Frazer Blog

7 tips for planning an outdoor funeral service

by | Mar 22, 2017 | For Families

Forest

Nature is the perfect place for reminiscing while being out in the fresh air amongst trees and flowers. It’s proven that nature has a positive effect on emotional health, so what better place to hold a funeral service?

Loved ones can grieve in the comfort of nature and with personalization on the rise, an outdoor funeral service is a unique way to create a personalized service, especially if the deceased was outdoorsy.

Here are a few tips on how to make the most of an outdoor memorial service.

1. Location. Location. Location.

When choosing a location, keep in mind places that are scenic and have a special meaning. It can be a family member’s backyard, a local park or garden, or the cemetery or ash scattering location if being cremated; just make sure you have permission to use the area. Dedicating a memorial bench to the deceased at the funeral location is an admirable way to honor their memory. Check with your local park to find out the requirements for dedicating a bench.

2. Add Personalization

Further embrace nature by incorporating a seasonal theme. If it’s springtime, a spring funeral can include floral photo wreaths, pastels and greens, and spring-themed decorations such as rain boots and umbrellas filled with flowers, but weigh down decorations in case of wind. Or, a fall funeral can have leaves, hay bales, pumpkins, and warm reds, oranges, yellows, and browns.

3. Go Green

In an effort to protect the environment and not cause a financial burden for family, green funerals are a popular environmentally-friendly option. The deceased’s love for the outdoors can be expressed through eco-friendly burial options such as a pine casket or a biodegradable urn with their ashes and seeds that grow into a tree.

4. Have a Releasing Ceremony

Families can have a releasing ceremony for their loved one’s ash scattering, or just as a tribute to their life. They can release something natural like wildflower seeds, something living such as doves or butterflies, or light biodegradable lanterns to send off into the sky. A loved one’s ashes can even be turned into fireworks to celebrate their life.

5. Make Outdoorsy Mementos

Use nature-inspired decorations to create long-lasting memorial items for loved ones. Family and friends can write memories and memorial messages on pieces of paper to attach to a memorial tree. All you need is a vase, stones, tree branches, and string to attach the messages. Or, give loved ones a packet of seeds as a memento to plant in their loved one’s honor.

6. Learn from Wedding Planners

Funeral directors and wedding planners are more alike than you may think, as they’re both event planners. Funeral directors can learn a few tips from them for creating a personalized funeral service. When planning an outdoor service, consider items you’ll need such as chairs or a tent, and have the area sprayed for bugs beforehand and light citronella candles to help repel them. Depending on the location, you may want to rent restrooms if there aren’t any nearby.

7. Be Prepared

In case the weather doesn’t permit, it’s wise to have a backup indoor location for the service. If you’re using a tent, make sure to choose a type of event tent that works on your surface whether it’s pavement or grass, and have tent side walls and plastic tarps in case of rain. If it’s a warm day, you may want to bring some fans and find a shaded area for the service.

Do you have other tips for planning an outdoor funeral service? Share them with us in the comments!

24 Comments

  1. Burt Silver

    I really like your idea of using some mementos that relate to the natural setting of the funeral. The idea of giving the people attending packets of seeds to plant in their loved one’s honor is a great one. My wife and I have been working on planning her grandmother’s funeral, and she really loved the outdoors. This would be a great option for her, so we will look into it.

    Reply
  2. Kyle Winters

    I really like some of the suggestions you give about how to have a green funeral. That can be very helpful for a loved one who had a deep connection to nature and was against polluting it. In particular, I like the idea of the biodegradable earn and the ashes and seeds in order to help plant and nurture a new tree.

    Reply
  3. Leviticus Bennett

    I like your idea to add personalization and really consider the season when decorating. Music is very important in my family, so it’s always a good idea to personalize with music. Since it’d be an outdoor service, consider nice acoustic instruments like violins and guitars.

    Reply
  4. Chris Winters

    Jenny, I like the idea to make the funeral service personal and intimate. My great uncle has recently passed away and we want to make sure that his funeral is an honor to his memory. I definitely think that we should find a funeral service that could help to take care to understand who he was and the life he lived before planning the memorial.

    Reply
  5. Ernest London

    Thanks for the tips for planning an outdoor funeral. My grandmother recently passed, and we are trying to plan her funeral. She always loved nature, so having an ash scattering in the forest with all of her loved ones would be great. I will have to see what the rest of my family thinks about that.

    Reply
  6. Jack Titchener

    I never considered consulting wedding planners for a funeral. My grandpa just died and we’re trying to give him a good funeral, but still save some money if we can. Thank you for the helpful tips, I think I’m sold on having it outside!

    Reply
  7. Danny LeBlanc

    Yes i agree,you can plan your burial you wish to have but if you select location make sure you have permission to use the area. If you had connection to nature You can also choose seasonal theme for your funeral like if it’s springtime you can include floral photo wreaths,green and spring-theme decoration. Families can have a releasing ceremony to celebrate their loved ones life.

