Different Types Of Urns And Cremation Jewelry

cremation fort Meyers At Going Home Cremation we have many different types of cremation urns.

Families seek out ways to remember their loved ones after our cremation has been done. Using a unique urn after a cremation is a way to capture aspects of your loved one’s personality for years to come. There are many different options when it comes to urns after cremation and below, we explain some of the options.

Going Home Cremation Has Cremation Urns and Cremation Jewelry.

Choosing a cremation urn is not something you do every day. There are many choices available. It can be difficult knowing where to start. Going home cremation has a complete catalog of cremation urns and jewelry. You also can call us so we can guide you through helping you find an urn of your choice.

Most cremation urns are a box shape or a vase type of container that is specially crafted to hold ashes. Cremation urns are made from a wide variety of materials such as wood, metal, and marble.  They can range from very basic to very decorative and ornate. The more ornate urns are meant to be a work of art and displayed in the home.

There are many different styles and types of cremation urns.

There are single large urns and smaller urns where you can divide the ashes. At Going home cremation we have both.

The large individual urns usually hold 200 to 300 Cubic inches.  Basically, I like to describe the average size of ashes similar to a 5-pound bag of sugar. A full-size urn is usually 9- 12 inches tall and usually about 6 to 8 inches wide.This type of cremation urn is enough for one person.

cremation tampa

There is also a companion urn that is made to hold two family members.  The ashes can either be separate or commingled. These urns are much larger. Usually about 12 inches tall and about 12 inches wide. These are the types of urns to use if you had parents that wanted to stay together or something along those lines. However, when it comes to these urns, you need to be ensured if they are separate or commingled in case you ever wanted to separate the ashes at a later date.

Going Home Cremation also has a wide variety of scattering urns. Scattering urns are very popular in Florida for a cremation. These type of urns allow you to cremate your family member in Florida and either spread or place your loved one in the ocean. However, make sure to always follow local and state laws when it comes to scattering cremated remains. These are urns that are biodegradable so the ashes can be scattered from the urn directly or you can put the urn in the water and it will biodegrade.

Keepsake cremation urns are meant to keep only some of the ashes and give the family members. Keepsake urns are meant to hold a tiny bit of ashes up to about a cup of ashes. There are cremation keepsake necklaces and jewelry.

At Going Home Cremation we have very unique cremation keepsake urns where we can mix ashes in with glass and have it made into different shapes. The wide variety of materials that keepsake urns come in are crafted from versatile options for different family members.

Going Home Cremation also has the ability to personalize some of our urns. The wood urns can have engravings on them, the metal earns can usually have engravings and or photos.

Feel free to call us at Going Home Cremations if you need any help in selecting a cremation urn. We are located in Sarasota, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda and Saint Petersburg.

We are here for you.

cremation new port Richey

What Happens If Your Loved Ones Needs to Go to The Medical Examiner in Florida Before A Cremation?

Medical Examiner Cremation

Sometimes when your loved one passes away in Florida, they will be sent to the Medical Examiner before they can be buried or cremated. This process with a medical examiner is incredibly important to the state of Florida if you are going to get a direct cremation in Florida. It can be nerve wracking when your loved one is sent to the Medical Examiner, so we wanted to help guide families in Florida on some of the steps when they are sent to the medical examiner before your loved one is cremated in Florida.

When does the Medical Examiner Get Involved Before A Cremation in Florida?

When a death occurs in Florida, under certain circumstances, the Florida Medical Examiner will be involved. This will occur when a health care practitioner, police officer

or by others authority figures report a death as suspicious. Normally, these are the type of deaths that are traumatic, criminal, or suspicious in nature, or a result of suicide or drug overdose. This is specific to Florida Statue 406. Deaths that are considered unattended also fall under the medical examiner’s jurisdiction. Unattended deaths are deaths that occur to people that have not seen a doctor recently or died suddenly while appearing to be healthy.  It is very important that if a family is going to choose a direct cremation in Florida, that the medical examiner approves it before it commences. If your loved one’s death falls under the circumstances above, the death must be reported to the medical examiner.

