• Debbie Donnelly Funeral Celebrant

Ideas for personal and bespoke services

With more and more people wanting to ensure that the funeral they arrange is really personal and reflects the spirit and personality of their loved one I thought I would share some examples to inspire your own creations and ideas.


Increasingly people are putting more photos into the order of service so they reflect the whole life journey. Memory boards have always been popular, maybe consider a memory table where people can bring and share their own photos and keep sakes of the person. Most places will now have screen where you can share photos or videos.

You can get a coffin ‘wrapped’ with photos, designs or themes [ garden, sport, hobbies]. For some a plain white cardboard coffin gives family and friends the opportunity to decorate it and write messages.

Food and Drink

Offering the persons favourite food and drink at the funeral tea or wake is a great way of bringing back memories, you could have copies of the recipe for a special cake or dessert or give away miniatures of their favourite tipple along with a handwritten message.


This will depend on the time of year but using flowers from their garden or focussing on a favourite plant or flower will make it feel more bespoke. If you are using a florist tell them about the colours and flowers they loved and don’t be afraid to be non-traditional with vases and hand tied bunches of flowers.


Live music or a friend singing can be a bit complicated to organise but worth it if you think it is something the person would have loved or appreciated. Look through their music collection and playlists and be inspired by what they listened to, discuss it with the funeral director and mostly they can make it happen for you. The most played songs at funerals currently include Over the Rainbow, Angels, My Way, what a Wonderful World, Abide with Me, Hallelujah and Time to Say Goodbye. There is also room for something from their favourite rockers, gospel choir or boyband.


Personalised seed packets are always popular. If they were an avid reader you could give away their books with a personalised book plate inside or some of their craft/ handiwork. There are also a number of companies providing an ever increasing range of memory tokens that you could order or be inspired by.

Funerals are of course sad occasions, making it personal can help make you feel that you have done your best for them. It also helps and encourages the mourners to come forward with their own special memories and remembrances.

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