Memorial Service Ideas | Travel Theme

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Memorial Service Ideas: A Fitting Farewell - Travel Theme

Memorial Service Ideas For Someone Who Loved to Travel

If your loved one was famous for his or her adventurous spirit and thirst for travel, honour his or her legacy with a memorial service that revolves around the travel theme.

As an installment in Love Lives On’s exclusiveA Fitting Farewell” series, we curated the very best guidebook filled with unique and inspiring memorial service ideas for an adventurous globetrotter who had a severe case of Wanderlust.

To help you plan A Fitting Farewell for an Adventurous Globetrotter, we’ve have organized this guidebook into helpful sections, each containing the very best ideas centred on a travel theme.

Whether you’re planning an intimate memorial service or a larger event, these ideas are sure to inspire unique elements to personalize a travel-themed service that is a true celebration of your loved one an adventurous spirit.

Why it’s Important to Work with Professionals

When it comes to planning an end-of-life ceremony, it’s highly advisable to engage the services of experienced professionals, like a funeral director and a celebrant, for 3 vital reasons.

(1)  They are Skilled Facilitators

Unlike weddings where only one person’s opinion matters, (i.e. the bride), many family members typically want to have a say when it comes to end-of-life ceremonies.

Since a time of loss is a stressful time for a family, it’s often difficult to arrive at a consensus about what a fitting ceremony looks like.  It may even instigate family in-fighting and reopen old wounds.

Engaging the services of a highly-trained funeral director and celebrant will greatly help diffuse the pressure of the situation.  They’re experts at facilitating productive conversations about how to best design a personalized ceremony that honours your loved one’s values, relationships and legacy.

(2)  They are Experts in Creating “A Fitting Farewell”

An end-of life ceremony should never be a “cookie-cutter” experience.  It should be as unique and special as your loved one was.

Funeral directors and celebrants are able to openly listen to all ideas expressed by the family and curate them.  These ideas can then be incorporated into the funeral ceremony.

A skilled professional will provide guidance about which ideas work best, based on their years of experience. They’ll also offer specific and creative suggestions of their own to help the ceremony design process.

They’re truly committed to ensuring that your loved one’s life is honoured in a meaningful way and that it’s a rich experience for everybody who participated with this final goodbye.

(3)  They Allow You to Focus on Saying Goodbye

If you chose to organize and run the service yourself, you’ll have to deal with the hundred-and-one logistical issues that arise when coordinating an important event.

It’s important to the grieving process to focus all your attention on saying goodbye to your loved one.

DIY ceremonies may save you a few dollars, but aren’t worth it in the long-run because you’ll miss out on the catharsis that comes with being in the moment and focusing on saying goodbye.

Instead, you’ll be distracted by the multitude of tasks that come with ensuring that the service runs smoothly.  You may later deeply regret this choice, and wished that you hired a professional to handle everything instead.

How do I find Caring Professionals in My Area?

We recommend searching Love Lives On’s Business Directory for local funeral homes and celebrants.

Most funeral homes are happy to work in tandem with a celebrant of your choosing.  (But it’s best to ask at the outset to avoid any misunderstanding.)

Some funeral homes even have their own qualified celebrants on staff.  For example, Altmeyer Funeral Homes in the US has a team of skilled celebrants, including Sarah Barickman, to handle your service customization needs.

Want to Learn More About the Work that Funeral Celebrants Do?

Celebrants are passionate about helping families that have lost a loved one.  To learn more about the important work they do, we recommend reading:

A comprehensive guide to all your funeral celebrant questions by Cyndy Neilly-Spence, a Master Life Cycle Celebrant.

How to plan a ceremony with the help of a celebrant.

Memorial Service Venues

At a memorial service, unlike a traditional funeral, the body of your loved one is not present (However, his or her cremated ashes may be.) Without logistical restrictions such as the need for a timely burial and body transportation, you’re able to consider a variety of different places when selecting a venue for your loved one’s memorial service. 

It’s helpful to have a rough idea of how many people you’re inviting to the service when you are selecting a memorial service venue. Having a rough guest count can help you narrow down your venue options and determine whether prospective locations will have enough space to accommodate the size of the event you are planning.

You also want to consider whether audio and visual equipment will be needed. Are you planning a large event? Will it be difficult for people sitting in the back row of the venue to hear without audio equipment? Are you planning to play a tribute video?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you’ll need audio or video equipment, and this may restrict your venue options. Be sure to ask management at any venue that you are considering whether they can accommodate the use of audio equipment (e.g. is there enough space and power outlets). You should also ask if the venue rental costs include the use of audio equipment, or if you have to supply your own.

You might also wish to have a podium for people who are speaking. Make sure to ask the venue about this as well.

If you would like to have food and alcohol at the memorial service or reception, ask if this can there are any restrictions (e.g. if they have a liquor licence). If the memorial service venue option is outdoors, inquire about a backup location for poor weather.

When it comes to a memorial service, commonly used venues include a local church or chapel, a funeral home, a community centre or a banquet hall.

Search our Business Directory for a funeral home in your area to host your loved one’s memorial service.

While these are always viable options for your loved one’s memorial service, we’ve come up with a few less traditional memorial service venue ideas that would make the perfect setting for A Fitting Farewell for an Adventurous Globetrotter.

If your loved one had an all-time favourite country that they travelled to, consider hosting his or her memorial service at a restaurant that specializes in that country’s unique cuisine.

If you’re expecting more than 20 guests to attend the service and are planning to provide a reception meal to follow, you may need to inquire as to whether or not you can rent out the entire restaurant for the evening for your private event.

If the memorial service you’re planning is a more intimate affair, you may instead wish to inquire as to whether you can reserve a select number of tables in a more private part of the restaurant.

One significant advantage of hosting the memorial service at a restaurant is that the venue and memorial service food are all taken care of for you by the restaurant.

Memorial Service Venues: Restaurant

Renting out a restaurant can be expensive. Consider a backyard memorial service at a family member’s house which has a large enough yard to accommodate the event and is well maintained. This option would make a more cost-effective venue option.

With a little imagination and some creativity, you can transform the backyard to make guests feel as though they’re in an Italian Ristorante, a bistro in France, or at a Mexican fiesta.

Memorial Service Venues: Private Gardens

Another excellent venue option for A Fitting Farewell for an Adventurous Globetrotter would be to have the memorial service on the beach. Bring a portable BBQ, decorations and easily transportable patio furniture and have your memorial service by the water. Gazing out at the endless blue where the sky meets the sea, it is impossible not to reflect on how big the world is and just how much there is to see. A sentiment your loved one understood perfectly.

If your loved one was a seafood lover and you’re lucky enough to live by the ocean, select dishes for the reception that are inspired by the sea.

Memorial Service Venues: Beach

Nothing screams travel like taking on the open water. If the town or city that the memorial service will be taking place in is by a lake or on the ocean, see if any local cruise lines will allow you to rent out a party boat for a private event. These types of boat cruises are becoming increasingly popular and are equipped with a dining room and kitchen.

This setting is perfect for an ash scattering ceremony if you wish to disperse your loved one’s ashes as part of the service. Before you head back to the dock, scatter your loved one’s ashes into the sea to let them embark on one final journey.