No matter if your loved one needs to be sent to the medical examiner in Florida or not, the medical examiner is involved with every cremation approval in the state of Florida. When we take your loved one in our care for Florida direct cremation, we must get the attending physician that oversaw your loved one to sign the death certificate. Then the death certificate is sent to the medical examiner to overlook and approve. A cremation cannot occur until the medical examiner approves of what the doctor said about your loved one’s cause of death. Sometimes, the Florida medical examiner will request more information from the doctor on the cause or death, or even sometimes the medical examiner will require the body be sent to them for further review.

For example, in both Sarasota and Manatee county there are specific county ordinances and fees for the Medical Examiner:

In accordance with Florida Statute 406.11, rule 11G of the Florida Administrative Code, and other rules and regulations of the state of Florida, all deaths in which the body is to be cremated must be investigated by the medical examiner and an approval number must be supplied to the funeral home or crematory prior to cremation.  In support of this service, local ordinances # R-08-217 (Manatee County) and # 2008-083 (Sarasota County), require the payment of a cremation fee for bodies from Sarasota and Manatee Counties.  The fees vary depending on the county. You can learn more here: https://www.fldist12me.com/funeral-homes-cremation/?fbclid=IwAR0bKa2GppDXue5cyxCg-z0BcM_j0CuHpg6x__ZaHBPkgLM_v5KdGsiaBn4

It is important when choosing a Florida direct cremation facility that you make sure they are competent in handling Medical Examiner cases. The Medical Examiner will not refer you to a facility, so it is best to look online for facilities that have good reviews and that have been around for many years. If a Florida direct cremation facility is not competent in dealing the medical examiner faculties, especially when it comes to autopsies, it could cause issues.

What occurs during a Medical Examiner’s investigation?

Medical examiner investigation starts with evaluation of the background information, medical history and circumstances leading up to death.  In certain circumstances it may also include response by medical examiner personnel to the death scene.  Medical examiner investigation also entails examination of the body, which includes examination of the clothing and personal effects and the external surfaces of the body.  Autopsy is commonly, but not always, performed.   In criminal cases, medical examiner personnel work with law enforcement officers in the collection of evidence from a body.

sarasota cremation

How long after the conclusion of the Medical Examiner’s Investigation, can they body be sent for a cremation?

In Florida, once the medical examiner has concluded their investigation, the direct cremation facility can pick up your loved one normally within the same day. Then generally within 72 hours the cremation will occur. In general, the whole Florida direct cremation will be concluded within 7-10 business days, when you will receive your loved ones cremated ashes.

At Going Home Cremations we have affordable cremation facilities in St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Fort Meyers & SW Florida. We have good working relationships with all the medical examiner facilities within our coverage areas, and can help guide you through the direct cremation process if your loved one has been sent to a medical examiner facility.

Cremation: What to Do with The Ashes Afterwards.


After your loved one has had a cremation, the next step in the process is for you and your family to decide what you should do with the cremated ashes. There are many options for a family when it comes to what to do with cremated ashes.

First things first, you need to decide if you will have cremation facility handle the ashes or your family once the cremation is completed. For example, At Going Home Cremations, we can scatter the ashes of a loved one for you if you do not want to do it yourself. There are many places we are able to scatter ashes including the ocean.

If you will be taking the cremated ashes once the cremation is completed, then you must decide what you will do the cremated remains. There are a few options:

Keep the Ashes at Home:

You can purchase an urn and keep the urn with the ashes at home. This is what many people typically do when they have a loved one cremated. You can also split the ashes, so many family members can have ashes in their home. We would suggest arranging ashes being split with the cremation facility you are using. The facility can also put the ashes in each urn for you, sometimes at little or no cost.

Cremated remains ashes

Bury the Ashes or Put Them in A Columbarium:

You can bring the urn to a cemetery and have it put into a niche or family plot. Cremation facilities will not be able to help you with this part, you will have to go to a cemetery to purchase space. The costs for doing this can be significant so we suggest shopping around to a few cemeteries or even seeing if individual sellers are selling their plots. You can either bury the urn or put it into a columbarium.

