planning a memorial service, rather than a funeral, is becoming a more befitting way to farewell a deceased loved one.

Planning a memorial service vs planning a funeral

  • Mel Buttigieg
  • Writer, Bare
  • July 15, 2021
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We would be honoured to support you in planning a befitting memorial ceremony – whether that’s entirely family-led, or with our dedicated celebrant team. Click below to find out more.

For as long as we’ve lived, humans have searched for ways to commemorate the lives of people we’ve loved and lost. But more recently, planning a memorial service – rather than a funeral – is becoming a more befitting way to farewell a deceased loved one.

Australians are increasingly breaking from tired and expensive funeral traditions in favour of more personalised and affordable send-offs. Almost three quarters (73%) of Australians say they don’t want a church funeral or religious ceremony, according to a recent report by Australian Seniors.

In this article, we explain some of the benefits of planning a memorial with Bare Cremation vs planning a funeral with a traditional funeral director.

How is planning a memorial service different to a funeral?

A memorial is generally a funeral service without the coffin present. It can be held before a cremation or burial takes place, or afterwards. Families who plan a memorial after a Bare cremation commonly hold the service with the ashes and urn present. A memorial also allows the option to include a scattering or tree-planting ceremony as part of the memorial service.

Memorials are also usually colourful celebrations of the deceased person’s life, rather than mourning and the sombre elements associated with funerals.

A personalised lakeside picnic with family and friends was part of a Bare Memorial Service.
A personalised lakeside picnic with family and friends was part of a Bare Memorial Service.

Why plan a memorial service?

Whatever your beliefs, gathering close family and friends to pay tribute is an important element in saying goodbye when someone dies. But at Bare Cremation, we are changing the way Australians farewell a loved one. Whether it’s a funeral, a memorial, a celebration of life, or a wake (or even a living wake), a farewell doesn’t need to look like a traditional service at a funeral parlour chapel or church. And it certainly doesn’t need to cost a fortune either.

The average price of a funeral in Australia is around $7,4999, but the cost can easily be upwards of $10,000 depending on personalisation, according to price comparison website In comparison, the average price of a prepaid memorial with Bare is $2,955 (the price will differ based on location, due to local operating costs and state government charges).

Funeral celebrant Jan Phillips conducts a memorial with a beloved llama present.
Funeral celebrant Jan Phillips conducts a memorial with a beloved llama present.


At Bare, we provide Australians with a more affordable funeral option because we do things a little different to traditional funeral directors.

Bare provides an unattended direct cremation service to allow families and friends the time, budget and freedom to plan a farewell that best celebrates their deceased loved one in the way they lived it. We offer only the things you need, and not the stuff you don’t. Removing the unnecessary expenses like a hearse, an overpriced coffin and chapel hire means we can provide the highest possible care, for the lowest possible price.

Instead of rushing the grieving process to plan a funeral in a few days after the person has died, a direct cremation allows families the time to catch a breath and lean into their grief while they consider how best to remember and celebrate their loved ones. This might be a picnic at the beach, barbecue at the park, beers at the RSL, a backyard cricket game, or a scattering ceremony at a favourite fishing spot. Planning a memorial allows you to think outside the box, in more ways than one!

In the current COVID-19 climate, many families are arranging direct cremations when a loved one dies, in favour of small attended funerals. Separating the cremation from the ceremony means they can plan a memorial or attended farewell once social gathering restrictions have eased in their area. To learn more, read our article, How coronavirus is changing funerals and the grieving process.

Australian funeral trends
When farewelling a loved one, Australians want more celebrating and less tradition.

How to plan a memorial service

You don’t need to hire a funeral director to plan a memorial service. Our 10-step DIY guide to planning a funeral or memorial can help those who are planning a farewell themselves, separately from any traditional funeral or cremation service. Our Memorial Service Planning Checklist can also help.

However, families who would like some support can select our Bare Memorial Service option. They will be paired with one of our dedicated celebrants to work together to plan and conduct the perfect memorial service that best represents their loved ones.

At Bare, we have partnered with some of Australia’s best celebrants to help plan a memorial that truly does right by your loved one. Our celebrant team can help arrange and conduct a family-led memorial service, while we take care of the cremation process. You can review the celebrant profiles on our Bare Memorial webpage here, or chat with your dedicated Bare funeral arranger for a personalised recommendation.

You can find out more about planning a more personalised farewell by reading our Ultimate Guide to Planning a Memorial.

Profiles of our excellent partner funeral celebrants are available on the Bare Memorials webpage.
Profiles of our excellent partner funeral celebrants are available on the Bare Memorials webpage.


Final thoughts memorials

Whether you are leaving funeral instructions as part of your Will or planning your own prepaid funeral, or if you are arranging a memorial for a loved one, we hope this article has helped explain the differences between planning a memorial service vs a funeral.

Remember, there are no rules when it comes to planning a memorial. You have the choice to plan a farewell in the best way that does right by your person. Similarly, there is no obligation to arrange a formal, expensive and cookie-cutter funeral service if that is not what you or your family really want.

Call our dedicated arrangers on 1800 202 901 for a prepaid service, or 1800 071 176 for immediate need. If you would like help making a Will, call our team at Bare Law on (03) 9917 3388.

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