Memorial services don't have to be religious.

When someone dies, his memory lives on, no matter his religion or lack thereof. While some may have difficulty separating a memorial service from a religious setting, it is quite possible to have a tasteful and enjoyable non-religious memorial service that allows people to gather and collectively pay tribute to the deceased without being religious in any way. Secular memorials encourage people of any faith or spirituality to attend and participate without feeling ostracized or segregated.


Decorate freely with flowers and candles. Traditional memorial bouquets and funeral sprays are generally non-religious.

Create a memorial table or wall where you can include memorabilia from the deceased person's life. Include books, letters, recognizable clothing and photographs that friends and loved ones would associate with the deceased.

Start a guestbook for visitors to sign and leave messages of encouragement for family and close friends of the deceased.

The Service

Choose a secular location for the non-religious memorial service. Keep the service out of a church, religious funeral home or even a church-affiliated building to avoid any specific religious affiliations or feelings.

Invite a close friend or family member to offer opening comments. These can be informal or a planned speech in which the memory of the deceased is discussed, rather than religious topics.

Play music. While religious music should be avoided, the music should be relevant to the deceased or respectful. If the deceased was a musician, play one of her songs; if she was a lover of music, play songs she particularly enjoyed.

Allow anyone who wishes to get up and share a memory of the deceased. The service should not be about focusing on death but celebrating the life of the person who has died. Funny stories, fond remembrances or simple tales of the deceased's character will help people to bond and accept the passing.