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Here are some ideas for organising a memorial event to celebrate the life of someone you’ve lost. 

By Hannah Jackson-McCamley, Funeral Celebrant

Hannah is an experienced celebrant who specialises in unique services that truly reflect the person that has died and the needs of those left behind. She is passionate about people, music, literature and travel and is training to be a psychotherapist.

What is a memorial ceremony?

While a memorial honours the life of a person who has died, it tends to be a much more joyful and uplifting event than a funeral.

The ceremony can be as simple or extravagant as you want. I’ve led very formal events, casual and relaxed ones. The tone is set by the person being remembered and the people attending. 

Memorials don’t have to be expensive or involve lots of work. Always ask for help – many people like to be involved and show that they care. 

Here are some ideas to think about (these might be useful for planning a funeral too):


Tone and structure

Venue and decorations

A memorial doesn’t need to be sombre – let your loved one’s personality guide you. 

Speeches and tributes



Food and drink


This isn’t a wedding so an email will do fine. You could include a picture of your person, plus:

Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to feel that you are memorialising your loved one in a meaningful way that brings you and your family comfort as you navigate life without them.