Memorial Service Invitation

This Memorial Service Invitation section includes such elements as: What to say, methods of invitations, when to send, who to send to.

Memorial Service Invitation - Join us photo by Gerd Altman

The Memorial Service Invitation

Why do I need to send a Memorial Service Invitation?
At the time of passing away, you more than likely sent out an announcement of the death in the Newspaper or even on the Internet. For the day of Cremation or burial, you may have had a church service or a Celebration of Life service at a Crematorium. In order for people to know where and when the service was to be held, an Invitation was sent out.

With a Memorial service, another invitation (a Memorial Service Invitation) needs to be sent again announcing the time, day, and date as well as other logistical considerations for the memorial Service.

Methods of Inviting Attendees to a Memorial Service

Some of these are good and some are not quite appropriate depending on circumstances:

•    Invitation card.
•    Letter.
•    Social Media – closed group.
•    Phone call.
•    Text Message.

Invitation Card
There are many printing companies, funeral stationery companies and online companies offering a multitude of beautiful and different invitation cards.

Memorial Service Invitation cards do not have to be complicated, elaborate, or wordy. The information they need to convey is (but not necessarily limited to):

  • Title of the invitation.
  • Name of the person the Memorial Service is for.
  • Date of the Service.
  • Time of the service.
  • Address of the venue/location.
  • Whom the invitation is from.
  • RSVP.
  • Dress code or theme (if any).
  • Refreshments served / lunch / dinner etc.
  • Any other applicable information that needs to be conveyed.


Gone are the days when personal letters would be sent individually to each guest announcing a Memorial Service would be held – but not totally.
When a small number of guests are to be invited, it is not unknown and very much appreciated by the recipient when a hand-note invitation is written to invite them to a Memorial Service.

If a personal letter is sent, a personal letter in reply would be expected - to follow etiquette. It may not be feasible for some people to write 30, 40 or even 50 invitation cards personally to every family, but if the numbers are limited, writing your own, by hand Memorial Service Invitation card is seen as a very personal, caring and beautiful thing to do.  An art form that in recent years seems to have disappeared.

Social Media
For closed groups, there is a trend to send invitations by social media. Although it is becoming a legitimate form of communication for most things, it is not yet accepted as a respectful form to invite people to a Funeral Service or a Memorial Service.  For the 'older generation', it can be seen as a lazy and quick form of message sending - if they see the invitation. If the person who has just passed away and the service is for them, a Memorial Service Invitation in this format may be applicable. Careful thought in the way an invitation is to be received is important.

If this form is chosen, spelling, grammar and actual wording needs to be carefully drafted and crafted.

Telephone or Mobile Call
For many people, a phone call announcing the passing away of a loved one is accepted as a good form of communication. However, inviting someone to a Memorial Service, a phone call to let them know is fine, however a written form should then be followed-up; a formal Memorial Service Invitation.

It is a distressing time; the person taking the call may not take-in all the information you or someone gives them. They could feel embarrassed having to ask later, ‘what were the details again?’.  A Memorial Service is a very special occasion with many family members looking forward to Celebrating the Life of someone much loved in their lives.  A printed card emphasizes the importance and will set the tone to the service – be it a sombre or even a jovial, uplifting  event.

 Text Message
Texting to day is seen as a quick form of asking for something or letting another people know about some event or other. HOWEVER, it is still definitely a ‘no-no’ to send a Memorial Service Invitation announcement to anyone or everyone in one text.  In their 'rush' to send a message, many people do not check what they have written; predictive text can play havoc with any message and especially one of such an importance as this.

Being the First To Let Everyone Know
Text messages are a good, legitimate and quick form of communication. However, some people use it is a way of proving they know something before others and will send text messages announcing all sorts of things in advance of the main source telling people themselves. 

Misunderstandings, miss-communication, and general upsets or even rifts within families. People receiving a message from you and then they go on to tell others can escalate beyond control. It can be catastrophic and have all sorts of mental ramifications if the closest person (for example, the wife or husband of the person passed away) reads a text about their partner passing away suddenly and not from an 'official' source.

With a Memorial Service Invitation, there might be a whole host of people that the closest person simply does not want at the Memorial Service.  A 'general' text announcing the death may lead to people asking to attend the funeral service or the Memorial Service.  It could be embarrassing, hard to,  or upsetting to say, 'no' to these 'unwanted' people.

As a rule, and for general etiquette, text messages should not be sent announcing a death, a Memorial Service, or other matters regarding someone passing away.

When is the best time to send an Invitation to a Memorial Service?
Depending on the location of the Memorial Service (close-by or far away) people generally need as much notice as you can give them.  People may need to organize transport, bay-sitters, finances, time-off work,  re-arrange (short-break) holidays, or even book flight tickets if coming from abroad, plus a whole host of other personal things to accommodate.

How much notice should I give for a Memorial Service?
Generally, everyone you ask will say they would be honoured to attend the Memorial Service.  However, if only a week or two notice is given, this may, logistically not be possible for them to attend. They may be then embarrassed to say, 'no, unfortunately we cannot attend'.  This could lead them to simply not turn-up on the day. 

You may have catered for them to be there (food, drink, seating, car park space, baby/toddler facilities and so forth).  Three weeks should be the very minimum and five months the maximum time – unless you are very organized and send out ‘reminders’ to remind people of the up-coming Memorial Service.  Being human, daily events rule our lives (birthday invites, outings booked, Concert shows, tickets for events and so forth) can easily be made and us subconsciously forgetting about the Memorial Service booked for 4 or 5 months in advance.


Who should I send memorial Service Invites to?
It is easy to invite everyone you see, meet, or who says to you, ‘my sincerest condolences’ to your Memorial Service.

Who you invite is entirely up to you.  However, being realistic, budget, logistics and who really misses the person who has passed away, play a big part in whom you choose to be there. Unless there is no financial limit in the budget, being practical and realistic – even at a time like this must be thought about.
Not all families are close or get-on with everyone in the family. It is a fact of life.

As a suggestion, select first:

  • Those closest family members to the person that has passed away.
  • Closest relatives who truly miss the person that has passed away.
  • Closest friends.
  • Closest Colleagues
  • Closest neighbours.

Inviting someone to the Memorial Service must have a meaning or relevance.

Memorial Service Invitation Summary

Like for a Wedding, creating a guest list of whom to attend and then whom to send a Memorial Service Invitation is of vital importance. Only those that have a real relevance to the person that has passed away should be invited.  Inviting people who 'just knew him/her' is generally not a good idea - however, there are certain circumstances when this may be relevant and in order.  He or she may have been head of an Organization, club or society and thus may be appropriate to invite a dignitary from the organization to represent them. The location, setting and type of service yu have planned will dictate.


Let's move on to SECTION EIGHT - The Service


Sections to The Ultimate and Complete Memorial Service Guide:

Section ONE - The Basics
Section TWO - The Logistics
Section THREE - The Room
Section FOUR - Equipment
Section FIVE - The Bar
Section SIX - Catering and Food
Section SEVEN - The Invitation
Section EIGHT - The Service
Section NINE - Decorations
Section TEN - Give-away, Take-Aways and Afterwards
Section ELEVEN - Memorial Service Summary