Memorial events and celebrations

This guide has been created to help you hold a Memorial Service, Celebration of Life Ceremony or Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance.

If ashes are not being interred a memorial or celebration ceremony can still be held. We will be pleased to support you in putting arrangements in place for either event.

When it comes to planning a memorial service, you may need to:

  1. Choose a location
  2. Think about the type of memorial service you would like
  3. Decide who will lead the service
  4. Decide if you would like to include others in the service
  5. Invite those you would like to attend
  6. Create a space for memories to be shared
  7. Decide on the order of service
  8. Think about the ashes container

Other memorial tributes are available.

Things to think about

The first rule is that there are no rules! It can be big and bold, small and intimate or somewhere between the two. More than anything, this is your opportunity to really celebrate and honour the life of your loved one. The service can be held in a place of worship, but feel free to think outside of the usual rituals associated with a funeral.

Location, location, location

A range of venues is available. Some of our funeral homes have rooms where a ceremony can be held. Places of worship are available for religious services. Other venues such as cemetery chapels, local halls and hotels might also be considered. Our team has knowledge of the options and can discuss with you how to select a suitable space.

Tip: If you plan to use private land, you must get the owner’s permission. Always have a wet weather plan if you are going to be outdoors.

Field with sunlight and flare

Have a seat

What will you need for your memorial event? Most indoor venues will have chairs and tables, access to catering facilities and a bar. However if your memorial is outdoors, for example at the beach or park, then think about what you will need to comfortably accommodate all of your guests.

Tip: Our colleagues are well equipped in supporting you in planning your memorial event. As well as the ceremony itself we can assist you with supporting ideas such as displays, invitations, publicising the event or sourcing specific needs such as AV equipment or musicians.

Have a seat

A leading light and a guiding hand

Most ceremonies, whether formal or informal, will have someone to lead the way and officiate. It doesn’t have to be a minister or celebrant. You can do this yourself or it can be a trusted friend or family member. If you would prefer, we can identify a celebrant who we think will suit you and the ceremony you have in mind. We can guide you on structure and content.

Tip: Speaking publicly while managing emotions can feel a little overwhelming. If leading the ceremony yourself or having a trusted family member or friend, make sure the person understands the role you want them to perform.

CPJ Field speaking

Inclusion through action

Getting everyone involved can bring a greater depth of meaning. Be that from reading a poem or singing together to lighting candles or planting flowers, let’s discuss who could join in and what they might do to reflect and celebrate the life of the person.

Tip: Share your ceremony idea when inviting guests so that they have time to prepare.

Hand grasping lavender

Letting people know

You can use traditional options such as newspapers. Social media and formal invitations are also available. We can also work with you through clubs, societies and work the person may have been involved in to advise people who were unable to attend the funeral know that they are now welcome at a memorial event.

Tip: You can continue to use our client portal to let people know the details.

CPJ Field phone

Sharing stories

Encourage your guests to share their own stories and memories. Record them in a memory book or collect them in a jar. Every life is unique – every life has a story to tell. You were part of this person’s story and so were many others.

Tip: Create a space within the ceremony for stories to be told.

Memory book with photos

Putting people at ease

Anticipating what’s next can bring about nerves. To avoid this, help your guests by letting them know what is going to happen at your ceremony. This doesn’t have to be a printed order of service – it might just be a brief explanation right at the beginning.

Tip: An itinerary or outline printed on a piece of paper on a pin board or easel at the entrance is a good way of ensuring that all guests get to see what will be happening

Blackboard sign with whats next written

What should the ashes be held in?

It may be that you choose a simple container to hold the ashes, or you might want something to reflect the life and interests of the person who has died. You might even choose something that matches the original coffin, or something temporary to scatter the ashes from. Our team will know the regulations for the place of burial and support you in your selection.

Tip: The ashes container should be sturdy to hold the ashes safely inside.

Colourful Urns For Ashes

How should the ashes travel?

This can reflect the style of event you have in mind. We can take the ashes quietly to the venue for you. Alternatively, our purpose-built ashes bier sits splendidly on one of our hearses. In this way a formal cortège might travel from your house, with limousines provided for the mourners.

What to do now?

Contact our funeral home and arrange to see us. Our team will work with you to make your plans into a reality. We will also prepare and submit any necessary paperwork for you. Our Funeral Director on the day will conduct the arrangements to ensure a smooth and fitting tribute is provided. As your local family funeral directors, we will do everything we can to make your loved one’s ceremony as special and as memorable as possible.

Things to consider

Here is a list of things to consider when arranging a memorial event or celebration.

  • Have I chosen my location?

  • Do I know what type of memorial service I would like?

  • Who is leading the service?

  • Will others be involved in the service?

  • How will I invite others to attend?

  • Creating a space for memories to be shared

  • What is the order will the service follow?

  • Do I need a container for the ashes?