When people begin to plan a memorial service to honour a lost loved one most tend to fear high costs. They believe that a beautiful service will always cost a small fortune, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Planning a wonderful memorial service that honours the life of your loved one in a beautiful way can certainly be achieved at an affordable cost that meets a certain budget.
There are many costs associated with a funeral, this much is true, but there are also many things that you can do to ensure you achieve competitive prices, find perfect alternative ideas at a fraction of the cost (sometimes even free), and make informed decisions that make sense and allow you to stick to a budget.
Below, we have outlined a collection of tips to help you make the memorial service for your lost loved one both wonderful and affordable.
10 Tips To Help You Carry Out An Affordable Memorial Service
1. Stick To A Funeral Budget
Your first priority should be deciding on a budget for the entire funeral and memorial service so that you can track spending and stick to an overall cost you’re comfortable with.
You could spend a little time doing some online pricing to ensure your budget is realistic. List an average price next to everything you’ll need, and this should give you an average budget.
Hopefully the rest of this list will then help you bring that total budget cost down quite considerably.
You may find a lot of add-on services offered while shopping around, and these things can quickly drive up the price, so don’t ever feel pressured into anything. You don’t have to overspend to honour the memory of a loved one.
If you find any part of the planning process overwhelming or don’t feel confident when it comes to finances, don’t be afraid to ask a relative or close friend to help you.
2. Consider A Cremation
If you are planning a memorial service for somebody who didn’t make their preference between a cremation or burial known, you will have to make that decision.
If the deceased did voice their preference or happened to leave detailed instructions regarding their wishes in a will – perhaps even leaving funds to cover the burial or to go towards the price of a funeral service, as is sometimes the case – then you will have to abide by those wishes and ensure their requests take place.
For those who have to make the decision, it’s worth knowing that cremations can be as much as 50% less expensive than a traditional burial.
When you are operating within a budget, this makes a cremation a worthwhile option to consider.
Read: The Interment of Ashes
3. Do Your Research On Funeral Homes
While considering different funeral homes it’s worth contacting several businesses as costs can vary quite considerably.
This isn’t to say that you should automatically choose the cheapest as there are other things you should consider, such as their experience, professionalism, and overall expertise in the field, but there is no harm in using their cost as one element in your decision-making.
This can be especially true if it means saving hundreds or even thousands when deciding between several funeral homes that all offer a level of service you feel you’d be happy with.
4. Shop Around For A Memorial Sale
Or for any memorial for that matter!
There are likely to be several memorial stonemasons within your area, so speak to a few different masons who you’re confident can supply the right type of memorial you’re looking for and obtain a few prices.
The range of memorials available is vast and there is always something to meet any budget with headstone sales and cheap cremation memorials often available without you having to sacrifice the quality.
Here at C.J. Ball & Son, we pride ourselves on offering the best priced memorials in Barry and surrounding areas of South Wales, all while adhering to our exceptionally high standards.
We offer many discounted memorials, so if you’re working within a budget, it’s always worth browsing our memorial sale.
5. Look At Alternative Venues
Another great way to reduce costs is by considering your options when it comes to the memorial service and/or reception venue.
Being able to cut back on this expense could really help make sure you remain within your budget.
Local churches, chapels, and community centres often offer venue rental at a very affordable cost.
The use of some venues for people who are members of a church or association may at times be available to use for a very nominal fee, or in some cases, completely free of charge.
So, it’s always worth checking!
Alternative memorial service or reception venues you could consider include:
- At home if a relative or friend has access to enough indoor/outdoor space
- Banquet hall
- Popular wedding venues during their off-season
- A beach area or public park (may need to enquire about permits)
- Any other favourite outdoor location of the deceased
6. Cut Back On Catering
Catering for a large group of people will have to come at some cost, but there are opportunities to minimise this spend without leaving guests hungry.
Rather than designate a large chunk of your budget to expensive catering, see if there are less expensive options available – the guests are there to celebrate a life, they won’t be looking for a big banquet or to rate how fancy the food is.
You could even lay out a buffet yourself. Chances are family and friends would be all too keen to contribute by bringing a little something to add to the table, be it sandwiches, cakes, or other foodstuffs.
If the funeral is taking place in the summer and you’re lucky enough to have warm weather, you could even consider throwing a home barbecue so that guests can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere in a comfortable environment sharing memories and stories with each other about the person whose life you’re celebrating.
Another thing to remember is that often, not all guests attend both the service and the reception.
Sometimes they only attend one, meaning you may have more or less people attending the reception, so it’s important to have a good understanding of numbers so you can better estimate how much actual food you’re likely to need.
7. Save On Invitations
Buying, writing, and sending funeral invitations can be a costly and time-consuming process.
Creating home-made invitations (or lending the talents of a creative relative or friend, perhaps) can help you cut back on the costs, and if you feel a traditional invitation would be most fitting then this is the best way to keep the price down.
However, with everyone on social media these days there may be no need for physical invitations at all.
Take Facebook for example – it’s easy to create a Facebook event and invite all the necessary people to confirm their attendance.
Creating a Facebook group is another way to share information with a large group of people through social media. This also provides a platform for people to interact with each other both before and after the funeral, perhaps by leaving well-wishes, or maybe sharing some precious memories with those who’s life is being honoured and remembered.
Other alternatives could include sending your invitations electronically via e-mail using a MailChimp template or setting up a free memorial website in memory of your lost loved one which can include information about the funeral and anything else that’s relevant, along with options for people to be notified about what is going on.
Of course, not everyone is online, so for those who can’t be reached through the power of the internet they are only a phone call or short visit away.
8. Homemade Funeral Order Of Service
As with the invitations, the funeral order of service could also be creatively made at home to cut back on costs.
You could call on one or two other creative souls to help you with the design and production, and this is also a great way to get children involved so they can add a little something special to the finished programs.
The cost of printer ink and some quality paper to print them at home is likely to be far less than having them printed professionally at a print shop.
If you really do lack the design skills needed, you could always have a look at what’s available from talented individuals and small businesses who offer funeral programs on Etsy and other similar platforms.
9. Homemade Funeral Flower Arrangements
Continuing with the theme of a DIY funeral approach to cut back on costs, why not do some research into flowers, and put together the arrangements yourself?
Perhaps your loved one had one or a few favourite flowers, in which case you’d already know which flower types to use.
The price difference between having flowers professionally arranged against just purchasing them and doing the rest yourself can be substantial.
To utilise this tip, you do need to ensure you’re going to be capable of doing a good enough job (flower arranging is a skilled profession for a reason!), so here are a few sources to help get you practicing:
10. Request Monetary Donations Instead Of Funeral Flowers
While we’re on the topic of flowers, you could always ask guests to consider leaving cash donations instead of ordering flowers for the funeral.
People often do this to help cover the cost of the funeral if the death has been sudden and unexpected, and guests are generally happy to do so if they are aware of the difficult circumstances.
All that’s needed is a short sentence in the memorial invitation explaining that donations in lieu of flowers would be much appreciated to help cover the funeral expenses.
Here at C.J. Ball & Son we are proud to offer a wide range of memorials at fantastic prices – many of our memorials are heavily discounted. We have been serving Barry, the Vale of Glamorgan, and surrounding areas of South Wales with our stonemasonry craftsmanship since 1929, so you can be sure that our memorials are of superb quality despite the low prices.
To discuss your memorial requirements don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of compassionate advisors by calling 01446 734 607, e-mailing email@example.com or by filling out our simple online contact form.