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How to personalise a funeral

05 January 2023
Flower boquet

Funerals and memorial services are increasingly being viewed as an opportunity to celebrate the life of a loved-one who has passed away. As a result, many families are choosing to personalise services to reflect the life and character of their loved-one.

If you’re planning a funeral or memorial service for a loved-one, or perhaps you’re considering how you’d like your own send-off to play out, here are some ideas to consider:

Type of service

Deciding what type of service you prefer is important. Traditional burials and cremations are still the most popular choice for laying a loved one to rest. Contact a funeral director for advice and guidance on how to personalise these services.

If the person who passed away was religious, having a faith-based service might have been important to them. In these cases, requesting a clergy member or priest to officiate the service might be most appropriate. In addition, each religious group will have their own traditions and customs for memorialising a death, and it’s important to take these into account when planning.

In our experience, eco-friendly or green services are steadily gaining popularity. Families who choose these services opt for a sustainable casket or shroud, forgo the embalming process, dress their loved ones in biodegradable clothing, and arrange the burial in a natural burial site within one of our memorial parks.

Saying goodbye to a loved one can be a complicated process filled with sombre emotions. That’s totally normal, but you might choose to alleviate some of the sadness by choosing to celebrate the positive impact the deceased brought about during their life with a party or gathering. Gather close friends and family to share positive stories and music in the spirit of their memory.

Pen and quill on paper

Eulogies and readings

Sharing words and memories about the deceased can be a comforting way to pay your respects, and a simple way to characterise the service. For example, you might ask family members or friends to speak or to provide their input for readings.

A few lines from a book or play of significance can be a good starting point. For example, movie lovers might like to share a quote from a significant movie, while music fans might choose to recite a few lyrics from a song or poem that outline the feelings we often can’t put into our own words.

In a religious service, you might choose specific readings from a holy book, prayers, religious songs, or hymns.


Making small decisions about colours, décor, food, and clothing can all go towards customising the service. Was there a particular movie or sport your loved one enjoyed? Did they tend to order a specific meal every time they went out? Did they have a favourite holiday spot? Incorporating these things into the service can help to personalise it and make it feel special.

  • If your loved one had a particular personal style or a favourite colour, you might ask attendees to dress in that way. This can be an easy way to add a joyous flair to an otherwise sombre occasion.
  • You can also choose flowers to suit a favourite colour or location, or to tie in a specific aesthetic. White roses are a popular choice, though you might opt for bright, colourful blooms to suit the mood of a more cheerful function, or specific native blooms if your loved one had a preference for Australian flowers.
  • Music is another great way to remember a loved one. Playing their favourite song at a point during the service can provide a lovely opportunity for individual reflection. But make sure you scan the lyrics of any song that you select, and look into any hidden meanings, as many songs often aren’t saying what we think they are on the first listen.

Organising a funeral or memorial service can be difficult, but support is available. If you choose to organise a service at an SMCT location, you are more than welcome to speak to our team to see possible personalisation options.

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