Sunday, January 15, 2012

a new altar

Wouldn't this DIY lily backdrop make any memorial more gorgeous? I imagine how it would gently sway in the breeze, adding movement and a sense of lightness. Here are the DIY instructions as they appear in Ruffled.

Although this was originally designed by My Hands Made It to be displayed at a wedding, I think it would be a lovely addition to any memorial service. These draped strands of lilies, especially if draped in front of a window or even outdoors, are simply gorgeous as a luminous and ethereal cascade. (For what it's worth, lilies are one of the most traditional memorial flowers, symbolizing the soul's return to innocence.)

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I encourage anyone who is faced with planning a memorial service to visit wedding blogs like Ruffled for inspiration. There are so many wonderful (and easy!) ideas that could just as well work for a memorial service. If you think about it, many of the components are the same - guest books, altar, photo displays, flowers, and table centerpieces. Memorials should be just as meaningful and pretty as any wedding!

Why can't memorials be more like weddings?

Vintage keys as remembrance favors (from Bustled Events)

It's my goal to make death pretty again. And I believe memorials deserve to be as beautifully styled as any wedding. Like a wedding, memorials are ceremonies devoted to love. And love, whether it's earthly or eternal, always merits gorgeous and affectionate design.

Vintage card cabinet and photo display from Martha Stewart Weddings

Of course, the primary reason for the lack of style with memorials is the weight of grief. Who wants to think about design at a time when they can hardly function? So it's my hope to create templates of memorial ideas that can be easily recreated. These services will have many DIY components, which I believe not only makes the memorial more personal, it allows family and friends to contribute in a meaningful way.

Right now I'm working on different themes - vintage, rustic, beach, garden, classic, and neo-Victorian. In time I hope to have photo shoots highlighting each theme, but for now I've been collecting ideas on my Pinterest page. I spend a lot of time on DIY wedding blogs like Forget Me Knot Weddings, 100 Layer Cake and Grey Likes Weddings looking for inspiration, and I encourage others who are planning memorials to check out these sites.

Memorials are all about remembrance, so it's nice to bring in vintage items that are also meaningful - from tea tins to doilies, crockery to cookbooks. Here are just a few display ideas incorporating easy-to-do vintage elements from Ruffled, Bustled Events, and Hazlitt Vintage Rentals:

I hope that we can reinvent how we think of memorials, and treat them with the same love and affection that we do with weddings. Why not?