Memorial Service Venues: Boat Cruise

Cremation Urns

If you’re interested in having your loved one’s ashes present at the memorial service (if he or she has been cremated, you might be interested in buying a cremation urn to display the ashes).

There are many different shapes, colours, and styles of cremation urns. The below image displays some examples of more traditional cremation urns that would be appropriate for any memorial service, regardless of the theme.

From left to right, these memorial service urns are available for purchase from Perfect Memorials, these Ceramic and Marble cremation urns from Stardust Memorials, Haven Caskets, Basic Funerals and One World Memorials.

Memorial Service Urns

However, you might wish to have your loved one’s urn to be representative of the travel theme of the memorial service.  The cremation urns in the image are perfect for A Fitting Farewell for an Adventurous Globetrotter.

From left to right, the first Globe Shaped Urn would make the perfect tribute to your globetrotting loved one.

Have you ever seen a suitcase shaped urn before? This next whimsical Suitcase Urn is a unique and quirky urn that captures the travelling theme.

Another travel inspired cremation urn, this Map Urn combines the aesthetic of a more traditional cremation urn in terms of the materials it’s made out of and its shape, but features a beautiful engraving of a map of the world. A great option if you’re looking for a more traditional looking memorial service urn that also ties into the travel theme.

This next Box-Shaped Map Urn has subtle details that tie into the travel theme. This urn is another example of a more traditional memorial service urn but one that still reflects your loved one’s love of travel.

Finally, this Biodegradable Compass Urn is perfect for an eco-conscious travel enthusiast. This urn is ideal if you plan to bury your loved one’s ashes or disperse them at sea. The urn is water soluble and biodegradable in soil within 5-8 years.

Memorial Service Urns
Search our Business Directory to find a cemetery, crematorium or mausoleum in your area.

Memorial Service Invitations — Printed

As is the case when you’re planning any event, you will need to send out invitations to invite guests to attend your loved one’s memorial service.

You have a few different memorial service invitation options you can consider. You can choose to either send out printed invitations to guests or send them electronically via e-mail or social media. You could also decide to do a mixture of both based on how you think it is best to communicate with each recipient.

For examples, millennials tend to be more tech-savvy than older generations and therefore sending these invitations via e-mail or social media might make the most sense. On the other hand, older generations might not be as comfortable with technology, and therefore, printed invitations might be the way to go.

You also want to consider deliverability. You want to make sure that the people that you are inviting to the memorial service receive the invitation promptly. Adequate time is needed to print and mail physical invitations. Sending electronic invites is effective only if the recipient keeps on top of his or her email and social media accounts.

Some people prefer to receive a printed invitation that they can keep as a keepsake, especially close family to the deceased as well as elderly guests.

You can customize, print and ship invitations for your loved one’s memorial service using an online invitation website. For a complete list of our favourite sites for making memorial service invitations, and for sample wording, check out our Ultimate Funeral Reception Invitation Guide.

In the examples below, we’ve created several sample designs for memorial service invitations using Canva. Canva is one of our favourite design platforms. It’s free, and the easy-to-use drag and drop editor makes designing your invitations a breeze. Choose from hundreds of dazzling, completely customizable invitation templates.

Although not all design elements are free, they offer a large selection of free graphics, illustrations and royalty free images to help you customize your memorial service invitation template.

If you’re customizing the memorial service invitations to fit the travel theme, Canva offers a variety of free travel-inspired elements.

The following designs were created using Canva templates and were edited to reflect the travel theme. All elements used are free on Canva, and you can order your finished product directly from Canva’s platform.

The design and tone of your invitation can help communicate whether the memorial service will be a formal or more casual affair. This information can help your guests decide how to dress and prepare for the occasion.

These first two designs are for a memorial service event where a full meal reception will follow the memorial service. The invitation wording is personal and conversational in tone. The design elements are colourful and use playful fonts. These elements work together to communicate to guests that this memorial service will be a more casual affair.

Memorial Service Invitations

You could include instructions specifying a specific dress code for the memorial service directly on the invitation. For example, for a travel-themed service, you might ask guests to wear a souvenir t-shirt or hat that they picked up on their travels to the memorial service on the invitation.

This next set of designs is for a memorial service that will be followed by a memorial service reception that will serve light refreshments (such as canapes) only.

The wording used in these invitation examples has a more formal tone. The design elements and colour scheme is also more sophisticated than in the previous example, suggesting that the memorial service and reception will be a more semi-formal affair.

Memorial Service Invitations

Finally, this last set of memorial service invitation examples uses wording for a memorial service only (i.e. there will not be a reception gathering of any kind following the service). Again, these invitations convey a more formal tone through design elements, colour scheme and wording.

Memorial Service Invitations

Whether or not the memorial service you’re planning is formal or informal, there are several essential elements that you must include in the memorial service invitation:

  • The first name of the deceased (and maybe the last name too).
  • The date of the memorial service and reception.
  • The venue and address. (Be sure to include this information for both the memorial service venue and the reception venue if the two will take place in different locations.)
  • The start and end times for the memorial service and reception. (Make sure to confirm these details with the venue(s) prior to printing your invitations!)
  • If food or drinks that will be served. This way, guests know what to expect and can plan accordingly.  If you are planning a “pot-luck,” the invitation should specify what you want guests to bring.
  • If the memorial service and reception are taking place at an outdoor location, your invitation should include details about the backup plan in the event of bad weather.
  • The memorial service invitation should also have the name of the person to contact, along with his or her phone number or email address, so that guests know who they should call or e-mail with any questions, or to RSVP. (RSVP’s are critical so that you can get an accurate guest count and make sure you plan for sufficient food and drinks for the memorial service reception.)

Memorial Service Invitations — Via Social Media

If you are tight for time with sending your invitations, online invitations have some advantages over printed invitations. Recipients receive an electronic invite to their inboxes immediately after being sent. This means that you don’t have to worry about print time, postage delays or lost mail delaying delivery.

Electronic invitations also tend to be more cost-effective (and eco-friendly!) than printed invitations as you don’t have to factor in the fees associated with printing and postage.

If you know that the guests you are planning to invite are active online, or the memorial service guest list is small, and you can follow up with a personal phone call to ensure that everyone received their electronic invites, this is the easiest way to go.

You can use Meme-orial to create a unique, personalized social media invitation in 3 simple steps. Instantly share a one-of-a-kind social media post in honour of your loved one that invites friends and family to a memorial service to pay tribute to his or her incredible life. 

Select a photo of your loved one, add a personalized message and select a background that reflects the travel theme of the memorial service.

You can include the details of the event in place of the personalized message (like in the example on the left), or you can include this information in the social media post that accompanies the Meme-orial (like in the example on the right).

Instantly share it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter with the click of a button to let family and friends know about the details for the upcoming service.

Memorial Service Invitations

Legacy Online Memorials

When you’re inviting guests to your loved one’s memorial service, consider inviting them to to contribute to a legacy online memorial for your loved one via a Butterfly Memorial Garden .

The Butterfly Memorial Garden is a stunning and innovative legacy online memorial that allows you to create a lasting tribute for your loved one. Invite guests to contribute to this virtual, private garden by sharing memories and designing their own customized, hand-crafted butterfly to live in the garden. Enjoy watching them fly around the garden’s gorgeous landscapes that change with the seasons a truly unique memorial experience.

