Ideas for a Candlelight Memorial Service

Sally Painter
Candlelight service or memorial vigil

You can hold a candlelight memorial service using fresh ideas tailored just for the service. When planning a memorial service for someone who has passed or to recognize an event, you can make it a memorable service by personalizing it and paying attention to the smallest details.

One-Page Memorial

A nice way to remind attendees of the person being honored by your candlelight memorial is to create a one-page memorial. Offer a summary of the service and a short biography of the person being honored.

Theme Defining Person

Come up with a theme that best depicts the person's life. If their heritage was Irish, and it was something they celebrated, you can center a Gaelic phrase in a script font above their photo with an English translation underneath in parentheses. "Ar iarraidh ort" translates to "missing you," for instance.

  • Follow this with a tribute that summarizes the person's life.
  • Print on a parchment style paper and roll into a scroll, tying with a ribbon in their favorite color.
  • Place the scrolls in a basket at the door. If it's an outdoor service, assign someone to distribute the scrolls.

Music Selection

If the memorial service is for an event remembering several people, you may want to include music. This can be soft, low-playing background music. If the group were musicians, you may invite a band or choral group to celebrate this important part of their lives. If you can round up musicians who knew the departed, this will give even greater significance and meaning to your service.

Print out adhesive-backed paper decals for the drip protectors using a musical notes pattern. Alternatively, create your own drip holders out of small paper plates and add your printed pattern.

Video Montage

Some memorial services feature a video montage of photos and video clips of the person or group of people being memorialized. You can mix this up by also including clips of people who knew the deceased sharing light-hearted and fun memories.

Tree of Remembrance

Use a six-foot artificial tree, such as a Christmas tree or a tall artificial house plant. Print a large photo of the person and place at the top of the tree.

  • Set up a table by the tree with baskets of clips, blank index cards and pens or pencils. You may prefer to print the cards using a nice border too.
  • Use different colored card stock for the cards.
  • Be sure the tree is lit for the service and while people are clipping their notes to it.
  • Encourage guests to write something they loved about the person(s) and clip the card to the tree.
  • After the service, collect all the cards, tie with a satin ribbon and present to the family of the deceased.

Speakers for Service

The theme of your candlelight memorial service may help you decide on speakers. If the service is a celebration of the person's life, then you'll want to select someone who can be upbeat and positive about the person and describe humorous or interesting stories about the person. Limit speakers to one or two.

Open Mic Tribute

You may decide to have an open mic setup and invite attendees to come up to say something. You'll need to set a time limit, such as announcing for the next 20 minutes, anyone who wishes to say a few words about the person should form a line.

Holiday Candlelight Memorial Service

Some churches hold a candlelight memorial service at Christmas or Easter to remember loved ones who have passed. This should be a celebration of lives and follow the theme of the holiday.

  • Set up a memory table where attendees can place a photo of their loved one. This should be a specified photo size that will lay flat on the table.
  • You may prefer a memory board placed on an easel. Use mini glue dots or a temporary adhesive, such as rubber cement to secure the photos.
  • Create a frame for the board using a garland.
  • Set several potted Easter lilies around the easel or table for an Easter candlelight memorial service.

Remembrance Ribbons and Bracelets

You can supply the grieving with either a blue ribbon remembrance sticker, pin or blue glow bracelets.

  • You may prefer to use a different color that goes with the person, event or holiday memorial.
  • Place the ribbons, pins or bracelets in a basket at the entrance of the service so everyone can take one. Makes sure you have more than needed.

Special Reminders or Tokens

You can memorialize the service for the family by giving them a special reminder.

Creative Ideas for Candlelight Memorials

You can come up with other ideas for a candlelight memorial service tailored for the event or individual, including for the loss of a beloved family pet. Planning ahead ensures your service will run smoothly and be very memorable for all in attendance.

Ideas for a Candlelight Memorial Service