Oftentimes, the passing of a loved one comes unexpectedly, which doesn't allow adequate time to financially prepare for a memorial service. While some people do have money set aside for this unfortunate occasion, many do not. It may make you feel a bit uncomfortable trying to cut corners on a memorial service, but it turns out you can actually plan a very heartfelt service without breaking the bank.
Set a Budget
The first thing to do is set a budget. Once you know how much you can realistically spend on the service, you can start researching different funeral home prices and see what options work best within your budget.
Burial or Cremation
People sometimes have strict instructions on how they want to be handled once they pass away, in line with their personal or religious beliefs. If your loved one did not leave advanced directives and you feel they would be fine with the idea of being cremated, you can save as much as 50% over a traditional burial with cremation. If burial is preferred, a direct burial can be a lot cheaper because it does not include costly add-ons, such as embalming or visitation.
If your family member would prefer a traditional burial, oftentimes you can rent a nice show casket from a funeral home, instead of having to buy one. All your guests will see a beautiful casket, which can then be exchanged for a more affordable one in which the deceased will actually be buried.
Memorial services can take place at a variety of affordable venues, including community centers, churches, and chapels. If you or a family member belong to a certain church, you can often use that venue for a small fee, or even for free. You can also hold services at:
- Private yards
- Public parks
- Beach areas
- Banquet halls
- Wedding venues
- Outdoor locations
Pass on the Catering
Rather than paying exorbitant fees to have the memorial service catered, consider choosing a more affordable option. For example, make the reception a potluck where friends and family honor their passed loved one with one of their favourite dishes.
Don’t Mail Invitations
Sending memorial service invitations through the mail is outdated and expensive. Use email or Facebook to invite friends and family to the service. You can also set up a phone chain where one person calls another until everyone has been notified.
Make Your Own Program
Rather than paying a pretty penny to hire a print shop for your memorial service programs, design them yourself on your computer. Paying for ink and paper may be expensive at first, but will end up being cheaper in the long run.
Bring Your Own Urn
Buying an urn at a funeral home is pretty costly. You can get a great urn online for a fraction of the price. You can also use a nice box or container. Consider using a container that your deceased loved one particularly liked.
DIY Floral Arrangements
Making your own flower arrangements can be a lot less expensive than hiring a florist. There are plenty of sources online to help you make the arrangements yourself. Arranging flowers can also be a therapeutic activity. While you’re at it you can also make table centerpieces. Get a friend or relative who is crafty to help you out and get the project done in half the time.
Ask for Donations
Rather than purchasing and bringing flowers to the service, ask attendees to make a cash donation toward funeral expenses. This may feel uncomfortable, but it’s actually quite common. Just be sure to state this request in your invitation.
Help with Memorial Service Planning
Following these tips can help prevent racking up mounds of debt after a loss. Distinctive Life would be happy to help you plan for your memorial service. We’ve helped many families who have limited resources, but still want to make their loved one’s memorial as special as possible.
Let our professionals take on some of the burden and help you determine the best course of action.