How to Arrange a Memorial Service

We’re sorry for your loss during this difficult time, we hope our guide can help to run your family through what to consider when arranging a memorial service. 

What is a Memorial Service?

A memorial service is an opportunity for friends and family to come together to pay their respects after the loss of a beloved friend or family member if the idea of a traditional funeral doesn’t suit the family’s wishes. Memorial services allow a family to pay tribute to their loved one but don’t typically involve a burial or cremation. Memorial services are a celebration of life and a time for family to come together to remember happy memories. They may also be used as an opportunity for the family to come together to scatter their loved one’s ashes. 

A memorial service may be held months after the death of a loved one as a way to pay your respects to their memory after the initial grieving period is over. If the funeral service was a difficult time for you, a memorial service may be the perfect idea when you are ready.  

If you’re looking to plan a memorial service, we’ve put together a few steps to help make the process smoother. 

How to Arrange a Memorial Service

Celebration of Life

When starting to plan a memorial service you should consider your loved one’s wishes, then set aside time to plan a fitting celebration of your loved one’s life. 

Celebration of life is a particular type of memorial service where family and friends focus on their positive memories of their lost loved one. This is typically a much more uplifting atmosphere than a funeral service where the focus is on telling your favourite stories about your friend or family member, to celebrate all the fun and loving times you had together. 

A celebration of life may be held in place of a funeral and/or wake or might be held weeks or months after the loss of a loved one. One benefit of holding a celebration of life means it allows close friends and family the opportunity to process their loss and grief in a supportive and positive environment, this can bring closure to bereaved family members. 

Personalised Service

Holding a memorial service is an excellent opportunity to create a truly personalised goodbye. Funeral services are often more set, whereas a memorial service is somewhat relaxed in comparison, allowing the family to plan a service that is befitting of their loved one. Options could include:

  • Photo or video slideshows 
  • A memory table with the deceased’s beloved objects
  • Memory book which is a great opportunity for guests to share their memories of the deceased, providing the family with a book of fun memories to (something)
  • Doing activities that were your loved one’s favourite is a great option too
  • Enjoying your loved one’s favourite music
  • Readings by friends and family of funny memories that can help everyone laugh together
  • Offer keepsakes to attendees that reflect the deceased so that friends and family can hold something close to them that reminds them of the person

Another idea for creating a fitting tribute to your lost loved one may be to choose a theme of something they loved that all attendees can join in with. This may help friends and family to remember events as well as create new memories whilst remembering their lost friend. 

Choosing a Venue for Your Memorial Service

Memorial services can be held in a range of destinations, choosing something that suits the needs of the family as well as reflecting on the characteristics of your lost loved one. For example, if your friend or family member was keen on outdoor space, choosing a venue that has a beautiful outdoor area would be a fitting tribute, or maybe your loved one was a keen fishing enthusiast so a venue near the sea or near a beautiful lake would be perfect. 

Sometimes memorial services are held in family homes but if you’re looking a venue to help handle some of the finer details such as offering technology for photo slideshows or catering, then opting to hire a venue might be a perfect idea. 


Once you’ve chosen a venue it’s important to decide on other practicalities for your memorial service including date and time. 

Whether you choose to hold a private memorial service with a private dining event or a large public event, make sure to choose a date that suits your attendees. For a public event, a public invitation on social media may be the easiest way to invite all friends and family to ensure you don’t miss anyone. 

You may also need to choose someone to lead the service so that friends and family understand what’s happening and so you can lead people into sharing memories, enjoying music or whatever you decide for the order of service. 

At Sedgebrook Hall, we can hold fitting memorial services that allow families to create a beautiful goodbye for their loved ones. We also offer comfortable rooms for friends and family that are travelling from afar. If you’re looking to hold a memorial service in Northampton, get in touch with our experienced, friendly team.

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