This legacy online memorial can be visited by you and your guests whenever you’re missing your loved one. Especially on birthdays, anniversaries and special holidays, this virtual garden can serve as a place of healing that you’ll want to return to, again and again.

You can keep your virtual garden alive for as long as you want to by renewing your subscription plan.

Easily sign up through the secure payment portal and in just a few simple steps, you’ll have a gorgeous private butterfly garden to commemorate the life and legacy of your loved one.

Legacy Online Memorials

Memorial Service Programs

Give yourself ample time to create a memorial service program detailing the order of services for A Fitting Farewell for an Adventurous Globetrotter.

Certain details should be included in a memorial service program. A typical memorial service program includes:

  • The full name of the person being remembered;
  • Your loved one’s date of birth as well as his or her date of death;
  • A photo of your loved one;
  • The time, place, and date of the memorial service;
  • The name of the Officiant who will be presiding over the services;
  • The full name of the person who will be delivering the eulogy. You may choose to include the relationship of this person to the deceased.
  • The titles and names of the artists of songs that will be played or sung during the services; and
  • The titles and appropriate references to any poems or readings that are being shared during the services.

In addition to these essential elements, you might want to include a few additional components in your loved one’s memorial service program. Just keep in mind, the more pages you have in the program, the more expensive it will be.

Some ideas for additional elements you might want to include are in the memorial service program are:

  • A brief biography of your loved one’s life, which may consist of notable achievements, hobbies, a favourite song, poem, book or TV show;
  • Photos of your loved one at different stages or important occasions of his or her life;
  • Your loved one’s favourite hobbies;
  • A complete breakdown of the order of events of the service;
  • List of surviving family members;
  • Names or pictures of his or her treasured pets; and
  • Acknowledgements from the family to the guests of the service.

Here are a few examples of memorial service programs we made using templates offered by FuneralPrints.com:

Memorial Service Programs

Easily download the background image used above in this Greek-inspired memorial service program template here.

Memorial Service Programs

Easily download the background image used above in this Italian memorial service program template here.

Search our Business Directory for more unique funeral ideas to personalize a memorial service.

Memorial Service Flowers

Memorial service flowers have a way of lifting people’s spirits and brightening the ambiance of a space, making these arrangements a beautiful addition to memorial service decor.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with memorial service flower arrangements! They don’t have to be standard sympathy bouquets or standing sprays. There are tons of unique creations you can make out of everyday items that an avid traveller would use to bring a personal touch to A Fitting Farewell for An Adventurous Globetrotter.

Here are some creative examples of stunning DIY floral designs that you can bring to life yourself with a little patience and creativity.

Do you have an old vintage looking suitcase lying around? Why not use this as the vessel to display a memorial service flower arrangement? You can either create a stunning bouquet yourself or purchase a bouquet from your local florist and then simply transfer the arrangement into the suitcase (see image below on the left-hand side).

Instead of using fresh flowers, learn how to make these DIY map paper roses for a unique and cost-effective substitute for real flowers (see image below; top-middle).

Add a travel twist to a basic flower arrangement by making paper airplanes out of old maps to display in the arrangement. Attach the paper airplane to a piece of wooden dowel and insert it into flower arrangements made up of your loved one’s favourite blooms (see image below; top-left).

This next idea also uses maps to transform a regular flower arrangement into a travel-inspired display. Follow this super simple DIY map mason jar tutorial (omitting the lid and label!) to create these mason jar map vases (see image below; bottom-left).

Have any old globes lying around? Transform them into a vase to display your flowers in by following this DIY globe vase tutorial (see image below; bottom-middle).

Did your loved one collect old postcards? This next idea would be a fantastic way to display them at the service while adding to the decor. This simple DIY flower idea requires only some mason jars and vintage postcards. Use a piece of twine to tie a postcard from different places your loved one visited to create the vase.

Memorial Service Flowers

Here are some creative examples of stunning floral designs that might be a little too complicated to achieve on your own but a local florist would be able to help you replicate using their skills and expertise.

Search our Business Directory to find a florist in your area.

Memorial Service Flowers

Learn how you can bring an extra personal touch to your memorial service flowers by understanding the meanings behind 10+ popular funeral flowers. This information will help you choose the right types and colours of flowers to express the desired sentiment.

Memorial Service Music

Memorial service music is another element of a memorial service that can add a deeply personal touch to the service to honour the incredible life and legacy of your globetrotting loved one.

You can select memorial service music to play at different moments throughout your loved one’s memorial service. For example, you may decide to play your loved one’s favourite song when guests are entering the venue. You also might wish to play a particular song as a tribute to him or her at some point during the service.

Here are some memorial service music ideas that would make appropriate memorial service music for an avid traveller:

“Freedom road. Lead me home. I have traveled so long. Now my journey is through. I will come home to you. All my troubles are gone.”

“I never knew the charm of spring, I never met it face to face. I never new my heart could sing, I never missed a warm embrace. Till April in Paris.”

“All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown). And the sky is grey (and the sky is grey). I’ve been for a walk (I’ve been for a walk). On a winter’s day (on a winter’s day). I’d be safe and warm (I’d be safe and warm). If I was in L.A. (if I was in L.A.)”

  • My Way” by Frank Sinatra.

“I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve traveled each and every highway. But more, much more than this, I did it my way.”

“So let the light guide your way, yeah. Hold every memory as you go. And every road you take, will always lead you home, home.”

“If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me. For I must be travelin’ on now, there’s too many places I got to see.”

Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze. Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please. Well it’s all right, doing the best you can. Well it’s all right, as long as you lend a hand.”

“So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me. Hold me like you’ll never let me go. I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, I don’t know when I’ll be back again.”

“Country roads, take me home to the place I belong. West Virginia, mountain mamma, take me home, country roads. All my memories gather round her, miner’s lady, stranger to blue water. Dark and dusty, painted on the sky, misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eyes.”

You can also browse our ultimate list of 200+ of the best funeral songs for funerals, memorial services and celebrations of life.

We also have a list of 50+ of the best funeral gospel songs if your loved one was religious and you wish to incorporate some spiritual elements into the service.

If you know of any music that relates to the travel theme that would make A Fitting Farewell for an Adventurous Globetrotter that we should add to this list, please share them with us in the comments below!

Memorial Service Songs

Having someone perform a song live at your loved one’s memorial service is a beautiful way to add intimacy to a memorial service.

Do you know someone with a beautiful voice or who plays an instrument? You might consider asking whether they would be willing to perform a song during your loved one’s memorial service.

The song you select to have performed live should have some significance. For example, your loved one’s favourite song, or song that reminds you of your loved one or captures his or her personality or passions would make suitable choices for this performance.

If you have someone who you would like to perform a song at your loved one’s memorial service, you can browse our list of 200+ of the best funeral songs or 50+ of the best funeral gospel songs for ideas.

You can also choose to involve all your guests in singing a song together in honour of your loved one. Make sure you print the lyrics to the song in the memorial service program and have all the guests sing along.

