

Lastly, decorating the coffin with paint, preferably watercolours, allows for a messy celebration before the final send-off. Have guests paint messages, drawings, or anything to express their love for the recipient.

Overall, allowing mourners to cover the casket in personalised messages, drawings, and paintings allows for a more vibrant farewell. You might also choose to transport the casket in something less traditional than a black hearse such as double decker bus, a car from a favourite show/movie or even a horse drawn carriage.

Dining At A Restaurant

If your loved one had a favourite restaurant, now is the chance to reach out to the owner to organise a get-together and enjoy the food your recipient enjoyed. 

If you cannot gather at the restaurant, consider a banquet hall or a place to rent to host a lunch-in with similar foods. For instance, if the deceased enjoyed pasta, create their favourite dishes at the wake.

Costume Party

It may seem unconventional, but a costume party celebration can occur, similar to celebrations such as “Day of the Dead” in Mexico. Halloween also has these same outfits, with wild colours mixed with spooky themes.

Having a costume party to celebrate your loved ones allows all the guests to have fun during these challenging times.

There are two ways to have costume parties, one with no rules and one with limitations. No rules involve any costumes, especially during the holidays. If there are rules, they can allow specific costumes, such as only deceased celebrities, or a theme such as All Souls Day.

If the deceased had a favourite movie or theme, dressing up as those characters may also occur, such as Star Wars.

Summer Party

For a more fun funeral idea, how about getting everyone together outside in the sun. Kids especially will enjoy a pool and water fights while parents can relax and reflect on the memories of the deceased.

Before the party, ensure the guests understand where you’re coming from. You may prefer to mourn in the beautiful weather outside in peace, instead of the gloomy interior of a funeral home all day.

Camping Mixed With Stargazing And Bonfires

If your loved one enjoyed the outdoors, pick a park or camping site to host a camping gathering.

It’s a great moment to bring photos, food, tables and set up a service amongst the stars. You may also host a camping gathering during the anniversary of their death, further celebrating their life and what they loved to do the most.

There are three things you can do while camping: stargazing, bonfires and fireworks.

If your loved one fancies astrology or astronomy, camping allows you to see the sky clearly and the constellations. Set up blankets for guests to stargaze and look at the recipient’s favourite constellations or galaxies.

Bonfires can be tricky to set up, as some camping sites may or may not allow them. Beaches are also popular areas to host bonfires. For a bonfire to celebrate the life of your deceased loved one, have the guests write letters and safely dispose of the letters in the bonfire.

Bonfires tend to be symbolic, as people burn objects to pass onto the next life.

Simply arranging a firework display to celebrate their life is a great idea, taken one step further, you can incorporate the ashes into a rocket to create a memorial firework display

Scavenger Hunting

Consider having a scavenger hunt, similar to Easter egg hunting, if there are children involved. If you have a funeral service for a mum or dad that was a school teacher, this is an excellent idea.

Children tend to become bored—so turn them loose and allow them to find sweets, money, or prizes hidden around the property.

Guests Playing Music

If you are looking for a funeral idea for a mum or dad or even grandparent who have children that can play music, consider them playing during the wake. Other musically gifted family or friends are also encouraged to display their unique style at the memorial service.

Organise gifts for these musical guests, as they have spent time preparing for this day to make it memorable.

We have a list of the most popular funeral songs to help with some ideas. Please remember, making the music personal to the family will be a much better option that simply going with a traditional hymn that doesn’t have any meaning.

Hire A Professional Performer

Whether it’s hiring a magician, comedian, or dancers—hiring professionals to perform to entertain guests while commemorating your loved one’s memory is a fun funeral idea.

If you are in a small town with little to no professional performers, consider having a family member or friend try their best at skits or magic tricks that the recipient may have loved.


Furry friends, especially dogs, have long been known to comfort those grieving. If your deceased loved one was a huge animal advocate, consider having their pet or another professionally trained dog to provide therapeutic needs to the guests.

Please allow the funeral director to be aware of your plans before allowing several pets into the facility. Boundaries may be more lenient in private homes.

Host A Charity

Is the deceased loved one a philanthropist or faithfully donated to a cause until their death?

Consider hosting a charity in the name of their favourite cause or charity. Many charities have lists of their most faithful, long-time donors, and letting them know one of their own passed away may encourage them to hold a special event – this could be a great funeral wake idea to raise funds for their charity but also encourage more people to become involved in the charity to leave a legacy.

Bu supporting the charity you can encourage guests to donate to the cause instead of buying flowers or cards.

Best Quotes

Was the recipient someone who was a writer, quirky, full of wisdom, or witty? Have guests compile the best sayings or quotes and put them into a booklet to share around the memorial service. A hard copy for everyone to keep will also extend the memory of the loved one.

For example, the deceased one was a clever man named John. Create a booklet called “John’s Quotes,” “John’s Best Sayings,” or “Johnism”, to personalise the quotes.

Providing quotes is also a great icebreaker. Meeting others at the memorial with John’s favourite sayings and sharing them, such as “John always used to say, where there is a will, there is a way.”