Scatter the Ashes:

You can scatter the ashes or even just scatter part of the ashes. Scattering rules and regulations depend on where you are, so check out of blog that speaks more about it here: https://goinghomecremations.com/scatterings-ashes-in-florida/. There are many options when It comes to scattering ashes. You can scatter ashes in the sea, or even a state park. You are also able to scatter ashes on private land if you get permission.

Scattering Ashes

Make the Ashes into Diamonds

You can make the cremated remains in diamonds. It’s an expensive process but in the end, you get real diamonds out of the process. We can help you with this at Going Home Cremations. Cremation diamonds are real diamonds made from human cremation ashes. Firstly, the carbon of the cremation ashes is purified. Then, it is pressed into a cremation diamond with high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) machine.

Add the Ashes to a Manmade Reef:

You can add your loved one’s ashes to a man-made reef called Eternal Reef. https://www.eternalreefs.com

Plant the Ashes: 

There are different companies that offer the ability for you to plant your loved one’s ashes with a tree. The types of trees options vary from Maple Trees all the way to Palm trees.

Turn the Ashes into Ammo:

We work with a company called Holy Smokes, and they are able to turn your loved one’s ashes into ammo. You can even get colored ammo for military gun salutes. http://www.myholysmoke.com

Send the Ashes to Space:

There is a company that offers different options to send cremated ashes to space, they are called Celestis. https://www.celestis.com

No matter what you choose to do with your loved ones cremated ashes, know at Going Home Cremation, we offer you the most affordable direct cremation service in Florida. https://www.goinghomecremations.com 

The Rules of Shipping and Flying with Cremated Remains and Ashes

Shipping Cremated AshesShipping and Flying with Cremated Ashes and Remains

It happens almost every day, the untimely death of a family member while out of state or even the country. Or a loved one dies in Florida while in retirement, but you live outside of Florida. What do you do when something like that happens and you want your loved one’s ashes sent some where different than where they passed? You are most likely going to have to fly or ship the cremated remains to their destination.  There are many rules and regulations surrounding shipping ashes nationally or flying with them domestically.


Shipping Cremated Remains:

Once your loved one has been cremated; you do have the option of shipping their ashes once the direct cremation is done. However, there are many rules and regulations surrounding shipping ashes. First, cremated remains are only allowed to be shipped via USPS. They must be shipped overnight via Priority Mail Express. You must have something called a label 139 to accompany the ashes that will be shipped. The priority mail express will provide tracking for the shipment. You can also ship ashes internationally via USPS Priority Mail Express International. However, you must ensure the country will accept cremated remains. Also Priority Mail Express International must be an option to ship cremated ashes to.


The packaging of shipping cremated ashes is very important with a few requirements. If you use your direct crematory to help you ship the ashes, they should be able to do it all for you. If not, check out this link to UPS shipping guidelines for cremated remains: https://about.usps.com/publications/pub139.pdf. At Going Home Cremation, we offer the service of shipping cremated ashes for our families. The USPS prices tend to vary between $100-$300 depending on where they cremated remains need to be shipped to.

Flying with cremated ashes

Flying with Cremated Remains:

You are legally allowed to fly with cremated ashes as long as you follow some specific guidelines. In the US, most airlines will allow you to fly with cremated remains, but each carrier has a different policy and you must double check their policy. If you are bringing the cremated remains on as a carry on, you must ensure that the urn holding the remains can go through the X-Ray machine, and allow TSA to see the full contents. Stone urns, metal urns, ceramic urns and any other material that is not easily x-rayed will not be allowed. Plastic, cardboard, and most wood urns are okay for the X-ray machine and should be allowed through the TSA security check point. The TSA will not open any urns or examine cremated remains, even if granted permission, so ensure cremation ashes are packed properly prior to going through security.


In Florida, when you are flying with cremated remains, you need two documents: A burial transit permit and a certificate of cremation. The crematory you work with should be able to provide you with both items with ease. You can also put cremated ashes in your luggage, and we suggest that if you do so, attach a copy of the burial transit permit and certificate of cremation to the ashes in your luggage. If you are flying with cremated ashes as a carry on, you should bring both of these documents with you in case there are any questions. If you have any more questions, contact TSA and check out this link about their guidelines: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/cremated-remains.


