Somebody popped in to see us the other day and they were wearing a couple of brightly coloured bracelets. The lady explained they were given to her at a recent funeral she’d attended in the US. Everyone was offered the bracelets to remember the young girl who had passed away and, in the days after the funeral, she noticed others in the small American town wearing similar bracelets. It was comforting to know that they were all remembering her together.
Here at Tester & Jones, we’ve organised funerals for families who have wanted to give something to those attending their loved one’s funeral – in addition to the order of service. Recently, families have handed out items including seeds and bulbs, handkerchiefs, charms or small stones, sweets and candles. The seeds or bulbs – often a favourite flower - will hopefully grow and offer some brightness in the months afterwards, while the sweets are typically ones that person enjoyed, perhaps mints or toffees.
The majority of funeral services we organise involve an order of service and we know that family and friends like to take these home to remember that person. Today, an order of service is so much more than a guide to proceedings, with families using it as an opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one, with photographs from different times in their life.
Some people find it comforting to re-read a poem which was delivered at the service or perhaps remind themselves of the music or a hymn. Alternatively, they might just want some quiet time looking at the photos included in the order of service.
We know that some families organising a funeral will refer back to an earlier order of service and perhaps use the same readings, songs or hymns. It’s not uncommon for somebody to want a hymn played at a wedding to then be played at a funeral.
We can offer a variety of design options for our orders of service and, again, these can reflect that person. For instance, people can include a flower on the front and it might be one which that person really loved – such as a sweet pea or a forget-me-not. A photo of a place they particularly loved could also be included in the design or an image which reflects a hobby they enjoyed – perhaps a steam train or a football. There really is a huge amount of choice. Of course, if families would prefer a more simple design, we can support them with that as well.
Alongside the order of service, some families like to purchase cards which reflect the design – perhaps with the same photo or design on the front. These cards can then be used to afterwards to acknowledge the fact that somebody attended the service or sent flowers etc or perhaps thank somebody who helped in some way, by reading a poem perhaps. Here at Tester & Jones, we’ve been the recipient of those thank you cards ourselves afterwards.
We’ve also had families who have ordered other stationery items, such as a card with a treasured poem on it or a bookmark which includes a photograph (particularly poignant if the person enjoyed reading). Other personalised items we can provide include books of condolence, attendance cards and memorial cards.
A family can also order a personalised memory box (available in various sizes), which could be used afterwards to store sympathy cards or special mementos, such as jewellery.
We’ve got examples of many of these stationery items in our office, so please do get in touch or pop in to find out more.