Entering a funeral can be the most emotional part of the whole experience. You’re immediately faced with the reality that a loved one is no longer here. However, the décor or elements presented in the funeral’s entryway can play a big part in the overall tone of the service.
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As sad, relieved, or mixed-up you may be feeling about a loved one’s death, you can ensure that the service carries the mood that they would have wanted. Below, we provide a variety of both DIY and simple, store-bought ideas for entryway décor to help you exemplify whatever mood you wish.
You may also be interested in these tips for planning a memorial service.
DIY Main Entryway Funeral Ideas
If you’re at all crafty or enjoy making things yourself, a DIY entryway display would make perfect sense. Plus, if your loved one was handy themselves, this is a great opportunity to show off some of his or her work or aesthetic. Creating a DIY display will likely also be more cost-effective and satisfying.
You may choose to order flowers from a professional supplier. However, creating arrangements yourself can save some money and be easier for shipping. This way, too, you can create unique and custom displays and even get a little bit unconventional.
You may also wish to allow guests to take flowers from whatever type of entryway display you create as either a funeral favor or as something to bring up to the casket or urn, depending.
If your loved one didn’t really specify a preferred flower, here are some tips for choosing the right funeral flowers you may be interested in.
2. A photo collage or memory board
It’s perhaps the most simple and impactful way to fill the space with your loved one’s presence without them actually being there.
3. A funeral wreath
A funeral wreath is a simple, yet special element that can make a powerful statement on its own. You may wish to create your funeral wreath for your loved one out of flowers, plants, photos, or even other unconventional items. You may also be interested in these DIY casket spray ideas.
4. A dedicated memorial table
There are plenty of ways to create a meaningful memorial table for you to consider. In addition to a photo of your loved one, a candle or two, and flowers, you can also bring in other elements to make it more unique to the deceased.
You may also choose to leave prayer cards or other funeral favors for guests on this table as well.
5. A musician, band, or DJ
If you’re hosting a celebration of life ceremony or party for your loved one, you can get unconventional with the entryway. Especially if they were a fan of a particular genre of music, having a musician be the first thing that meets guests would be pretty special.
Whatever type of musician you choose will set the tone for the event. For example, a harpist would create a much different vibe than a DJ spinning the latest from Drake or Lil Wayne.
Who’s to say that you can’t welcome guests with a bang? If the funeral is being held outside, for example, or near another open space, this could be incredibly moving.
If it doesn’t make sense to have the show take place at the beginning of the service, you can always move it to after as well.
7. A cocktail bar
A cocktail bar can be the perfect thing to put your guests at ease. Of course, if you don’t necessarily want to encourage drinking at your loved one’s funeral, you can always offer non-alcoholic beverages as well.
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8. A guest-made piece of art
Similar to laying out a guest book for people to sign, you can provide the foundation for a custom piece of art that guests can contribute to.
For example, guests can leave their thumb or fingerprint with paint or sign their name on a canvas or piece of art that would be meaningful to your loved one.
9. A donation jar
A donation jar is a nice, easy addition that you can include in the entryway of the funeral. Rather than just having a plain jar, try to decorate in some way so that you can save it as a keepsake to continue adding to. Choose an organization significant to your loved one.
Simple, Store-Bought Main Entryway Funeral Ideas
If the DIY factor sounds like it will be too much for you, or you’d just prefer something a bit more simple, there are plenty of entryway displays you can create from store-bought items. Here are some funeral reception ideas that you can consider as well.
1. Lights, candles, or lanterns
You can easily create a powerful display with lights, candles, or lanterns from a home goods or home improvement store.
It won’t require a ton of DIY energy, but you’ll still have to arrange these elements in a pleasing manner. You can always request help from the funeral home or other event staff.
If your loved one was into plants more so than flowers, this is an easy way to create a natural-feeling entryway. You may also choose to purchase plants as funeral favors to give to your guests.
Plants can serve as a living reminder of your loved one. Plus, potted plants are likely easier to buy on your own — considering quality, variety, and price — than flowers.
3. Draped fabrics
Depending on where you’re hosting the funeral service, you may feel that it could benefit from a little more drama or even feel a bit more ethereal.
Draping some fabrics over a simple frame near the entryway can make the entrance itself feel powerful and significant if done right. You can also experiment with lights and candles to get the mood right.
4. Elements that follow a theme
If your loved one documented specific funeral wishes or requested a theme for their service or celebration of life ceremony, it’s likely that you’ll have to hit up a party or event store to make it possible.
That being said, store-bought decorations can sometimes feel tacky. There’s nothing wrong with this if your loved one would appreciate the kitsch-factor. You can also use store-bought items sparingly.
For example, your loved one may love the beach, and you feel that a coastal-themed memorial would suit them. You can buy additional shells and things to help bring the beach to the event if you aren’t able to actually visit one or host the event at one.
5. Food or treats
It may sound strange to offer snacks at the entryway of a funeral or memorial, but t’s all up to you. Especially if you’re hosting a nontraditional service, this may be the perfect element to make it special. It’s unlikely that anyone would be upset at the offer of free treats or snacks, either. Just make sure that whatever you offer is portable and relatively non-messy. For example, Mexican street corn probably wouldn’t be the best offering.
You can also expand on this idea and have a full-blown buffet or catered spread. Choose a cuisine that’s meaningful to your loved one if you’re unable to do any home-cooking. Some ideas include donuts and pastries, a brunch bar, or a taco bar.
6. A guestbook
A guestbook is incredibly easy and serves as a good way to open the line of communication between you and your friends and family.
You can leave space for them to write words of encouragement and other messages. Also, a guestbook allows you to know who to thank for their attendance after the fact.
7. A digital display
Putting a screen, computer, or projector system up at the entryway of your loved one’s funeral provides the opportunity for a memorial video or slideshow.
Though you may choose to show something during the service as well, greeting guests in this way can allow them to linger and catch up with one another before the service begins.
Balloons are simple and easy, and can even be quite elegant if you buy the right ones. You can even have guests blow up a balloon of their own and decorate it in a manner of their choosing with markers. You can also incorporate helium balloons later on and release them as part of the ceremonial aspect of the service.
9. Items for a group activity
Many party stores have plenty of silly items to purchase to help you create a group activity. This can be things like confetti cannons, cans of silly string, noisemakers, or something else.
Many of these items are lighthearted and celebratory in nature. That might just be what you all need to send your loved one off to be at peace.
Let the Entryway Speak Volumes
Creating an entryway that accurately portrays how the rest of the funeral service will go can help put your guests at ease. It’s likely that everyone in attendance is already emotionally edgy. A welcoming, fun, warm, or peaceful entryway can help guests adjust themselves and prepare to honor your loved one and feel more connected to one another as well.
Of course, whether you choose to go DIY or store-bought, you’ll likely need to get your materials from somewhere. Taking the entryway’s appearance into your own hands, however, should feel empowering. In other words, a bar may not sound like the most charming place for a funeral, but with some effort, you can transform the space to speak how you need it to.