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.
- Choose a Funeral Home
- Burial or Cremation
- Choose Casket or Urn, (there are specific options available to infants that are beautiful and unique.)
- Choose the funeral location and type of funeral service.
- Do you want a private service with a small group of friends and family or would you like the service open to the public?
- Select a date and time for the service, typically weekend or weekday evening
- Decide if you will have a viewing or a visitation. If so, when and where the viewing or visitation will take place.
- Decide if you would like to send a funeral announcement with the viewing, visitation and/or service information.
- Choose the pastor or the officiator.
- 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?)
- Decide if you want your baby’s body and casket present at the service.
- Arrange for funeral transportation (funeral coach, limousine, clergy car, etc.)
- Select who you want to be the pallbearers if burial is planned.
- Choose a cemetery & select a burial plot if burial is planned.
- Arrange to have the service photographed, recorded, or videotaped.
TWO. Service Details.
- Determine the order of service
- Select the music for the funeral service.
- Choose literature (poems, favorite baby books, scripture) to be read at the funeral service.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Memory Cards
- Shop Paper Goods
- Show a Memorial Slideshow: Gather all your favorite photos and/or video and create a slideshow honoring your baby’s life.
- Decor: How can you decorate in a way that tells the story of your baby’s life?
- Welcome Sign: from The Morning Shop
- 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 Inspiration: Balloons | Florals | Memorial Displays
- Favors: Serve as a special keepsake for guests.
FOUR. After the Service.
- Have a Release
- 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.
- 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