Custom Shirts

T-shirts or jumpers are a great way to commemorate the memory of a deceased loved one. Designing a shirt “In Loving Memory” or something more unique for all guests to wear proudly anywhere they go ensures the deceased’s lasting memories.

A theme or specific colours add a personalised feel, with their favourite quotes or sayings that guests may want to share on the shirt.

If their favourite month was December or they loved the winter seasons, having a sweater around that theme may also add some creativity.  

Touring Favourite Places

Was your loved one a fan of nature parks? Setting up a long walk and touring while bird-watching or walking along the beach provides guests with an enchanting experience, which also fulfils the deceased’s memory.

If the person wanted to be cremated with their ashes spread out at the beach, having long beach walks before the ceremony provides everlasting memories.

Huge parks and recreational areas may need tour guides. Setting up a tour provides a surreal experience, where guests can relax and have a moment from grieving.

Documentary Film

Creating a documentary about a person from start to finish is an excellent way to celebrate a loved one’s life. Going through the moment of childhood, teenage, adult years and senior years give those a chance to witness the magnificent life this person lived.

Collect video clips or photos for standstill images to create a timeline. For instance, if the person was born in 1930 and died in 2020, compile as much film and pictures. From there, have a professional or family member create the documentary.

With today’s technology, the documentary can be uploaded online and be on the internet forever. It’s possible to have the documentary on social media or the old-school way through a CD and distribute it at the memorial service.

Floral Designs

Many ceremonies have funeral flowers of all kinds as people show their support. However, as a fun funeral idea, consider different designs or colours, such as a specific theme, which personalises the funeral.

Vibrant, colourful floral arrangements also allow the atmosphere to be less gloomy, alleviating emotional tensions.

You can add cards to the floral arrangements. Whether you want guests to read the cards out loud or not is optional.

Memorial Slideshow

Fill the room with your loved one by creating a memorial slideshow. There are various ways to make a slideshow, with small video clips or the best photos you and the guests can find. 

The slideshow can be played during the service, after, or as a montage before the ceremony. A montage usually has a song, which can be the deceased one’s favourite song. The slideshow can also have photos from when they were a child to the most recent.

Slideshows are different from documentaries, as slideshows show snapshots of the person through time.

Luckily, memorial slideshows are easy to make with free software available.

Dove Or Butterfly Release

Dove releases are popular ways to celebrate life and to end funerals. It’s a symbolic gesture that helps family and friends grieve, as the doves symbolise, “letting go.”

An alternative to dove releases is a butterfly release. As the butterflies spring into the air, the guests can say a prayer or the love one’s favourite song can play.

After the release, whether it be doves or butterflies, have guests mingle to savour the moment before moving on to the reception.

Please note that balloon releases are not as safe unless the balloons are biodegradable.

Memorial Stones

If your loved one liked to travel across creeks or a hiking trail, have the guests sign rocks and scatter them along the area where the recipient loved to walk.

The writings on the rocks can be short and sweet, written with environmentally friendly markers.

Another option is to gather rocks from that trail, write a message on them, and keep them in the memorial in an arrangement. The stones may also accompany the recipient during burial.  

Blessing Tree

A blessing tree is usually for weddings but can also apply to funerals.

Have a customised blessing tree, either made from arts and crafts or buy one ready-made. Have guests sign notes or blessings on the tags hanging from the tree. The writing can be whatever they want, especially encouraging notes for the family. It is also an opportunity to express grief or love.


Devout Christians see baptisms as being born again, and despite the death of a loved one, baptisms can be symbolic. If the deceased one was religious and known for their church participation, baptisms are a great way to honour them by undergoing this symbolic ritual.

Baptisms are usually at the end of the church, meaning baptisms can take place as the funeral service ends.


If your loved one was known for their tattoos, consider tattoo preservation. You may have the tattoos displayed as art.

However, tattoo preservation can be drastic. If you want a unique tattoo of your loved one, have a local tattoo artist provide permanent tattoos at the funeral.

The kids or adults who do not want a permanent tattoo may use watercolour paint for their memorial tattoo. It’s also possible to have these temporary tattoos using a tattoo maker and have anyone wear mini-versions of the tattoos.

The tattoo may be anything that reminds them of their loved one or a tattoo the deceased one also had on their body.


Was your loved one a thrill seeker? Do what they loved, and consider skydiving as a send-off.

Skydiving is an experience people do not forget, and having people who have never skydived in honour of the loved one, allows them to live on in their memories.

Classical Music

Did your loved one play in the orchestra, or just fancied classical music?

Consider getting a local orchestra to play at the funeral. If the university they attended had a music department with an orchestra, ask if they can play at the funeral.  

Classical music can lift the mood while also evoking emotions that may be hard to overcome.

Having a small scale concert in the reception room or dining hall after the funeral, especially with pianists or other instruments, may provide a tranquil mood after an emotional experience.


Funeral services can be dreary, and having noon or afternoon picnics may uplift the mood.

