- Memorial Service -
What is a Memorial Service?

Unlike a traditional burial services or a traditional funeral, a memorial service is a gathering where a casket is not present (although the urn with the cremated remains may be on display).

A memorial service can be held weeks or even months after the death.
A memorial service can be held in a church, the funeral home, or a community hall. There is usually music, selected readings, and a eulogy.

Memorial services can be further personalized as a celebration-of-life.
Memorial Service Ideas

Our experience has shown us that many of today's families want more meaning than a traditional funeral. This can be done by bringing more of the personality and lifestyle of the deceased into the arrangements.

By displaying photographs or staging the event around a favorite pastime, a memorial service can become more personal and meaningful.
If a personalized memorial service suits the needs of your family, we suggest you consider the following questions:
✓ What did your loved one like to do?

✓ What was he or she like as an individual?

✓ What was their profession and how did that shape their life?

✓ Was your loved one spiritual?

✓ Was he or she proud of their cultural or ethnic heritage?
We're Here to Advise, Assist, and Guide You
Using the above five questions as our guide, we will spend the time to help créate a fitting memorial service for your loved one.

Please call us at +1 (830) 773 9591 to learn the details of our memorial service planning process.

View our contact us page for more details on our Memorial funeral homes and Valdez & Sons Funeral crematory locations.
Why a Memorial Service?

Rather than opting to do things "the same old way", many families today want to celebrate the life of a loved one.

Many funeral service professionals see this change as one of the many contributions to social change made by 'Baby Boomers'.

The National Funeral Directors Association notes, "As baby boomers age and find themselves having to plan funerals for loved ones and themselves, they are making funeral choices based on values that are different than previous generations.

Baby boomers see funerals as a valuable part of the grieving process and are seeking ways to make them meaningful."

If you too desire to make the funeral for a loved one more engaging and personally meaningful, a celebration-of-life may be the perfect concept to build on.
How Does a Celebration-of-Life Differ from a Traditional Funeral?
As mentioned in the page Traditional Funeral Services, there are four basic components which make up the conventional approach to funerals:
1. A Visitation

2. The Funeral Service

3. A Committal Service

4. The Funeral Reception
A traditional funeral then is a series of events; it's a ritualized process where the deceased, and the attendees, pass from one social status to another; a process where the torn fabric of a family and community is repaired.

According to the online article "Six Characteristics of Helpful Ceremonies", by William Hoy, Director of Grief Connect, this is done by including:
1. Symbols of shared significance intended to communicate beyond words

2. Ritual actions shared by a group of individuals

3. Gathered people providing comfort to one another

4. Connection to heritage through recognized readings

5. Increased physical contact between attendees provide comfort

6. Witnessing the transition of the body through burial or cremation
In knowing these characteristics, you can design a celebration-of-life–as unique as the life of your loved one.
Frequently Asked Questions About Memorial Services

Our list of the most frequently-asked questions will certainly shed light on the topic of memorial services.

Still, it may not have the answer to your specific question.

If that is the case, give us a call at +1 (830) 773 9591.
A member of our staff will be pleased to provide you with the information you're looking for; and who knows?

Your question could be added to this list, ultimately assisting others in making vital commemorative decisions.

Memorial Services FAQ List:

1What is a memorial service?
What is a memorial service?
Here's an interesting way to answer the question:

a memorial service is not a funeral.

Picture what you believe to be the traditional funeral, and then mentally tear up the image.

Both ceremonies have structure; both are intended to bring community together in support and remembrance.

But one is far more formal than the other; a memorial service is not lead by clergy, but guided by a celebrant or master-of-ceremonies.

It provides all who attend the service an opportunity to participate on some level, not just to observe and reflect.
2How does it differ from a celebration-of-life or funeral?
How does it differ from a celebration-of-life or funeral?
Visualize a memorial service as a mid-point on the spectrum of service format possibilities.

On one end is the more formally-structured, clergy-led funeral service (often with three component parts: the visitation, funeral and a committal service held at the cemetery).

At the other end is the celebration-of-life; an event where the life of the deceased–their passions, intellectual pursuits and personal accomplishments–are the focus of attention.

A funeral isn't truly celebratory, where a celebration-of-life is all about celebration.

A memorial service could be said to be a gentle mix of the two; but in all honesty, each memorial service is unique.

Speak with your funeral professional for further insights.
3Which type of service format is right for me and my family?
Which type of service format is right for me and my family?
There's really no way we can tell you which service would be the best in your situation.

In fact, we don't believe it's even part of our job to tell you; instead, our work is in showing you the spectrum of possibilities.

We can explain your options, make suggestions; all with the goal of empowering you to arrive at the best possible decision.
4How much will it cost?
How much will it cost?
This is a lot like asking "how much will it cost to buy a car?"

The answer is totally dependent upon the 'bells & whistles'–the special features–you've selected during the arrangement conference.

When you sit down with a funeral director to discuss service costs, you'll receive a copy of the firm's General Price List which will detail all the basic professional services included in the price of your loved one's memorial service, as well as the cost of any ancillary products or services you've purchased.

Call us to get a better idea of what your loved one's memorial service will do for you, as well as what it will cost.
5What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?
What "extra" fees or charges will I need to pay?
Some of the things you'll discuss with your funeral director involve purchases made from outside vendors, and you will be asked to pay for those items at the time of the arrangement conference.

