Funeral services are a time to remember a loved one, share memories and find closure. Setting aside a specific portion of the service to share memories can be a beautiful way to reminisce on the life of the deceased. Because every service (and every situation) is different, however, it might not be the right fit for every funeral. If you are considering having a time of sharing at your loved one’s funeral service, here are a few things to consider.
The length of the service.
Planning a time of sharing means relinquishing a bit of control over the length of your loved one’s funeral service. While you can allot a certain amount of time to speakers, it’s hard to control the length of someone’s remarks without awkwardness once they’ve started speaking. If you’re planning to have a short and sweet service, you might not want to open up the floor for sharing.
The level of formality.
By nature, a time of open sharing is less formal than many more traditional funeral elements. If you are planning a very formal service, the time of sharing might feel out of place. At a less formal gathering, however, it might fit perfectly with the tone of the service.
The relationship you have with guests.
A funeral service should be a time of grieving together and sharing good memories – not drudging up the drama of the past. If you have a sensitive family situation, or are nervous that certain guests may make inappropriate remarks, it might be best to skip the time of sharing.
Whether there will be a reception afterward.
If you are planning to hold a reception after the funeral, that might be a better time for guests to share their memories. If most, or all, guests will only be attending the service, you can choose to have a more intimate time of sharing for close family at the private reception.
How personal you want the service to be.
One of the best parts about having a time of sharing is the level of personalization it brings to a funeral service. It’s a great opportunity to share stories, anecdotes and memories that really reflect the personality of your loved one. If you want to keep the service from feeling stiff and impersonal, opening up the floor for a time of sharing is a great option.
Planning a Time of Sharing
If you decide to plan a time of sharing at your loved one’s funeral service, there are a few simple things you can do to help everything run smoothly. First, be sure to mention to guests early on in the ceremony that you will be opening the floor later in the service. This will give everyone time to reflect on thoughts or memories they may want to share.
Second, it’s a good idea to ask a family member or friend in advance if they will go first and open the floor. This will help avoid that awkward silence that can sometimes occur when everyone waits for someone else to go first.
Third, set a time limit. This might actually serve a relief to some of your guests who feel pressure to come up with lengthy remarks. A simple announcement, such as “Please keep remarks to five minutes or less,” is more than enough to set good parameters. Setting a time limit also ensures everyone has a chance to speak, should they wish to do so.
Finally, designate a family member to write down the names of those who speak at the service. While it’s not necessary by any means to send a thank-you note, it is a thoughtful way to show your gratitude and share in remembering your love one.
At Bevis Funeral Home, we believe that three words summarize the healing experience of a beautiful funeral service: gather, remember and rejoice. Our compassionate team is here to help you design a funeral service that is as unique as your loved one’s personality. To speak to a helpful funeral director, give us a call at (850) 385-2193 or email [email protected] today.