Shipping cremated ashes


At Going Home Cremations, we can help. We are able to help you ship or fly with you your loved one’s cremated ashes. Visit our website https://www.GoingHomeCremations.com or call 941-320-1179.

The Differences Between Direct Cremation and Cremation

cremation urn

At Going Home Cremations, we know it can be very confusing to understand the differences between what a direct cremation is and what a cremation is. At the time your loved one passes in a hospital or hospice, there are so many options on what to do once your loved one passes. One of the first things you will realize is you have the option between a burial and a cremation. If you pick a cremation, you then need to figure out if you want a direct cremation or a cremation.


The biggest different between a direct cremation and a cremation is that a cremation is MUCH MORE expensive. This is due to a normal funeral being involved with a cremation. With a cremation, the body is brought from the hospital or hospice and sent directly to a funeral home. The funeral home then performs normal funeral body preparations like embalming, dressing and body preparations for cremation viewings. This use to be the most popular way to handle a cremation, but due to costs that can be upwards of $7000 compared to $1000 for a direct cremation, it is falling out of favor.


The cost are so high due to families paying for a funeral director, casket, embalming, and then on top of that a cremation, when all is said and done.  Also, the environmental concerns of embalming have also taken cremation out of favor compared to direct cremation. With a normal cremation, there is the option of a viewing for a family, like what would be expected if a burial was chosen

In a cremation, a family can choose to have a funeral like what would occur in a burial or have a viewing. This will change the costs for a cremation as well. In a viewing, there is less body preparation compared to a full funeral. With a viewing, it is possible to not have the body embalmed. Whereas, a normal funeral with a cremation, there is an embalming.

Direct Cremation

In a direct cremation, the body is taken from where the person died, directly to the crematory. This is the biggest difference between the two, because in a direct cremation the body is not prepared for viewing. This can save families thousands of dollars as well as make the cremation process faster for families in case they need death certificates for estate matters.

Once the body is at the crematory, the cremation process is very fast, with the actual cremation only taking between one to three hours. Once the body is cremated, the rest of the direct cremation process is very fast. One additional advantage of the direct cremation is that once the cremation is completed, the family can still have a service but save considerable amount of time and not be on a time crunch for scheduling a service.

Cremation Urn

On average a direct cremation in Florida can start around $1000, which is much less than what a cremation in Florida would cost. Additionally, during the time of COVID, it does not make much sense to have a cremation or burial due to social distancing rules. It is important to note, no cremation will occur less than about 5-7 business days. This is due to a medical examiner looking over what the doctors notes are about the cause of death.

At Going Home Cremations, we can help you arrange a direct cremation for your loved one in Florida.


Scatterings Ashes in Florida: Rules and Where to Scatter

At Going Home Cremations, we offering cremation for your loved ones. Once a cremation is finished you have the option of scattering ashes. There are a few regulations around scattering cremation ashes in Florida.

In Florida, there are no state laws or restrictions on where you can keep or scatter ashes. If you decide to scatter ashes of a loved one, there are many options available in Florida. The cremation process makes it so a person are harmless, and there are no health risks related to scattering ashes. Even when it comes to a COVID related death, once a person has been cremated, there are no issues with scattering cremated ashes.

Even though Florida doesn’t have laws regarding scattering ashes, certain cities and counties within the state may have their own rules. Also, state parks and national parks have their own rules and there are federal guidelines to follow related to scattering ashes at sea. It is recommended to contact the local public authority before scattering ashes to make sure they do not have special regulations or procedures.

Options to scatter ashes in Florida:

As Sea: Scattering ashes at sea is a very popular way to scatter ashes in Florida. At Going Home Cremation, we can guide you in the rules and regulations of scattering ashes in the sea. We also offer additional packages for scattering ashes in the sea in Florida. The EPA requires that it be notified of a scattering at sea within 30 days of it occurring. You can call the EPA or go to their website and fill out a simple form before scattering. Federal law requires that ashes are to be scattered at least 3 nautical miles from the shore and it is very important to follow these rules. If caught scattering ashes closer to shore than 3 nautical miles, there can be fines associated with the scattering. At Going Home Cremations, we can offer services to scatter ashes 3 nautical miles off the shore.

