Planning an Outdoor Memorial Service
The majority of funeral and memorial services are held indoors. Although many people opt to include an outdoor gravesite service in addition to a more formal indoor event, the most traditional funeral planning option is to hold a memorial service in a church, funeral home, or private home. This indoor environment means that it’s easy to control the temperature, ensure that any audio-visual equipment is protected from the elements, and know that everyone will be comfortable as they prepare to say their farewells.
Because death occurs rain or shine, getting outdoors to enjoy a memorial service under the sun might seem like a challenge. However, with the right kind of planning, you can hold a memorial service outside and enjoy a different, more natural kind of funeral.
Where to Hold an Outdoor Memorial Service
Parks, family lands, beaches, and gardens are all ideal locations for an outdoor memorial service. In fact, anywhere you might hold an outdoor wedding is also a place where you can hold an outdoor funeral. Summer months are best due to weather concerns, which means you may need to postpone the memorial service until a later date. (This can also be helpful for out-of-town family. By burying or cremating the deceased via direct funeral options, you can handle the details of body interment ahead of time, saving the commemoration for a date when everyone can get together to enjoy the funeral.)
Hiring an actual wedding venue is also a possibility. Because you may be gathering a large assembly of people, it can help to have a facility equipped to provide seating, sound equipment, and even catering. Expect costs to be similar to those of a wedding.
Creating a Lasting Legacy
Many people hold outdoor memorial services because they provide a direct tie with nature. For example, if you are planning on disposing of the cremated remains in a specific location (with the proper authorization), or if you want to plant a memorial garden or tree, holding a service at the site is a fitting sendoff.
Funeral Planning Must-Haves
Even if you are opting for an eco-friendly outdoor memorial service, it’s a good idea to stick to the funeral traditions. Some of the key components you may want to include:
- Funeral program or handouts that outline the service
- A religious official to say prayers and lead the service
- Eulogies and an “open mike” session
- Funeral flowers
- Funeral music
- Food and/or drinks following the service
In many cases, an outdoor memorial service can act as a compliment to a more traditional funeral service. For example, if you expect a large community response, you can hold a funeral for close family members and friends and opt for an outdoor event at a later date that is open to everyone. You can also do the exact opposite, inviting everyone to attend the funeral service at the funeral home and creating a quiet, personal farewell in the deceased’s favorite outdoor space the following week.
Whatever your reasons, it’s becoming more and more common to have an outdoor service that makes the most out of the natural setting and eco-friendly burial practices. If the deceased loved nature, getting outside for the final farewell might be the best tribute you can make.