Memorial Service Readings

Memorial service readings are common in a memorial service as a way to honour your loved one and to celebrate his or her beautiful life. Focus on selecting readings that you feel reflects the person you are honouring, his or her values, or how he or she lived their life.

You might want to include a passage from the bible if your loved one was a person of faith. Consider his or her favourite scripture or a popular bible verse for funerals as a reading to include in the memorial service.

If your loved one was not religious, it’s best to keep the memorial service readings secular. These readings can be anything from excerpts from your loved one’s favourite novel, a short story, or a favourite quote that reflects his or her personality, values or passions.

If you’re looking for help crafting a ceremony, you might be interested in hiring the help of a funeral celebrant who specializes in crafting and officiating highly personalized services. They pay careful attention to customizing the ceremony experience through the selection of poetry, readings, music and ritual.

Search our Business Directory for a celebrant in your area to help you create a personalized memorial service in honour of your loved one.

Memorial Service Readings for Children

Memorial service readings act as an excellent opportunity to give children that were particularly important to your loved one (such as grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc.) a role in the memorial service. The following memorial service readings are ideas that might be suitable for children and teens to read.

This first reading is a quote by author Terry Pratchett that beautifully articulates how travel can give us a new sense of perspective. It changes the way we see our life’s journey — a perfect memorial service reading for someone who understood and lived by this beautiful sentiment.

Why Do You Go Away?

By Terry Pratchett

Why do you go away? So that you can come back.
So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours.
And the people there see you differently, too.
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.


This next short reading reminds us that there can be no love and happiness in life without grief and sadness in death. However, we can take comfort in the idea that there is something else beyond death and we will meet our loved ones there again one day.

There is No Night Without a Dawning

By Helen Steiner Rice

No winter without a spring
And beyond the dark horizon
Our hearts will once more sing…
For those who leave us for a while
Have only gone away
Out of a restless, careworn world
Into a brighter day


This next touching memorial service reading was written from the voice of the deceased person as if your loved one is sending a message about how they want people to remember them now that they are gone.

After Glow

By an Unknown Author

I’d like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the sun
of happy memories
that I leave when life is done


Memorial Service Readings for Adults

This memorial service reading by the late Anthony Bourdain expresses the truthful sentiment that travel, like life, isn’t always easy. It takes a toll on you. But the journey changes you and is worth every hardship. Travel helps you grow.

The Journey

By Anthony Bourdain

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.
The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.
You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”


Next, this memorial service reading talks about the significance of having a bucket list in life. It serves as a reminder that our time on Earth is limited, so we need to make the most out of every day that we have. The perfect reading for a loved one who truly lived his or her life to the absolute fullest, crossing items off his or her bucket list every chance they had.

Bucket List

By Annette White

“The very words “bucket list” can stir up some pretty heavy-duty fears.
It can be a reminder of our own mortality, and death is typically something we would rather not think about.
But, the reminder that our time is limited is actually one of the best gifts we can be given.
It is one that can guide us to achieve what is most important to us before it is too late.”


This memorial service reading is perfect for an adventurous globetrotter who practiced the art of adventure every day by blazing his or her own path, never settling for routine and always on the hunt for the next great adventure.

Break the Chain of Routine

By Wilfred Peterson

“A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, travelling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints.”


This memorial service reading is short and sweet and speaks of living life with the intention of getting the absolute most out of it.

What A Ride

By Hunter S. Thompson

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and
well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow! What a Ride!”


Another memorial service reading that centres on the idea that living life fully, this emphasizes the importance of being open to new experiences.

Passion for Adventure

By Christopher McCandless

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences,
and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon,
for each day to have a new and different sun.”


This beautiful quote from the late Steve Jobs reminds us to live a life following our heart and your intuition. A brilliant memorial service reading to honour someone who was apologetically themselves and bravely followed their heart, wherever it led them.

Our Time Is Limited

By Steve Jobs

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”


This gorgeous reading leaves guests with the message that as long as you think of your loved one, they will never truly be gone. For as long as someone thinks of you, you will live on.

The lines, “I cannot be seen, but I can be heard. So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea — remember me.” particularly tie into the travel theme.

Remember Me

By Margaret Mead

Remember Me: To the living, I am gone. To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated, But to the happy, I am at peace, And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard. So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea — remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty — remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity — remember me. Remember me in your heart, your thoughts,
your memories of the times we loved, the times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.


Memorial Service Poems

Like memorial service readings, memorial service poems are another way that you can personalize A Fitting Farewell for an Adventurous Globetrotter.

When searching for the perfect poetry to include in your loved one’s service, think about your loved one’s life and special qualities that you want to highlight in the memorial service. Try to select poems that reflect these sentiments.

You should also consider how guests will be feeling during the memorial service, and this will likely depend on when the memorial service is taking place and how long it has been since your loved one’s passing.

Will feelings of grief and loss still feel very fresh? In this case, you might want to select poetry that is comforting or reflects on the emotions of grief and loss.

Or, will people have had a bit more time to process their grief? If the memorial service is taking place months after your loved one’s passing, guests might feel that they are now in a place where they can focus on celebrating the beautiful life your loved one lived.

The next two sections feature our favourite travel-themed memorial service poems for A Fitting Farewell for An Adventurous Globetrotter. 

Have any travel-inspired poems to add? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll be sure to add it to the collection!

Memorial Service Poems for Children

This memorial service poem is very simple but is a popular choice because it perfectly captures the idea that death is not the end but the beginning of our soul’s next journey. Under 20 words, this poem would be simple enough for a child to recite at the memorial service.

This memorial service poem is suitable to read in honour of someone who lived life always looking for the next adventure.

Death is a Journey

By Sri Chinmoy

Death is at once
The end of the body’s
Old journey
And the beginning of the soul’s
New journey.


This next poem is an excerpt from “No Matter What” by Debi Gliori, which is a beautiful short children’s story that touches on the themes of everlasting love and grief. A fitting choice for a memorial service poem to comfort guests that are grieving.

An Excerpt from No Matter What

“Does love wear out?” said Small, “does it break or bend? Can you fix it, stick it, does it mend?”

“Oh help,” said Large “I’m not that clever. I just know I’ll love you forever”.

Small said: “But what about when you’re dead and gone – would you love me then, does love go on?”

Large held Small snug as they looked out at the night, at the moon in the dark and the stars shining bright.

“Small, look at the stars – how they shine and glow. Yet some of those stars died a long time ago.
Still, they shine in the evening skies… love, like starlight, never dies”.

Memorial Service Poems for Adults

This beautiful memorial service poem uses beautiful imagery to describe a journey and concludes with the line, “What better place to rest than this.” This line can be interpreted as a weary traveller arriving at his or her final resting place.

Travelling Again

By Du Fu
(This poem can be modified for gender)

I remember the temple, this route I’ve travelled before,
I recall the bridge as I cross it again.
It seems the hills and rivers have been waiting,
The flowers and willows all are selfless now.
The field is sleek, and vivid, thin mist shines,
On soft sand, the sunlight’s colour shows it’s late.
All the traveller’s sorrow fades away,
What better place to rest than this?


The theme of this next sweet memorial service poem is that even though the person we love is gone, the memories and the love that we have for that person keeps them alive in our hearts until we meet them again one day.