When scattering ashes at sea, you can use special biodegradable urns that are ecofriendly and make the scattering at sea a memorable experience. We offer these type of urns, just please contact us. https://goinghomecremations.com/urns/

Private Property: You are allowed in Florida to scatter ashes on your personal property. You are also allowed to ask permission to scatter ashes on someone else’s private property. It is wise to get written consent if you are scattering ashes on someone else’s private land in Florida

Public Land: There are many beautiful public lands available for scattering ashes in Florida. It is important to contact the regulating authorities of the public land you want to scatter the cremated remains on before scattering. There are special regulations for scattering as sea.

Federal Land: For scattering ashes on federal land, it can vary from park to park. Some parks will allow it, some will not. It is common practice to have specific areas allowed for scattering ashes and many parks require a permit before scattering. We suggest reaching out to the governing federal land before scattering the ashes in Florida.

Cemeteries: Some cemeteries have areas where scattering ashes is allowed. This service will cost a fee and varies from cemetery to cemetery.

Air: There are no rules or regulations prohibiting scattering ashes in Florida by air. But make sure to only scatter the ashes and not the urn or box holding the ashes.

Hospice Care and Cremation

Cremation and Hospice


Having a loved one in hospice care during the end of their life is an extremely stressful time for families. On top of trying to spend as much time with their loved ones, family members need to start planning on what will happen once their loved one passes. Cremation has become to most common way families proceed one their loved one has passed. We will now describe what families should do once their loved one passes and they have decided on cremation.


  1. Call the hospice office: When your loved one passes, call the hospice office. You may turn off machines, such as oxygen machines or monitors. Some family members prefer to sit with the loved one, while others find this too difficult and will want to leave the room. Do whatever is right for you. When your hospice nurse arrives, he or she will help with the immediate process of pronouncing death and beginning the end-of-life logistics.
  2. Call friends and family: Notify friends and family of the passing. Make sure to prioritize who is told first.
  3. Find a cremation provider: When looking for a cremation facility, make sure to check google ratings, also see if your hospice facility recommends any facilities. At Going Home Cremations, we have over 25 five-star reviews and are recommended by hospice facilities throughout all of Florida. Make sure to ask for pricing, and cremation options. For example, ask about scattering ashes, or make a eco friendly urn. Also make sure to ask for their urn catalog to see if there are any urns your family prefers.
  4. Contact the cremation facility you pick: Make sure to let the cremation facility aware of the death and that you have chosen them for the cremation. Most good facilities will be able to pick up your loved one in a few hours. At Going Home Cremation, we have multiple cremation facilities and are able to do very quick professional pick ups.
  5. Collect any jewelry or belongings from your loved one before they are picked up for a cremation.
  6. Consider having a thumb print taken or any other memorial items decided on within a day of pickup.
  7. Fill out the cremation authorization form: Make sure to fill out these forms quickly as nothing will begin until these forms are filled out.
  8. Have hospice pick up any medical equipment: Make sure to follow up with Hospice if you had any medical equipment.
  9. Consider asking hospice about any grief counseling if needed.

What is included in Veteran Cremation Benefits

Veteran Cremation Benefits

It is important to understand the veteran burial benefits that are available to all US eligible veterans. It’s a complicated process to understand all the benefits and it is suggested to work with a cremation facility that is well versed in veteran cremation benefits.

veteran cremation

It can sometimes be difficult to know who qualifies for veteran benefits. ID cards are issued for other military benefits.

Here is a list of basic qualifications:

  • Military members on active duty.
  • Members of the active (drilling) National Guard or Reserves.
  • Retired active-duty members. Active-duty members can retire after performing at least 20 years of active-duty service.
  • Retired National Guard and Reserve members who are receiving retired pay.
  • Veterans who have received the Medal of Honor.
  • Honorably discharged veterans who have been rated as 100 percent disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) due to a service-related injury.
  • Dependents of those listed here. Dependents include a veteran’s spouse and children.

