How to Plan a Non-Religious Memorial Service

When a friend, colleague or family member dies, those left behind feel grief regardless of their religious beliefs. When planning a memorial service for a non-religious person, you want to honor that person's life without focusing on an afterlife, and conduct a neutral service where every attendee feels comfortable.


    • 1

      Establish a location. You do not have to hold a memorial service in a church or other building associated with spiritual pursuits. There are many fitting places where you can conduct a non-religious celebration of life, such as a park, favorite lake, club, restaurant or the home of a family member.

    • 2

      Contact your funeral director, who should be able to help you put together a non-religious service that is a tribute to its subject. It is helpful to gather and jot down as many details about the person you are celebrating as possible, including notable attributes and special reminiscences.

    • 3

      Decorate freely. Include beautiful floral arrangements, treasured photos and memorabilia that symbolize or pay tribute to the life of the deceased person.

    • 4

      Give a brief explanation of the service to attendees if you are not hiring a funeral director. Explain that the service is non-religious, but that those in attendance may respectfully express their feelings however they wish. The idea is to make guests of any religious background feel comfortable.

    • 5

      Make arrangements for speakers before the service if time is limited. Shared memories and feelings are what make any funeral observance a life a treasured event and allow family and friends to grieve. A warm, caring, non-judgmental service is very likely what the honored person would have wanted.

    • 6

      Offer a moment of silence for all attending to reflect or pray.

    • 7

      Choose music and poetry that fits the observance. If the person you are commemorating had a favorite piece of writing, song or quote, include it in the service if it's suitable.

    • 8

      End the ceremony with words of farewell to the one who is now gone, and thank everyone for attending.

    • 9

      Provide food and refreshments, hire a caterer or have all guests contribute food and drink items.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can relieve a lot of pressure from family and friends by arranging your own funeral service ahead of time. Doing so will help ensure that the service is held according to your wishes.
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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images

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