The Road Less Traveled

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.


This next poem describes the life of a traveller. It speaks of his or her never-ending quest for new adventures and seeing all the wonders that the world has to offer.

This memorial service poem would make a fitting tribute to honour a loved one who spent his or her life “beginning no day where we have ended another.”

The Farewell (from The Prophet)

By Khalil Gibran

We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way,
begin no day where we have ended
another day; and no sunrise finds us where
sunset left us.
Even while the earth sleeps we travel.
We are the seeds of the tenacious plant,
and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of
heart that we are given to the wind and are


This next comforting memorial service poem by Lyman Hancock is written in the voice of a person who has passed away. The message reminds those that are left behind that although his or her journey on Earth has come to an end, take comfort in the beautiful memories of his or her life and forget all the hardships they endured.

If your loved one suffered from an illness before his or her passing, this would be a comforting poem for guests who may remember the pain they endured.

When I’m Gone

By Mrs. Lyman Hancock

When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile

Forget unkind words I have spoken
Remember some good I have done
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember I’ve had loads of fun

Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way
Remember I have fought some hard battles
And won, ere the close of the day

Then forget to grieve for my going
I would not have you sad for a day
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay

And come in the shade of evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best.


This next memorial service poem reminds us that our life on Earth is just a “stopping place” on our journey to our final destination. We all have different paths that lead us there during our time on Earth, but we will all be reunited one day in eternity. A beautiful poem to comfort those mourning the loss of someone they love.

Life is But a Stopping Place

Author Unknown

Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what’s to be,
A resting place along the road,
to sweet eternity.

We all have different journeys.
Different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
but never meant to stay…

Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know.
For some, the journey’s quicker,
For some the journey’s slow.

And when the journey finally ends,
We’ll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord.


You can also browse our extensive collection of memorial service poems for more memorial service poetry ideas:

Memorial Service Decorations

There are so many creative and elegant travel-inspired decoration ideas that you can use to decorate the memorial service venue.

In this next sections, we’ve curated our absolute favourite ideas for travel-themed memorial service decorations for  A Fitting Farewell For An Adventurous Globetrotter.

Memorial Service Decorations

This first DIY decor idea is a unique riff on a traditional string of garland that is incredibly simple to replicate (see image above; top-left). Follow this polka dot garland tutorial but instead of using regular construction paper (as they use in the tutorial), use old world maps or pages from an old atlas.

Don’t you love a good decoration idea that requires no manual labour or special trips to the craft store? Globes make the easiest, yet one of the most elegant-looking, decorations to add to a travel-themed memorial service. Spread various globes of different colours and sizes around the memorial service venue to emphasize the travel theme.

You can accent them by grouping them alongside flower arrangements or other travel-inspired nick-knacks such as a model airplane, old passports or plane ticket stubs (see image above on the right-hand side). You can find a variety of different globes to order on Amazon.

Another easy decoration idea for A Fitting Farewell for an Adventurous Globetrotter transforms regular maps of the world into paper airplanes. These airplanes can be attached to dowels and displayed in plants, flower arrangements, or can be taped to the walls or displayed on tables around the memorial service venue.

Not sure how to make paper airplanes? Watch this super easy tutorial (this would be a fantastic activity to get the kids involved!).

Another clever use for a regular map would be to use them to decorate the exterior of candles. Cut rectangles out of the map large enough to wrap around the middle of the candle. You can even use a label to add “In Memory of [Your Loved One’s Name]” or a quote about life and travelling to display on the candle.

This heart-shaped map garland is a little more complicated to make than the first garland example, but this helpful map heart garland tutorial makes it easy and the result is so worth it!

Here are a few more decoration ideas to inspire your travel-themed service.

Memorial Service Decorations

Use vintage suitcases and items that reflect travel such as old cameras, sunglasses, globes, airplanes and maps to create displays around the venue (see images above on the top-left, bottom-left, and bottom-middle).

You can also paint over the map on a globe with designs and quotes about travel and life to create a unique and personalized decoration (see image above on the top-right).

Here are a few examples of quote ideas to use on the globe:

  • “Live your life by a compass, not a clock.” – Stephen Covey
  • “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous
  • “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
  • “Life is short, and the world is wide.”
  • “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
  • “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller
  • “Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted.”
  • “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac
  • “Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul.” – Jamie Lynn Beatty
  • “To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Andersen
  • “Don’t listen to what they say. Go see.”
  • “Go, fly, roam, travel, voyage, explore, journey, discover, adventure.”

Metallic paint on a black canvas always looks so sharp and would make the perfect decoration to display at the memorial service. This black and gold world map is easy to recreate with just a stencil, a gold paint pen and black canvas. You can follow this video DIY Wall Map Tutorial to make your own or purchase one already made on Etsy.

Here are three final ideas for some memorial service decoration ideas that use candles that also add some intimate lighting to the memorial service.

Memorial Service Decorations

This first example uses candles wrapped in vintage maps (see image above on the left-hand side). You can make this DIY Decoupaged Candles With Antique Maps by following this tutorial.

Add unique and elegant lighting to your memorial service event with miniature map luminaires like these from Etsy. These luminaires are made out of atlas pages and would make a whimsical addition to the decor for a Fitting Farewell For An Adventurous Globetrotter.

Finally, a lantern provides light and is a symbol of guidance, leading the way forward and pushing aside the surrounding darkness, making these lanterns appropriate additions to the decor(see image above on the right-hand side).

You only need some lanterns, flameless candles and cordless twinkle lights to create this stunning display.

Memorial Service Guest Book

Memorial service guest books are popular additions to a memorial service. They allow guests to express how much the person you are remembering meant to them personally. The family can then read each person’s entry and take comfort in seeing just how many people’s lives their loved one touched.

You can always choose to have a traditional memorial service guest book. These physical guest books can be purchased online and would be appropriate for A Fitting Farewell for an Adventurous Globetrotter.

Many guest books that you can order online give you the option to customize the front cover with a photo of your loved one and his or her name.

Here are a few examples of memorial service guest books that you can order online today (in order from top left to bottom right) at Funeral Prints, Amazon, and Zazzle and Zazzle.

Memorial Service Guest Book

Even though the word “book” is in the name, you’re not limited to a physical book for your memorial service guest book. It’s becoming more and more popular to have guests sign some other object in place of a physical book.

For example, you can consider using a large globe as the guest book for your loved one’s memorial service. A globe is a symbol of travel and adventure. It makes you think about just how big the world is and all of the different places to see.

Have guests leave their heartfelt messages on a globe instead of inside a traditional guest book (see image below; top-left). Include a sign that says something like “It means the world that you’re here, please sign the globe in memory of [Your Loved One’s Name].”

Another idea would be to have guests sign the pages of an old atlas. You can mark the pages of your loved one’s favourite travel destinations and have guests sign those maps specifically (see image below; top-middle).

Another unique guest book idea would be to have guests to the memorial service sign vintage postcards sharing special memories about the deceased. You can use an old vintage suitcase or mailbox as the vessel for guests to fill with signed postcards. If your loved one had an old suitcase they always used during their travels, use this as the box to collect the postcards (see image below; top-right).

After the service, you can collect these postcards and display them in a scrapbook.