As a US veteran, there are many benefits that are given to deceased veterans. One of the hardest parts is figuring out how to get the burial benefits our veterans deserve. Some of the veteran benefits are explained below:

  1. Burial benefits available include a gravesite in any of 153 national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care.
  2. Government headstone or markera burial flag,and a Presidential Memorial Certificate.
  3. Some Veterans may also be eligible for burial allowance.
  4. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
  5. Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a national cemetery include burial with the Veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the Veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the Veteran.


5 Reasons Why People Select Cremation

Cremation continues to to chosen over burial and here’s why:

A loved one passing away generates a lot  of decisions for a family.  Cremations have outpaced burials for the last three years. Even the Vatican has called the trend toward cremation “unstoppable.” (The Roman Catholic church allows its adherents to be cremated, as long as the ashes are kept in a sacred place, not at home or scattered.)

  1. It costs much less.

The most-cited reason for choosing cremation over traditional burial is financial. A direct cremation, in which the body is taken straight from the place of death to the crematorium, costs about two-thirds less than a traditional funeral and burial.

      2. It is easier on our environment.

A traditional burial requires the use of land, metal and/or wood for a casket, and potentially toxic embalming fluids.

  1. It is seen as less traditional.

Families also driving a trend to personalize final arrangements, and cremation offers a customized ways to celebrate the life of the deceased that a casket burial just can’t match. You can have ashes made into jewelry. Scatter on beaches and in water, around your favorite place or keeping the ashes at home with the family..

  1. Long Distance for Families

Family members are often spread across the country,  and.it isn’t as simple as it once was to gather children, grandchildren, and extended family members together on short notice for a traditional funeral. Cremation buys the family some time, especially if the death was unexpected, to plan and gather for a memorial service.

  1. It’s convenient.

It may be hard to imagine that folks might choose their loved one’s final arrangements based on what’s easy. But sometimes, planning a funeral is more stressful than the loved one  can handle:

  • It’s quicker. Making funeral decisions is emotionally draining and overwhelming for mourners. They may choose cremation to end the process sooner.
  • The ashes are portable if they’re placed in an urn or other container, so they can be taken with loved ones if they move.
  • Families have more time to decide what to do with the ashes.
  • No matter the reasons. Cremation is a choice worth considering

Going Home Cremation can walk you through your choices. Just pick up the phone and call us and we can help.  We are here for you.

What is a Celebration of Life?

A celebration of life is an event focused on sharing stories of the deceased and commemorating the joys he or she brought into the lives of others. As the name implies, it’s meant to celebrate the life of your loved one, opposed to grieving the loss. While there are often tears, these events tend to be creative, and focus on happiness and laughter. A celebration of life can take place immediately, or weeks or months after death and the body is typically not present.

The tone is peaceful rather than mournful, celebratory instead of sombre. Wearing black is commonly discouraged. You’re more likely to hear Monty Python’s Always Look On The Bright Side of Life – according to a 2014 survey,

A survey of 2,000 people suggested that 54% wanted their funeral to be a “celebration of life”. Some 48% said they wanted it to incorporate their favourite “hobby, colour, football team or music”..

By looking back rather than forward, and focusing on happy memories rather than the immediate sense of loss,

Celebration of Life Service Planning & Outline

The most memorable events are highly meaningful, and capture the unique life and personality of the deceased. The following questions can help define the essence of your loved one.

What were the individual’s religious or spiritual beliefs?
What were their distinctive qualities?
What were they passionate about?
What do people think of when they think of the individual?

1. Timing
A memorial service or celebration of life can be held any time after death. You may choose to make arrangements immediately, though it is also acceptable to wait several weeks or even months.

It can be difficult to make decisions immediately after a major loss; planning the event several months into the future allows you to enlist help from others, or even hire a professional planner. Waiting also allows people to make travel arrangements, making it easier for friends and family to attend. You also will find more options available (location, venue, other services) if you’re not dependent on having the event in the next 7 days.


2. Type of Service
Decide the type of service and where you would like to hold it.

On the Beach , On a Boat to Scatter, VFW hall, Church Hall, In Your Home, At a Local Park, There are many places you can be creative with.

Cremation and memorial service.

3. People to Invite
After you’ve determined the type of service and timing of the event, it’s a good idea to make a list of everyone you’d like to invite. Immediate family is a good place to start, then consider more distant relatives. Next make a list of friends, and not just current friends—include friends from different chapters of the person’s life: friends from childhood, school, different jobs, and different locations. Don’t forget to include your support network as well.