    Reply
  8. Theodore Winston

    My wife’s mother has just passed away and I wanted to make her funeral really special for the family. It would be a great idea to have the kids draw and right letter for their grandma. Also, an outdoor service would be a good as well. You could float lanterns or candles as a farewell gesture. I agree that being prepared all together is the best thing you could do in these kinds of scenarios. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  9. Deb Pearl

    We had a family member die recently and we really wanted to do something special for them. We thought about holding the funeral services outside since they loved to be outdoors. That is a great idea to decorate along with what season it is. Adding some of their personal items would be fun decorating items as well! Thank you for the tips and ideas!

    Reply
  10. Sam Solo

    I never considered using eco-friendly pine caskets. This would be really smart to use for my grandma because she always wanted to be one with nature. I’ll have to consider getting one of these services for her next week.

    Reply
  11. Heidi Bookenstock

    My mother has just passed away and I’m trying to help my father plan her funeral service. She loved nature and would love an outdoor service. I appreciate this article and the advice that it gives, it’s great idea to give people seed packets to plant in her honor.

    Reply
  12. Skylar Williams

    I really like your tip to have a releasing ceremony. My brother-in-law’s parents just died and they wanted to be cremated. I think having a releasing ceremony will make those left behind feel at least a little better.

    Reply
  13. Angela Waterford

    My father wants his ashes to be released when he passes. I think there are funeral services that offer this option nowadays. Thanks for the idea that we can release butterflies as well, so I’ll look for one that has many options that he can pick from.

    Reply
  14. Laurel Larsen

    It was interesting to read that funeral directors and wedding planners are similar because they’re both essentially event planners. That’s a fascinating comparison to keep in mind! My grandma isn’t doing too well and we’re not expecting her to be around too much longer. Finding a funeral director that could really personalize the service like a wedding planner would for a wedding would actually be a memorable and moving experience.

    Reply
  15. Callum Palmer

    When my grandma passes away, she is wanting to have an outdoor funeral. Now as you mentioned here, there are some things we can do to make the whole thing better for everyone. We’ll for sure have a releasing ceremony, which we’ll have to figure out what to release as per my grandma. All in all, we’ll make sure to get this all planned out with the help of a funeral service.

    Reply
  16. Luke Smith

    When my grandma passes away, she wants to have it themed as back to the ’90s to make her funeral unforgettable. I appreciate you mentioning that customizing a funeral can add more life to the occasion. I will ask my grandma about these types of funeral services so that she can choose one and personalize it while she’s still strong.

    Reply
  17. Ellie Davis

    I liked that you mentioned you can consider eco-friendly burial options such as a biodegradable urn that grows into a tree. my father is thinking about pre-planning his funeral, and we are looking for options to help him. I will let him know about your recommendations to choose the best funeral services for him.

    Reply
  18. Jay Jorgenson

    I like how you mentioned releasing doves for your loved one’s ash scattering, or as a tribute to their life. My grandma just passed away and my family and I want to make her funeral memorable. I’ll share this information with my family so we can decide if we want to release dove to make her funeral memorable.

    Reply
  19. Darrien Hansen

    I like that you mentioned the importance of choosing a location when planning a funeral. My late aunt told me that she would like me to plan her funeral. It may be best to find a funeral service that can help me with the arrangements.

    Reply
  20. Faylinn

    I liked that you mentioned that a fall funeral can include leaves and pumpkins, especially if you are going to have it outdoors. My dad has been battling cancer for a few months and it is clear that I need to start planning his funeral soon. I will make sure that I follow these tips and find a service that could help me arrange the services for him.

    Reply
  21. Sabrina Addams

    My grandpa was 84 years old and passed away last night. We want to celebrate his life in the way he’d want us to, so we are wanting to design him a beautiful memorial headstone to visit and remember him by. The service will be held outside by it. I appreciated your tip to embrace the season of the service by including the season’s flowers so we’ll create winter bouquets and decorations to honor him and make it nice.

    Reply
  22. Johnny McCarron

    Huh, I never would have thought to try a green funeral. I think when I die, I wouldn’t mind being buried in a biodegradable casket. If they could plant a tree over my grave, that would actually make me quite happy.

    Reply
  23. Henry Killingsworth

    You made a really interesting point when you explained that it is a good idea to have an area sprayed to keep bugs away during a funeral service that is outdoors. One of my friends recently lost his mother, and I doubt that he is an emotional state to plan a funeral; let alone finding the right location to hold one. I think it would probably be best if he hired the help of a director to help him organize a service.

    Reply
  24. Rebecca Gardner

    I like your suggestion to send off doves or butterflies to act as a tribute to the life of our loved one. My family and I are working to create a really meaningful memorial service for my cousin who passed away from a heart attack last week. Releasing doves isn’t something I would have thought of without reading your article, so I appreciate you sharing that idea here.

    Reply

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