10 Memorable Funeral Venues
When people think of funerals, most imagine a funeral home or a church as the setting for the ceremony. These are perfectly acceptable venues, but as folks turn towards memorial services (instead of traditional funerals), families may be searching for alternative locations to host their services. Hosting a memorial service or a funeral at a venue other than a funeral home or church can help personalize the service to the person who passed away. It can also lighten the mood if you’re opting for a celebration of life instead of a traditional funeral. Here are some venues you may want to consider when planning a funeral or memorial service.
If your loved one was a part of a sports team, loved sports, or had a favorite stadium where they used to enjoy their favorite games, a sports stadium is an excellent venue for a funeral or memorial service. Most larger stadiums may be difficult (or expensive) for a family to rent, so it’s worth considering a smaller stadium or school stadium to host this event. Stadiums offer ample outdoor space for outdoor seating and a setting that can make the event feel more personalized to the person who passed away. If you’re unable to rent the stadium as a funeral venue, it stands as an excellent place to hold a post funeral gathering or as a funeral luncheon location.
Did you know you can rent out an entire movie theater for a private gathering? Most theaters allow this -- and it’s not too expensive (usually under $400)! If your loved one was a movie lover and enjoyed films, a movie theater is a great place to hold a post funeral gathering. You and your community can share stories and watch one of your loved one’s favorite movies together in their honor. While a movie theater may not be the best place to have a funeral luncheon, it’s still a unique and creative location.
National and state parks make wonderful places to have a funeral reception, especially if you and yours love the outdoors. Renting out or reserving a spot at a national park will vary by location, so you’ll need to get in touch with your national park to determine availability and pricing. Local parks are usually cheaper to rent / reserve and some of them are even free, so this is a good choice for those who are on a tighter budget. If you’re hosting a funeral reception or post funeral gathering outdoors, you’ll want to plan on bringing some additional seating to make the event more accessible, depending on how long you plan on staying.
In keeping with the outdoors and nature theme, another memorable funeral venue is a public (or private) garden. Public gardens offer slightly more intimate spaces to gather with your loved ones while remembering someone who passed away. A public garden is a unique place to hold a memorial service or funeral reception that allows people to socialize in a natural and appealing setting. Public and private gardens can vary widely in price so it’s worth reaching out to your local public gardens for some prices before deciding on which one you’d like to go with.
Many people host memorial services on boats, especially when there’s an ash scattering ceremony taking place on the boat. Boats are great because they offer privacy, a smaller setting, and comfort for those going on the boat trip. Boats are better suited venues for those hosting memorial services or ash scattering ceremonies, so if you’re having a traditional funeral (with a burial), it may be better to save this part for later.
Restaurant or bar
Restaurants and bars serve as great places to hold funeral receptions, funeral luncheons, or post funeral gatherings. Selecting your loved one’s favorite pub or restaurant as the location to hold their memorial service is a great way to gather people in a familiar and treasured place. Choosing a bar or restaurant is also a good idea if your loved one was a regular at the restaurant; you may be able to get a discount or special rate by speaking with the owner.
Was the person who passed away someone who loved animals? A zoo may be the perfect location to hold their memorial service! Gathering as a group, walking through the zoo and sharing stories about your loved one is a great way to gather a community in memory of someone else while doing an activity they would’ve loved.
An observatory is a great choice for those who have lost someone who was passionate about space, the sky, and the stars. Observatories let visitors view the night sky and offer special tools and equipment to visitors to get the best views possible. You can host a memorial service at an observatory in remembrance of a loved one and ask that attendees share stories and memories of your loved one while stargazing. If you’re on a budget, you could also consider hosting an event at a park after dark instead of visiting the observatory directly. (You could even consider reaching out to the observatory and asking for any information on public spots they think are good for stargazing.)
While a church can feel traditional, it doesn’t mean hosting a memorial service or renting out a church as a funeral reception hall makes the event any less memorable. If you want to make the funeral more personalized or unique, try to tailor it to the personality of the person who passed away. You can also personalize the event by choosing specific memorial activities that your loved one would’ve appreciated (such as a memory jar, lantern release, or a game). Additionally, you can always hold a funeral service or memorial service at the church and then host the post funeral gathering or luncheon at a different, more “unique” location.
Community centers offer lots of space, great amenities, and usually fairly low rates for renting out the space. If you’re expecting a lot of people or have lost someone who was fond of their community, community centers are a great choice for a funeral reception or memorial service venue. Many community centers have different types of rec areas and classes available for the community, so it may be interesting to hold a funeral service and tie that into a different activity you and your attendees can participate in together after the funeral has taken place.
Once you’ve decided on a location, you’ll want to consider making a memorial website to share the information! Memorial websites let you collect RSVPs, share event information, and keep everyone in the loop when planning a service. Visitors can share their memories, view others’ memories, RSVP to events, make donations to your cause, and much more.