How you will lead a memorial dedication will be unique to the person the memorial is honoring. For example, if you are leading the memorial dedication of a park for a recently deceased city councilman, you will use different wording than if you are leading the dedication of a scholarship in memory of your great-grandmother. Regardless of the circumstances, a memorial dedication can follow a basic format with the contents of each step customized for the individual situation.

In Advance

Meet with others who are organizing the memorial dedication and develop a plan for the order of the ceremony.

Book the site for your memorial dedication and reserve the time and date.

Contact all speakers and musicians who will be part of the ceremony and secure a commitment from them.

Send invitations to the memorial dedication if it will be a private ceremony, or purchase a newspaper advertisement to invite the community if it will be a public ceremony.

Write out the comments you intend to make during the ceremony and rehearse them in front of a mirror and with a friend or family member. Your comments should eulogize the person being remembered, explain what is being dedicated and why it was chosen as a memorial for the deceased. At the beginning of the comments, explain your relationship with the person being memorialized.

The ceremony

Give direction that ensures the ceremony begins on time. Most likely the memorial dedication will begin with music. As the leader, you should communicate to the musicians, or the person operating the sound system, that they should begin. Or, depending upon how you planned your ceremony, call guests to be seated so that the ceremony can begin.

Call upon the speaker who is to go first at the ceremony, if the speaker doesn't immediately begin after the music ends. Continue to ensure that the order of the ceremony proceeds if one of the speakers or musicians doesn't immediately begin when the person before finishes.

Deliver your comments. Speak clearly, slowly and project your voice so that all can hear you.

Dismiss those who attended when the ceremony is complete. Thank them for attending. Stay around for a little while after the ceremony to speak with guests individually.

Tip

  • People may cry at a memorial dedication. Have tissues discretely available for the guests and for those who are participating in the ceremony. A box of tissues at the ends of rows of chairs, and a box of tissues on the speaker's platform, will be appreciated.

Tip

  • If the person being memorialized is recently deceased, it's possible that people at the ceremony will become emotional. If you were close to the deceased, it's also possible you may become emotional during the ceremony. This is OK, but prepare yourself for that possibility in advance. It will be easier for you to handle, if it does happen, if you have thought about it and what you will do in advance of the ceremony.