If people will be traveling in for the service, consider the accommodations they’ll need. Will they be able to stay with you or other family? Are local hotels or accommodations by owners available? This may impact the timing you choose.


4. Location
Things to consider when choosing a location are:

Will any portion be held at a religious location?
How large of a venue is needed, based on the number of people expected.
Does it have adequate parking?
Is it handicap accessible?
Can it accommodate all parts of the event—service, socializing, etc.
When is it available?

5. Celebrant or Host
Who will lead the service/event? If the individual was religious or spiritual, the officiant or celebrant likely has a standard service that can be personalized. If a host will be leading the event, you can still choose meaningful customized elements, such as readings and music.


6. Readings / Readers
You may want to choose religious prayers, readings, poems, quotes, personal writings, or song lyrics that were significant to your loved one. Next, choose the reader or readers who will present them.

Also, it can be touching to have people share personal anecdotes or memories about the individual.


7. Eulogist / Speakers
If you choose to have a eulogy, choose who will write and deliver it. Rarely are eulogists experienced, so you may share these guidelines for preparing and delivering a eulogy:

Be Brief. Be sure to check with the clergy or service director about timing. If none is provided five to ten minutes is a good guideline.
Be Focused. You can’t distill a lifetime into five to ten minutes, so don’t try. Start with a brief history of the deceased’s life, including significant relationships and professional history; interests; and achievements.
Be Personal. Focus on one or two notable qualities, passions, or characteristics of the person, and share a personal story or favorite memory related to it. A saying, quote, song, or religious text that was significant to the individual is a good way to close.
Be Positive. Now is the time to affirm the positive aspects of the individual’s life.
Write it Down. A written eulogy is another way for family and friends to hold the memory of a loved one. While practice is recommended, committing the eulogy to memory is not required. During this highly emotionally time, it may be nice to have a written copy to reference in the event thoughts become scattered.
For additional details on how to write a eulogy, see the Hazeltine blog post, Writing a Eulogy for a Celebration of Life of Memorial Service.


8. Music
Select songs, hymns, and other pieces of music that were enjoyed by the deceased, or that hold special significance. Determine who will provide the music? Professional musicians, DJs, family/friends, or a playlist on an audio system are all options. You may choose a combination of live music for parts of the program, followed by a playlist of significant songs as background music as guests socialize.


9. Food & Beverage
Options for food and beverage include DIY (with help from friends and family), hiring a caterer, or full-service food and beverage provided by the venue you select.

You may choose to provide foods that were particularly liked by the deceased. Another option is a particular ethnic cuisine. Depending on the time of day, you may choose to provide light snacks, like appetizers and desserts, or a full meal. Be advised that many guests may have dietary restrictions, so inquire with your caterer/venue about options.

Many events, especially a celebration of life, choose to include a bar, which adds to the celebratory feel of the service.


10. Photographer / Videographer
You may choose to capture the event with photos or video, to keep the memories for years to come. This job can be undertaken by a family member or friend, or you can hire a professional.

In some cases, some families choose to webcast the event, which allows people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend to participate in the service.


11. Flowers & Memorials
Traditionally, people send sympathy flowers to express their condolences. However, it is commonplace for families to request memorial donation instead of flowers. In the obituary, social media and event invitations, you can indicate whether flowers or memorials are preferred, or whether both are acceptable.

The typical way to indicate memorials are preferred over flowers is “in lieu of flowers…” but there are other ways to suggest survivors show their support. For example, “those wishing to make a memorial donation, may contribute to [specific charity name] or the charity of their choosing.”


12. Personalizing the Event
Personalizing the event can range from simple to elaborate, and can be done by a few people or by everyone attending.

Some traditional ways to remember a loved one are with a memory board of photos, a display of photo albums, a video or slide show, or through displaying personal memorabilia.

To involve guests, you may ask that people bring a few words about the departed to share or post for others to see. It could be a favorite memory, a sentence or two on how they knew each other; or ask them to send a photo or song to be included in the slideshow or playlist.