Planning a Service

How to plan a funeral or memorial service for a baby. | Free downloadable resource and planning guide. | Listen in to Episode 008 with Ashlee Proffitt | A podcast for women who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss.

This post is meant to serve as a simple checklist to make the hardest of moments just a little easier. For less checklist and more heart, click here to listen to the 5 things I would share with a mother who is having to plan a funeral for her baby. In Episode 008 of The Joyful Mourning Podcast I share candidly about my own experience planning a funeral for my son, what I learned and what I would do differently.

In comparison, today’s post is simply an objective step-by-step guide to planning a memorial.

ONE. Service Details.

  1. Choose a Funeral Home
  2. Burial or Cremation
  3. Choose Casket or Urn, (there are specific options available to infants that are beautiful and unique.)
  4. Choose the funeral location and type of funeral service.
  5. Do you want a private service with a small group of friends and family or would you like the service open to the public?
  6. Select a date and time for the service, typically weekend or weekday evening
  7. Decide if you will have a viewing or a visitation. If so, when and where the viewing or visitation will take place.
  8. Decide if you would like to send a funeral announcement with the viewing, visitation and/or service information.
  9. Choose the pastor or the officiator.
  10. Decide what your baby will wear.
    • Would you like to see your baby privately before the service?
    • Would you like to dress your baby?
      Is there anything you would like to place with your baby? (blankie, toy, letter, or another keepsake?)
  11. Decide if you want your baby’s body and casket present at the service.
  12. Arrange for funeral transportation (funeral coach, limousine, clergy car, etc.)
  13. Select who you want to be the pallbearers if burial is planned.
  14. Choose a cemetery & select a burial plot if burial is planned.
  15. Arrange to have the service photographed, recorded, or videotaped.

TWO. Service Details.

  1. Determine the order of service
  2. Select the music for the funeral service.
  3. Choose literature (poems, favorite baby books, scripture) to be read at the funeral service.
  4. Select which family members or friends will be involved and in what ways; during the service they could:
    • Write and read letters
    • Share their favorite memory
    • Read your favorite children’s book
    • Read scripture
    • Pray

Our 10 Page Funeral Planning Guide gives a sample order of service as well as a list of possible hymns and scripture passages that may be helpful in your planning.

DOWNLOAD THE FUNERAL PLANNING GUIDE

 

THREE. Make it Special.

  1. Have a Color Theme: To instantly personalize the experience to your baby. 
    • Have everyone wear a specific color or decorate with that specific color using balloons or flowers.
  2. Paper Goods: Customized paper goods personalize the service while also providing an opportunity to communicate necessary information such as reception details or donation information. Customized paper goods also make for a precious keepsake.
  3. Show a Memorial Slideshow: Gather all your favorite photos and/or video and create a slideshow honoring your baby’s life.
  4. Decor: How can you decorate in a way that tells the story of your baby’s life?
    • Welcome Sign: from The Morning Shop
    • Florals
    • Balloons
    • Photographs: Enlarged, Framed and Sitting on Easels
    • Footprints & Handprints
    • Memorial Display with Favorite Things: Have a table set up with photos and footprints and toys and blankies and favorite things that remind you of your baby and tell of his or her life to those attending
    • For Decor InspirationBalloons | Florals | Memorial Displays
  5. Favors: Serve as a special keepsake for guests. 

FOUR. After the Service.

  1. Have a Release
    • Balloon
    • Butterfly
    • Dove
    • Floating Lanterns (like this or this)
    • Flower Petal Scattering 
  2. Plant a Tree: A tree makes a long-lasting memorial and symbolizes how your baby’s life and legacy will continue to grow after he or she is gone.
  3. Reception: Will you hold a post-service reception? A sweet opportunity to gather with friends and family after the service. If you are having a reception, ask someone to be in charge of:
    • When (the reception will be)
    • Where (the reception will be)
    • What (food, drinks, desserts will be served.)

FOR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND PLANNING HELP
DOWNLOAD THE FUNERAL PLANNING GUIDE