Lastly, this memorial service guest book idea is perfect if your loved one made friends all around the world throughout his or her travels, and some have made the trip to attend the memorial service. Lay out a map of the world and have guests sign pieces of paper attached to a pin that they can then stick into the map where they travelled from (see image below; bottom-right).

Memorial Service Guest Book

Whether you opt for a traditional or non-traditional guest book, it is something you want to consider including in your loved one’s memorial service.

Memorial Service Boards

Personalized memory boards are a spectacular way to both honour your loved one’s life and personalize his or her service.

It provides guests with a more in-depth understanding of your loved one’s unique and eventful life and reminds them of special moments and treasured memories.

You can be as traditional or creative as you wish when crafting your loved one’s memory board. You can stick to a conventional poster board (like the example below in the bottom-right) or opt for a more dynamic design, such as a photo clothesline or hanging photo display (like the examples below in the top-left, top-right, and bottom-left).

Or, you could even decorate an item that fits into the travel theme (like an open suitcase) by hanging photos across the top of the suitcase and filling the base with photos and other treasured mementos that tell your loved one’s life story and reflect his or her passion for travel (like in the example below in the bottom-centre).

Memorial Service Boards

Whatever style you decide to follow is entirely up to you. However, if you are not the most confident when it comes to DIY crafts, using traditional poster board is the easiest option.

Regardless of style, the very first thing you need to do is select photos that you want to display on your memorial service board.

The whole idea behind creating a memorial service board is to illustrate your loved one’s life’s journey. Therefore you want to select photos from various significant life stages, starting with his or her childhood. The memorial service board should also highlight significant life events such as notable trips, milestone birthdays, weddings, and professional achievements.

You’ll learn that family members and friends will be happy to assist you with this project. Recruiting family and friends to help you create the memorial service board will allow you to present a more well-rounded representation of your loved one’s life.

Consider making an event of this project by inviting family members, friends, and other close loved ones to help you select images and put the board together. Let them know that you are planning A Fitting Farewell for An Adventurous Globetrotter around your loved one’s love of travel so that they can be on the lookout for photos they have of your loved one that ties into the travel theme. This activity can also be an incredibly cathartic exercise for everyone involved.

In addition to the board and photos, you’ll need a few additional craft supplies to make your memorial service board look beautiful.

To give guests some context, make sure to label each photo with the date (or at least the year) in which it was taken or when the significant event took place. If you’re unsure about the exact date, a rough estimate that says something like “circa 1965” or the approximate age of your loved one would suffice.

Keep an eye out for decorative labels that tie into the travel theme (such as names of the cities your loved one travelled to, airplanes, boats, maps, compass, etc.) at your local craft store. If you can’t find any, you can always use blank decorative adhesive labels.

You can also add additional decorations like travel-themed stickers, glitter, coloured paper, or other meaningful personal mementos (e.g. old passports, travel ticket stubs, important certificates, etc.) that belonged to your loved one to decorate the memorial service board.

If you’re making the memorial service board out of poster board, order the largest board possible. It’s better to have too much room than too little. We recommend boards that are 48-by-36-inch or larger. You can order it online from Amazon or at a local art store.

You can use other types of boards such as easel-pad sheets, cork boards, dry-erase boards, foam display, corrugated cardboard, magnetic boards, or even pieces of plywood cut to size.

If you want to create a framed clothesline board, you’ll need a photo frame, hemp string, small clothespins (you can purchase these at Amazon or a local craft store), glue and scissors. It might be challenging to find one photo frame large enough to display all the photos you want to so you can purchase multiple frames to create a display with various frames. Learn how to make your own DIY clothesline photo frame here.

Typically, this memory board would sit on a memorial service table alongside other items that were significant to your loved one. You might include things like old maps, compasses, passports, model planes, globes and framed photos from your loved one’s travels on the memorial service table as well.

Memorial Service Posters

You might also want to display a large sized photo of your loved one who everyone is gathered to honour.  Many venues have easels to lend you for your memorial event, or you can purchase one on Amazon.

Here are a few examples of customized memorial service posters that use free travel related stock photos as background. You can download these royalty free images to use in your design from Pixabay. From left to right: Japanese Temple Background, Cinque Terre Background and Eiffel Tower Background.

Memorial Service Posters
Find more unique funeral ideas to personalize a loved one’s memorial service by Searching our Business Directory.

Memorial Service Table Decorations

When you are taking inspiration from travelling and the unique cultures of different countries around the world, there are so many potential memorial service table decoration ideas that can help bring your travel theme to life.

If you’re planning on hosting a sit-down meal for your guests, you will likely have either one big table or several smaller tables in need of some centrepieces.

You can create memorial service table decorations by using a variety of different travel-inspired items such as maps, paper airplanes, globes, books, compasses and flowers to create beautiful centrepieces for the table. Here are some of our favourite ideas to inspire memorial service table decorations for A Fitting Farewell for An Adventurous Globetrotter:

Memorial Service Table Decorations

Did your loved one have an all-time favourite place that he or she travelled to? Consider using this travel destination as inspiration for memorial service table decorations. If the memorial service has several smaller tables, consider decorating each table to represent a different country that your loved one visited.

Here are some ideas to decorate memorial service tables in ways that reflect different countries from around the world.

For example, you can use chopsticks, lanterns, mandarin oranges and vibrant red and gold details can be used to create a Chinese inspired table (see image below, top-left). Or, you could also use cherry blossom branches, chopsticks, Japanese takeout containers, a Japanese tea set or origami napkins to tie the table into a Japanese theme (see examples below, top-middle and top-right).

A Mexican-inspired table can be achieved by using a vibrant and colourful Mexican table runner accented with colourful glassware, vases, and flowers, cactus and pottery (see image below, bottom-left). Or, an Indian inspired table can combine vibrant colours and lots of gold with symbols of India such as lotus flowers (national flower), peacock feathers (national bird), Indian elephants (national heritage animal), or a Buddha figurine (see example below, bottom middle).

France would be an easy table to decorate. Include symbols of France such as a mini replica of the Eiffel Tower (see image below, bottom-right) and linens in red, white and blue to reflect the flag of France.

Pinterest is a fantastic place to find even more inspiration for memorial service table decorations. Try searching for “[country of choice] table decorations,” and you are sure to yield tons of beautiful ideas.

Memorial Service Table Decorations

Memorial Service Food

When considering which type of memorial service food to serve at your loved one’s service, there are a couple of things to consider.

For starters, you want to consider whether you are hosting a large number of people or a more intimate gathering. Buffet-style meals are an excellent option if you are hosting a larger event. They are easy to prepare and end up being more cost-effective and easier to prepare than finger foods.

You could also consider hiring a caterer for the memorial service meal. If you opted not to have your loved one’s memorial service reception at his or her favourite restaurant, you could always check to see if they offer catering services.

Using a caterer to provide the food for a funeral reception is becoming increasingly more popular. Not only will they take care of all your food needs but they can also offer you some insight into what dishes might be appropriate for your event and the quantities you will need to feed your guests.

If you’re having a more intimate event, it might make more sense to take care of your food needs yourself or outsource some of it onto guests attending by making it a potlatch reception.

