There are lots of different reasons someone might want to hold a memorial service outdoors—fresh air, the deceased’s affinity for the outdoors, ample space for guests. Whatever your reason for planning an outdoor memorial service, there are steps and facets to consider for the service to go as smoothly as possible. Honor You reviews how to plan a memorial service outdoors so you can assure a commemorative service and focus on mourning with loved ones.
Location can make or break any occasion, so it’s best to choose wisely. Location can carry a lot of meaning, too, so reflect with family and friends of the deceased on where the best spot for their commemoration may be.
On top of location, be mindful about when you schedule the memorial service. While the early afternoon may be too hot for guests for summer services, ample shade, water, and fans, can help keep things cool. If you want to avoid any uncomfortable outdoor temperatures, vie for a service later in the day.
To plan a memorial service outdoors, you should still secure the standard memorial products. Guests often appreciate having a funeral program with a schedule of service operations, life accomplishments and milestones of the deceased, and details on who they are survived by and who has a role in the service, such as a prayer reader or pallbearer.
Don’t forget to set up a space for the memorial register book so guests can share their condolences in writing and you can keep track of who comes to the event. You can also place memorial prayer cards by the register book so guests have a keepsake to take with them.
It’s hard to gauge the exact number on people that will be present at the service ahead of time, so be sure to provide ample seating at your outdoor space. Consider renting a tent to offer shade to funeral guests, should you hold the service during the daytime.
Because the memorial will take place outdoors, necessities that you don’t typically have to plan for, such as restrooms, must be planned in advance. You may want to rent a few portable bathroom stalls or provide a portable bathroom trailer for guests to use if there are no existing restrooms nearby.
It’s always advantageous to hope for the best but it’s also smart to prepare for the worst, particularly when it comes to weather. Confirm a backup indoor space, should the weather go south on the day of the memorial. You want yourself and your loved ones to be as comfortable as possible during the service, so it’s best to have a separate location as an option, just in case.