Planning a Memorial on a Budget

Welcome to part two of my series of blogs on planning memorials or celebrations of life.  Hopefully, you have read part one which sets out some of the things you will need to consider when planning a memorial.

It will come as no surprise that the main issue when planning a memorial is very often cost and I suggest that you start by working out how much you wish to spend as a maximum on the event.

Another point that should be high on the list is how many people you wish to invite to the event.  Once you have these two pieces of information, we have something to work with.  You are now ready for the chat with your celebrant (hopefully me!)

Of course, the cost of living has hit us all hard and the price of almost everything has generally soared, so it’s best not to shy away from that reality. But it’s still possible to hold a memorable and personable celebration of life or memorial on a reasonable budget.

In this blog, I am going to describe one such celebration of life memorial service which I hosted several years ago.

A Real Memorial on a Budget

I have a lot of experience in arranging celebrations of life events, funeral services and funeral receptions and have come to know that you don’t have to have a formal venue.

On one occasion, in the Spring, I hosted a memorial event in a remembrance garden near Southampton on behalf of the family of a lovely lady who I had died.  Her daughter Jayne was my client and she wanted around twenty guests; I found that there was already a covered table and benches in situ, which was quite rustic and made for a very charming and private spot.

I set up my Bluetooth speaker and my portable lectern while Jayne put out a lovely homemade spread of sandwiches, nibbly bits, cake and four bottles of Prosecco and some plastic glasses for the toast.

I had preordered five small, personalised cardboard scatter tubes and had the ashes split between them all equally and these pretty tubes also took pride of place on the table, together with some flowers from Jayne’s Mum’s garden.

I officiated the memorial as I would any other service.  I had met with Jayne and the family previously and found out all about her Mum, before writing a eulogy for her.  Jayne and the family had chosen some music and poems which were meaningful to them and I played the music through my speaker.

We then walked together through a beautiful quiet wooded area to a magical clearing, where I gave the committal and then invited the family members to take an ashes tube. They then wandered off to their own corners to scatter the ashes from their pods and say their own personal farewells. (I had previously got permission from the park authority to conduct this scattering of ashes service)

It was a truly unique and moving event, lasting around an hour in total.  People told me afterwards that it gave them great comfort and helped start them on their healing paths.  It was also lovely to celebrate someone’s life in such a naturally beautiful place with those who really loved Jayne’s Mum.

The whole event cost the client around £350 in total which amounted to £15 a head for twenty attendees; she was able to share the cost with her immediate family by allowing them to contribute to the picnic. The family members were all very happy with the memorial occasion and said they were really pleased they had chosen this way of honouring their Mum’s life.

Watch out for the next blog in this series, how to plan a memorial service for a loved one.

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