We’ve separated this section by different types of food options from one bite canapes to sit down family style meals that you might wish to whip up for your travel-themed memorial service.

Not to worry, although they look anything but simple, these recipes are all super easy so even if you don’t have the best culinary skills you’ll have no problem putting together these delicious dishes.


If you are having a memorial service reception that serves light refreshments only, or wish to have some appetizers available before your sit down dinner, these stylish and delicious one bite canapés are the perfect addition to your memorial service food menu.

A canape is a fancy way of saying a type of hors d’œuvre made from decorative food that often consists of a base (usually a small piece of bread, puff pastry, or a cracker) topped with some savoury food, and often eaten in one bite.

This Malaysian Chicken Satay Recipe is super simple yet packed with flavour. Perfectly marinated in exotic spices, charred and served with peanut sauce. Prepare and marinate overnight the night before the memorial service and grill 2-3 minutes per side and serve.

You can never go wrong with a good empanada. These Traditional Argentinian Empanadas are baked and filled with beef, onions, paprika, hot pepper powder, cumin, oregano, hard-boiled egg and olives. Homemade empanadas take more time to make as you have to prepare the dough and the filling (1.5 hours). However, you can make them ahead of time and freeze them until you’re ready to bake them. Alternatively, you can save time by purchasing pre-made empanada dough discs from the grocery store or buy pre-made frozen empanadas.

These delicious Greek Cucumber Rolls are the perfect mix of fresh and creamy. Nothing beats the Greek flavours of feta, kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes inside refreshing cucumbers. Sure to be a crowd pleaser and takes only 20 minutes to whip up!

Now onto Mexico with this indulgent Mexican Queso Fundido canapé the perfect balance of flavours. Melted cheese and spicy chorizo sausage served with blue corn chips. Prep the dish ahead of time and bake for 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve.

Next up is yet another super simple, yet impressive looking Italian Bruschetta with rosemary, roasted tomatoes, ricotta and prosciutto. An Italian staple, this combination of crusty bread, creamy ricotta, salty prosciutto and flavourful roasted tomatoes is the perfect mix of textures and flavours. This recipe is sure to transport your guests to the rolling hills of Tuscany. Prep the tomatoes and slice your bread the day before the memorial service to save on time (make sure to store your bread in a ziplock bag to ensure it doesn’t dry out. Then toast the crusty bread and top with all the ingredients and these tasty bites are ready to serve.

Gravlax – Swedish Cured Salmon Bites. Authentic Swedish Gravalax requires you to cure your own salmon however you can simply use store-bought smoked salmon to save time, while still creating a nod to this Nordic classic. Simply top a cracker of your choice with dill, cream cheese mixture and top with a slice of smoked or cured salmon. Super simple and delicious.

Indian Pakoras would be the perfect addition to your tastes of the world memorial service food, especially if your loved one was a fan of exotic spices and flavours. Curry, turmeric, coriander and green chilli are sure to please the taste buds! Ready to eat in just 30 minutes.

Memorial Service Food: Canapes

Dessert Canapes

You might wish to also include a selection of sweet canapes for dessert for your guests (when is dessert not a good idea?)

Take your guests on a trip to England with this cupcake riff on the English classic sticky toffee pudding with these Sticky Toffee Pudding Cupcakes. Deliciously squidgy, with a deep and comforting flavour, these cupcakes take an hour to make & ice and can be made the day before the memorial service and stored in the fridge.

A shattering-crisp shell gives way to a creamy cheese filling in this Sicilian classic, whose roots reach deep into the island’s diverse culinary history. We all know what I’m talking about! The Sicilian Cannoli. These delicious Italian pastries can be difficult (and time-consuming) to make. So picking up a couple dozen cannolis at a local bakery might be the best option.

Baklava. Need I say more? This middle-eastern dessert is slightly crispy, flaky and has just the right amount of nuttiness. Baklava too takes some time and patience to make. Luckily, you can purchase baklava already made at most bakeries and grocery stores so if you’re short on time; we’d definitely recommend going this route!

Onto South America with this next dessert recipe. Alfajores are soft, delicate cookies from South America made, surprisingly, with cornstarch. The cornstarch gives the dough a smooth, satiny texture that makes it a dream to work with and produces a tender, crumbly cookie that is then filled with deliciously sweet dulce de leche. These cookies take 25 active minutes to make (plus 1 hour chill time and 12-15 minutes cooking time) and can be baked and filled a few days before the memorial service.

These Traditional Chinese Almond Cookies symbolize coins and good fortune and are similar to a shortbread cookie but less flaky and more crunchy and take just 27 minutes to whip up, baking and all.

Nothing transports you to a Parisian cafe quite like a French Maccaron. Unless you’ve made them from scratch numerous times before, we suggest purchasing a couple dozen from a local bakery rather than make them yourself as they can be very temperamental! They come in all sorts of colours and flavours and are sure to add an elegant touch to your dessert canapes.

Finally, these melt-in-your-mouth Indian Gulab Jamun are a famous Indian sweet made with milk solids and sugar. The word Gulab means rose and Jamun means berry and these bites are berry sized balls dipped in rose flavoured syrup. They take 30 minutes to make.

Memorial Service Food: Dessert Canapes

Sit Down Meal

Depending on the number of guests that will be attending your loved one’s memorial service reception, there are a few meal styles that you can consider.

If you are hosting the memorial service reception at a restaurant that is providing the food for your sit down meal or buffet, then all the heavy lifting is taken care of for you. Just make sure that you call the venue in advance of the memorial service date to confirm the number of guests who will be attending your memorial service reception dinner so they can adequately prepare.

It might also be a good idea to include a note on your memorial service invitation to advise guests with any food allergies or dietary restrictions to let you know when they RSVP. This way you can let the restaurant know in advance so they can prepare something to accommodate.

If you’re serving a more intimate group (less than 20 people), you may decide that you want to take care of the food for the reception meal yourself.

If this is the case, we would suggest considering serving your memorial service reception meal “family style.” Family-style means creating large dishes where everyone takes a portion from the main dish (similar to a buffet but the spread is on the table you are eating on).

While you may be tempted to make a challenging meal, keep in mind that you will want to be present and able to participate in this special event. Making an assortment of simple dishes that involve little supervision, or that you can prepare ahead of time and finish cooking just before serving dinner, is key to this.

If you want to personalize the meal even further, try to select dishes from your loved one’s favourite type of cuisine (for example Mexican, Italian, Greek or Japanese) or serve a collection of your loved one’s most famous recipes.

You want to make sure that you include a variety of dishes such as the main dish, some side dishes and some salads.

If you’re stumped for ideas, here are some family-style dishes that are easy to prepare can be prepped ahead of time and are sure to please the palette. Be sure to adjust the recipe to accommodate the number of guests you’re expecting!

Main Dishes

Pizza is an Italian classic and is the perfect family style main dish for a memorial service. You can choose to make your own pizzas from scratch or order them from your favourite Italian restaurant. This classic Margherita Pizza recipe is simple and delicious and you can use your go-to quick pizza dough recipe.

From France, we have Coq Au Vin. This one-pot dish can be cooked in advance and reheated when you’re ready to serve your guests. This dish consists of flavourful chicken braised in wine and vegetables served with crusty bread. This comforting dish tastes incredible but requires little hands-on time — the perfect main dish for a memorial service for someone who was passionate about French cuisine.

