What To Bring To A Memorial Service

What To Bring To A Memorial Service: Beginner’s Guide

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

When going to a memorial service, it is important to bring along appropriate items to demonstrate respect and provide comfort.

Having attended a memorial service before, I’ve discovered a handful of essential items that can make a significant difference in the experience. So, what to bring to a memorial service? 

Today, I’ll share my top recommendations for items that can provide comfort and ensure you’re prepared to honor the memory of your loved ones. Read on. 

5 Things You Can Bring To A Memorial Service

Arranging Flowers for Funeral

1. Condolence Or Sympathy Cards 

Whether you choose a condolence or sympathy card featuring an elegant design or one wishing peace in their time of sorrow, sending a card to the memorial service can help show the family they are not alone. 

You can help comfort them and demonstrate empathy for their loss with kind words or a meaningful quote. 

2. Donation Or Charitable Contribution

At a memorial service, attendees can contribute to a charity [1] or foundation the family chooses. 

You can collect donations from attendees and present the family with a check after the event or provide information on how to contribute in the deceased’s name. 

It’s an ideal way to show the deceased was loved and to honor their life by contributing to a cause they cared about.

3. Flower Or Plant Arrangements

Baskets, bouquets, and wreaths filled with roses, carnations, lilies, daisies, and other fragrant flowers create an atmosphere of beauty and love that will lift the spirits of everyone present. 

These arrangements are lovely reminders of the departed’s life and can be placed together near a photo or throughout the venue. 

Flowers can bring a much-needed sense of joy and brightness to a somber day. But how can you decorate a memorial service?

4. Photos or Mementos

Photographs and other mementos provide a special opportunity to reflect on the deceased’s life and legacy.

“Remembering is an act of resurrection, each repetition a vital layer of mourning, in memory of those we are sure to meet again.” 

– Nancy Cobb, Author

Whether it’s a photograph, a piece of jewelry, or a piece of clothing, display and share these pieces with guests to show off the individual’s achievements, stories, and accomplishments. 

These items help create a meaningful and impactful tribute to remember the honored person’s life.

5. Customized Memorabilia

A custom-made memorabilia could be a photograph that captures some of the best memories shared with the deceased. 

It could also be a custom-made piece of jewelry with the individual’s name inscribed. 

Or a special book that contains notes, quotes, and memories from those who loved the deceased individual could also be used to create a meaningful and beautiful tribute to the person’s memory.

What Not To Bring?

Whiskey Bottles on a Rack

A. Food Or Drink (Excluding Water)

Memorial services are solemn, respectful occasions to pay tribute to and remember a dear loved one, and as such, bringing food and drink other than water [2] to a service can be disruptive, distracting, and even disrespectful. 

“In the delicate dance of grief, our presence speaks volumes, and the items we offer become tokens of remembrance, symbols of shared sorrow and strength.”

Howkapow Gift Site

Additionally, certain cultures may interpret bringing food and drink to serve as a form of celebrating death, which is never the intention and is highly inappropriate.

B. Alcohol

Respectfully honoring the memory of the departed should be of utmost importance in this type of event, and the presence of alcohol can create disruption and an uncomfortable atmosphere – not to mention that many venues won’t allow it. 

C. Extravagant Or Expensive Gifts

Attending a memorial service calls for thoughtful gestures of sympathy. But there are better ways to show support than flashy gifts and expensive items.

Instead of bringing something pricey, opt for a meaningful memento or a thoughtful card.

What Is Considered An “In Memory Of” Gift?

An “In Memory Of” gift is a way to honor their life by donating or contributing to a charity, foundation, or cause that was special to them. 

It lets people pay respect to the memory of someone and simultaneously help with a cause or mission that was important to them. 

From money donations to setting up scholarships or funds, these gifts serve as a lasting reminder of the person and how they influenced others.

Also Read: What Do You Call The Party Following A Funeral?


What should a guest do at a funeral service?

Be courteous and respect the service by dressing appropriately and refraining from speaking or distracting others. 

Listen to the service with reverence, standing or sitting when appropriate, and join the mourners in any group activities.

Is it impolite to not go to a funeral service?

You alone must determine if attending a particular funeral is disrespectful or not. 

But if you’re not attending, it is best to explain if you cannot attend the funeral service to show respect to the deceased’s family.

How long do attendees have to stay at a memorial service? 

Generally, attendees should plan to stay for at least fifteen minutes to give respect to the deceased. But how long will the memorial service last?

Wrapping Up

Going to a memorial service can be hard, but it’s a good way to show respect for someone who has passed. 

Here’s what I bring: a card to show I care, a gift to a charity the person liked, or flowers if it’s okay. Every service is different. Pay attention, learn, and get ready. 

The most important thing is being there. You are there to show respect and to help the family and friends. So, be there, be kind, and show you care. It means a lot.


Kimberlee Johnson
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