One of the most common is the fee charged by a newspaper to print your loved one's obituary.

Another cash disbursement could be for clergy or musician's fees, floral arrangements, reception necessities, such as food/beverage or facility rental.

Your funeral director will provide you with a detailed invoice for all cash disbursements.
6What are "cash disbursements"?
What are "cash disbursements"?
Some of the things you'll discuss with your funeral director involve purchases made from outside vendors, and you will be asked to pay for those items at the time of the arrangement conference.

One of the most common is the fee charged by a newspaper to print your loved one's obituary.

Another cash disbursement could be for clergy or musician's fees, floral arrangements, reception necessities, such as food/beverage or facility rental.

Your funeral director will provide you with a detailed invoice for all cash disbursements.
7Why must I pay for these items ahead of time?
Why must I pay for these items ahead of time?
The vendors we work with the newspapers, florists, caterers and musicians, all require us to pay for goods and services when ordered or at the time of delivery.

Our "good faith" relationship with them requires us to charge you for them at the close of the arrangement conference.

Your funeral director will take time to explain any and all of the necessary cash disbursements incurred as part of your service planning.
8How and when should I pay?
How and when should I pay?
A good rule of thumb is to expect to pay at the time the service contract is signed (at the time of the arrangement conference, or soon afterwards).

Speak with your funeral director to learn more.
9What's involved in planning a memorial service?
What's involved in planning a memorial service?
We've actually written a number of pages on memorial service planning, but the short answer would include the tasks of selecting the location, date and time of the service. You'll be asked to identify the specific readings, musical selections, food or beverages, and/or the activities you'd like to feature, as well as the people you would like to participate in the service itself.

Memorial service planning isn't difficult; it's empowering.

After all, you've got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show the world how much your loved one meant to you.

We invite you to speak with one of our service planning professionals to learn more.
10How much will I have to be involved?
How much will I have to be involved?
How much would you like to be involved?

Certainly, your funeral director will need you to specify certain details: the where and when, for example.

Together you'll make important decisions about other specifics, but once those decisions are made, you can "step back" and let us handle everything or have as much input as you please.
11What items will I need to bring to the funeral home?
What items will I need to bring to the funeral home?
You'll need to provide the documents/information required to complete your loved one's death certificate and obituary.

You may also wish to bring in a collection of family photographs to be used in making a tribute video or in the decoration of the service location.

Other items may be needed at some point, depending on the arrangements made.

Your funeral director will provide you with an exact list of the things he or should would like you to bring along to the arrangement conference.
12What is a civil celebrant? How can he or she help?
What is a civil celebrant? How can he or she help?
A celebrant is a person who has been trained to conduct formal ceremonies, such as weddings, baptisms and funerals.

They are not clergy; instead they are experienced masters-of-ceremony and story-tellers.

A celebrant works closely with surviving family to create a ceremony which reflects the beliefs, cultural background, values and aspirations of your deceased loved one, and your family.

If you think you would be best served by a celebrant, please speak with your funeral director.
13Will I, or another family member, need to write the obituary?
Will I, or another family member, need to write the obituary?
Commonly the funeral director who met with you during the arrangement conference will assume the responsibility of writing the obituary.

You will support them in doing so by providing them with the necessary legal documents (birth certificates, military records, and marriage or divorce decrees) and other important details about your loved one's life.

If you, or another family member or friend, wish to write the obituary, we can help to guide you through the process.
14What's the meaning of the phrase "in lieu of flowers"?
What's the meaning of the phrase "in lieu of flowers"?
It's quite true you see "in lieu of flowers" in a lot of obituaries today.

It does not imply you can't or shouldn't send flowers; if that was the case, we would use a more direct statement, such as "no flowers please".

Instead, the family has given you the choice to send a memorial donation "in place of" flowers.
15Do I have to ask for memorial donations in the obituary?
Do I have to ask for memorial donations in the obituary?
Of course not; in fact there's absolutely nothing you have to ask for in your loved one's obituary.

If it feels wrong to you do make such a request, then you shouldn't.

But when you realize most people appreciate the opportunity to "do good" as a way of paying tribute to the memory of a close friend or family member, your feelings may soften just a bit (allowing you to make the request).

If you have questions or concerns around the issue of "charitable contributions", give us a call. We can help you to decide on the most suitable charity for your situation.
Unique Memorial Service Ideas

For families looking for a stunning and creative way to say goodbye to a loved one, planning a unique memorial service is an excellent way to achieve this.
A memorial service differs from a more traditional funeral in that you personalize details of the service to pay tribute to your loved one and the way they lived their life.
This allows you to create a service that is one of a kind and truly unique as no two people are the same.
Before you can begin planning the memorial service, you should start by first meeting with a member of our staff to better understand what you want to focus the service around.
Your memorial service should focus on what your loved one was passionate about, and this initial meeting can help us understand your vision and offer ideas.
Below we have compiled a selection of creative memorial service ideas to help you plan a memorial service.
These are just a few of the different ways that you can commemorate your loved one and celebrate their journey through life.

A unique memorial service like the ones we have mentioned will allow you to feel a stronger connection to your loved one and create a positive experience your guests will love.
To learn more about unique memorial services or to begin planning one, please contact us today to speak with a member of our staff.