This easy Spanish Seafood Paella recipe takes 20 minutes to prep and 20 minutes in the oven and is the perfect family style main dish. This famous Spanish dish has two main components that make it a true paella: Spanish saffron and Calasparra rice (however, you can substitute regular rice if you can’t find Calaspara).

Memorial Service Food: Main Dishes

Are you looking for a main dish to please both vegetarians and meat eaters alike? These Israeli Falafel may be your answer. Don’t be alarmed by the 24 hour prep time – that includes the time it takes to soak the chickpeas (overnight). You can also choose to buy pre-made falafel from the grocery store or use canned chickpeas to save on time. Or, consider ordering some fresh from your favourite falafel restaurant.

This Slow Cooker Mexican Pork Carnitas recipe is the perfect low-maintenance recipe to serve a crowd. Let your crockpot do all the heavy lifting. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and let it do its thing for 4-8 hours. Once it’s done, serve with warmed corn tortillas and whatever other toppings you wish. Make sure to adjust the recipe for the number of guests you’re expecting so you have enough carnitas to feed your crowd.

Crock Pot Thai Chicken Curry. This crockpot curry is the most straightforward and most flavourful curry recipe to serve a crowd. You can easily substitute shrimp instead of chicken if you wish. This dish is the perfect family style meal that is quick and easy while packed with flavour.

Memorial Service Food: Main Dishes

Was your loved one a fan of Asian cuisine? Why not try this super easy and quick Chicken Chow Mein. Ready in just 20 minutes, this recipe can easily be adjusted based on the number of guests you’re feeding.

No this is not lasagna! Greek Moussaka is the national dish of Greece and is traditionally composed layers of ground lamb, potatoes and eggplant, topped with a rich Bechamel sauce and baked until golden brown. The perfect family-style dish to serve a crowd.

Lastly, this Pepper Steak Stir Fry combines fresh ginger and a trio of bell peppers to pack loads of flavour and colour into this main dish. This dish takes just 10 minutes to cook. Prep your meat and veggies ahead of time!

Memorial Service Food: Main Dishes

Side Dishes

These Tuscan-Style Roasted Carrots take just 5 minutes to prep and 45 minutes to cook. Prep ahead of time and stick them in the oven to roast for 45 minutes before dinner. Garlic, lemon and balsamic vinegar marry together beautifully in this roasted vegetable dish.

This delicious vegetarian Thai Tom Yum Soup is an explosion of Thai flavours of lemongrass, coconut, and chilis and is sure to be a hit to accompany your memorial service meal.

This vegetable side dish called Ratatouille is a French classic. It takes 20 minutes to prep the veggies and then pop it in the oven for an hour to roast. Insanely simple ingredients and a ridiculously delicious side dish that puts a garden’s bounty at centre stage. You can go for an even lower maintenance version of this dish with this Crock Pot Ratatouille recipe.

Memorial Service Food: Side Dishes


This Fattoush Salad With Mint Dressing is a Lebanese staple, bursting with fresh produce, lettuce and mint. It’s a refreshing, crisp and satisfying salad that is garnished with crispy pita. The perfect light and bright salad.

This Mediterranean-Style Orzo Salad recipe makes it the ideal make-ahead dish as it is served cold and the longer the orzo has to marinade in the vinaigrette, the better it will taste! Orzo is a type of Italian pasta that resembles the shape of rice. But, unlike rice, it cooks quickly! We recommend making this dish the day before the memorial service meal to save you time on the day-of and allow for the orzo to absorb all that delicious vinaigrette.

This 3o minute Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing is super easy and quick to put together! Crisp and satisfying, this crunchy Thai salad tossed in a creamy peanut dressing is sure to please the palette.

This Bean and Corn Salad is bursting with the flavours of Mexico. Smoky chipotle peppers, sweet corn and creamy avocado, is the perfect symphony of sweet, spicy and creamy. You can prepare this dish the night before (except for the avocado) and really let the chipotle vinaigrette marinate the corn, bean and vegetable mixture.

Memorial Service Food: Salads

Memorial Service Gifts

It’s becoming more and more common to offer take-home memorial services gifts at a loved one’s service. It’s a way of expressing your heartfelt gratitude for the love, support and contributions to the service that you received (e.g. food and flowers). Although this is common, it is not an expectation. A heartfelt thank you card would also be appropriate here. You can also choose to only give gifts to a select number of guests or all guests attending the service.

Following the travel theme, these unique and meaningful memorial service gift ideas would make A Fitting Farwell for an Adventurous Globetrotter.

Nothing symbolizes travel like a compass. These miniature solid brass compasses from Etsy are the perfect memorial service gift for a travel-themed memorial service (see image below on the left-hand side). You can personalize this gift even further by tying a ribbon in your loved one’s favourite colour around the compass with a note that says “In Memory of [Loved One’s Name].”

Our next idea is to fill these world map gift boxes with a party favour food item of your choice (see image below, second from the left). Did your loved one have a favourite type of candy? Fill your map gift boxes with these candies and attach a note that says “In Memory of [Loved One’s Name]” on it. You could also fill it with different types of candy from different countries around the world.

A personalized luggage tag or passport cover would also be an appropriate memorial service gift for guests attending your loved one’s memorial service (see image below, second from the right). You can have the tags personalized with your loved one’s initials, favourite travel quote or with a map of the world design. Whenever your guests travel, this tag will remind them of your loved one and his or her passion for travel.Memorial Service Gifts

Memorial Service Tribute Videos

Have you considered creating a tribute video in your loved one’s memorial service? A tribute video is a great way to create a keepsake that you will cherish for years to come.

If you’re not up to the task of putting this video together yourself, an innovative company called SpeechBooth makes capturing precious memories at your loved one’s memorial service easy. Order a kit online today, and SpeechBooth will ship a complete video recording kit to anywhere in the USA and Canada.  You’ll receive everything you need to capture anecdotes and loving words about your loved one at the memorial service.

The video recording kit is easy to use and sets up in minutes.  After your loved one’s memorial service, send SpeechBooth your video footage, and they will edit it into a professional video for you.  A treasured keepsake that you and other guests can enjoy and share for years to come.

Like this idea? Search our Business Directory to find more unique funeral ideas.

Tribute Video

More Memorial Service Ideas

Did you know that we have other themed memorial service ideas? Visit our library for “A Fitting Farewell™”.

We also have a comprehensive library of articles that will help you plan a memorable memorial service to celebrate the life of your loved one in unique ways.

Here are some other popular posts on our website to help you with the planning process:

It Helps to Share…

If you’re planning a memorial service, please ask your funeral director if he or she is familiar with Love Lives On’s exclusiveA Fitting Farewell” series.

Let him or her know that you’d like to recreate our travel-themed memorial service, aptly named: A Fitting Farewell for An Adventurous Globetrotter.

Were you inspired by our travel-themed memorial service ideas? Do you have new ideas to add? Please let us know in the comments box below!  We always love hearing from our readers.

Consider also following Love Lives On on Facebook or subscribe to our YouTube channel for more inspiring ideas to help you celebrate your loved one’s incredible life and legacy.