Five Ways to Personalize a Funeral Service on a Budget
A funeral does not have to be expensive or flashy to be memorable. As is often the case, the most important thing about a funeral is people coming together. That is why a heartfelt eulogy can make a bigger impact than an ornate casket, and a small gathering at the deceased’s home can be more intimate than a grand catered event.
If you are planning a funeral on a budget, these five tips will help you honor your loved one as he or she deserves to be honored—and without causing additional financial strain during this difficult time.
Heartfelt Obituary: For a lot of people, an obituary is used as a way to announce a loved one’s death, list the relatives, and provide a time and date for the funeral. While this is a perfectly acceptable way to approach an obituary, consider adding humor, sentiment, or a personalized touch. By writing from the heart, you will capture everything that was so unique about your loved one.
Go to the Garden: Gardens and nature offer a bounty of inexpensive funeral ideas—especially if the deceased loved the outdoors. Flowers for the service can be cultivated from a homegrown garden or simply arranged out of pine cones and evergreen boughs. Stones make a great place for guests to write down their favorite memories. And if you opt for cremation, you can bury the ashes underneath a tree. If money is tight, it is always a good idea to look to the great outdoors for inspiration.
Pick a Theme: Most people associate “themes” with parties and weddings rather than funerals, and for good reason—throwing a luau might appear tacky when a loved one has passed away. However, you can choose something that was important to the deceased (maybe they loved black and white movies, or they met their spouse on a beach in Hawaii) and use that to help set the tone for the funeral. A few small touches here and there can help personalize the funeral without going overboard.
Find Favorites: What was the deceased’s favorite food? Drink? Song? Color? Did they prefer a certain type of flower or scent? Is there a book they loved and re-read every year? Take these favorites and make them a part of the service. Instead of serving a full catered meal, have everyone bring a dish they knew the deceased loved. Instead of hiring musicians, read a passage from that beloved book. You do not need grand gestures when you knew the deceased well.
Choose Your Timing: One of the most expensive aspects of a funeral is the last-minute nature of it. Booking flights, reserving hotels, finding last-minute caterers…all of these things tend to cost more if you don’t have time to shop around for the best deals. And since you might also be dealing with the costs associated with your loved one’s death, paying for all this right now might be impossible. Consider postponing the funeral service until a future date to save money. By cremating your loved one and holding the ashes until you can better plan a cost-cutting and memorable funeral, you can put all of your energies toward what really matters.