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It’s Personal: Let the Funeral Celebrate a Unique Life

Any event planner knows that a successful party is a reflection of the hosts. It highlights their unique style and individual tastes. The same goes for funerals and memorial services, which should be a celebration of a person’s life, special contributions and the custom imprint they left on the lives of others.

Whether pre-planning your own funeral or making arrangements for a loved one, it’s important to think beyond the flower arrangements to how you can truly commemorate a person’s accomplishments, interests and hobbies.

The National Funeral Directors Association is finding baby boomers are making funeral choices based on values and are looking for ways to make the funerals meaningful. That means personalization is a growing trend in funeral planning.

Typically you’ll want to consider the person’s religious beliefs and affiliations as those can be an important part of any funeral service or memorial. You also can think about the person’s passions, interests and family life.

Your funeral director can make recommendations and work with you to customize a fitting tribute. And each funeral service truly can be unique, incorporating memorabilia from a cherished collection or hobby, a memorial video, photo collage or even something like a champagne toast at the close of the service or asking attendees to wear the color of the loved one’s favorite spots team. The possibilities are truly endless.

You may also think about the person’s favorite place and opt to have a memorial service there. If your family member loved spending time at the beach, you could gather some close friends and family for a casual sunset memorial at the beach.

A family member with a passion for animals might love the idea that you had the funeral or memorial outdoors so it could be pet-friendly.

To start the planning process, the National Funeral Directors Association suggests these questions as a way to get ideas flowing:

• What could your loved one do better than anyone else?

• When you think of your loved one, what do you think of?

• What were your loved one’s hobbies or special interests?

• What were some of your fondest memories of your loved one?

• What was your loved one passionate about?

If you’re pre-planning your own funeral, think about these same questions and how you’d like to incorporate your own passions and interests into your funeral. You can work with you funeral planner to add your wishes into your planning documents.

While a funeral is part of the grieving process for friends and loved ones, it’s also a way to celebrate all the ways that person made an impact. By adding personal touches, it ensures mourners leave the funeral service with a smile as they recall fond memories and a life well lived.