Noon picnics tend to be hotter, depending on the time and season, although the afternoon may be more relaxing with lower temperatures and the sun setting.

During the picnic, guests can read letters, poems, and speeches while eating foods the loved one may have enjoyed.

Secret Gift Exchanges

Christmas is known for Secret Santa, where people exchange anonymous gifts to each other. However, if your loved one was generous, consider doing a secret exchange.

Set a maximum budget. Ask who wants to participate, write names in a jar, and have people choose. Some websites randomise names that can be sent via email.

Encourage guests to have fun with the gifts and even choose a theme that the deceased would enjoy.


Although potlucks are known for other holidays or work environments, potlucks can bring people together during emotional times.

Also, potlucks can bring back memories, as family gatherings often bring different dishes together every year.

If your loved one was known for their baked beans every year during Christmas, consider having a potluck in their memory of their favourite dishes.

Scattering Ashes

Cremation is growing in popularity. If the deceased loved one wished to have their ashes scattered along their favourite park, creek, beach, or forest, have guests participate one by one by spreading the ashes.

As guests take turns to scatter the ashes, this should be a fun experience, because guests can share quotes or experiences about the person while doing this task.


If your loved one was a wine connoisseur or a lover of craft beers, have the funeral serve these drinks responsibly in memory of the deceased.

Truthfully, serving alcohol may provide a more lively atmosphere at the funeral, which the recipient would love to see.

Whether it’s gin, vodka, whiskey, or scotch, these alcohols can encourage a toast to honour the life of your loved one.  

Memory Capsule

Like a time capsule, put in all of the memories of your loved one into a capsule, and bury it with them. The family may also keep the capsule instead and have it on display in their home.

Gather photos, heirlooms, souvenirs—anything that reminds you of your loved one, and put it in the capsule. For example, if your loved one had a long history and were in the army, put in their tags or medals.

Host An Open Mic

Allow guests to express their thoughts and feelings on an open mic night. Standard eulogies can be too generic, and having spontaneous thoughts and emotions may provide a fantastic experience. If people are aware of an open mic, they may read letters or poems honouring the loved one.

Personalised Sweets & Chocolate

Most commonly for weddings, personalised candy with messages or photos stamped on the sweets are passed around as gifts.

It’s also a fun funeral idea to have candy at a memorial service in honour of your loved one, especially if they were a huge fan of candy. For instance, if they were a Cadbury chocolate lover, customised chocolate bars for guests are an option.

Handcrafted Wind Chimes

The sounds of wind chimes are soothing and can bring everyone together by creating handcrafted wind chimes.

Mostly metal, you can handcraft wind chimes using cans or recycled material. Clay is also an option.

However, wind chimes don’t always have to be metal. There are different wind chimes, such as seashells, pencils, flower pots, bottle caps, cooking utensils, earrings, and more.

As long as the items can be suspended on a rod and hooked using durable string, anything can be a wind chime. If your chimes have enough space, consider writing a message.

The family can then keep the wind chime and keep it in memory of your loved one.

Participate In The Burial

Grabbing a shovel and participating in the burial may be upsetting to some.

However, participating in the burial may allow guests to say their final goodbyes, with the reality setting in that their loved one has passed. It’s a great way to express grief and acknowledge their emotions.

If you are not allowed to bury your loved one, consider burying letters or small gifts with them, if permitted.

Lighting Candles

Thanks to our olfactory system, smells can bring back memories or create new ones.

Lighting scented candles that remind you of grandma’s apple pie, or mum and dad’s house, can make the memorial service worthwhile with an aroma.

Create A Genealogy Tree

While funerals are for family and friends, distant relatives, or those who want to inquire about the loved one’s genealogy may receive answers if you create a genealogy tree.

Today, signing up online to DNA websites connect you with extended relatives and further expand the tree and allow you to invite those guests to the funeral.


It may seem inappropriate to do a photo shoot at a funeral, but taking a moment to gather the family and take photos can create more memories.

Funerals are to remember our loved ones, but taking photos extends their memories, especially gatherings with professional photography.

Website, Social Media Page, And Hashtags

A fun funeral idea is to extend the funeral to the digital world.

Today, many people create hashtags, such as” #RememberJohnSmith” and build a website in their honour. The website will have slideshows, videos, and other multimedia to commemorate the loved one.

If they had a large presence on social media, create a page on Facebook just for them with guests coming together, expressing their feelings, and sharing their best moments with the deceased.

Once the funeral’s virtual elements are established, you can bring it to the real world and have a memory table filled with the hashtags and URLs on t-shirts and designs.  

Planting A Tree

Trees last for thousands of years, and planting a tree in the memory of your loved one can last a lifetime.

If your loved one is cremated, consider spreading the ashes around the tree or into the soil.

Final Thoughts On Funerals

There you have it! Coming up with fun funeral ideas is challenging given the subject, as the passing of a loved one is never easy.

Just remember that funerals don’t have to be sad, as our loved ones would want us to be more joyous while honouring their memory.

I would love for you to share your own personal funeral ideas and experiences to help others during this tough time.