Sunday, July 5, 2015

Outdoor Memorial Service

This is a difficult post for me to share for obvious reasons but I wanted to document the various ideas I had for this type of event in case any of my readers ever have to host a similar gathering.

In April of this year, after a lengthy, bravely fought battle with cancer, my brother-in-law (my husband's oldest brother) succumbed to this horrible disease.  
In keeping with his wishes, rather than a funeral at that time, it was decided that a private Memorial Gathering would be held later in our backyard.
The Memorial was held at the end of June with invited guests attending and various family members contributing to make it a meaningful remembrance full of love for someone that we miss very much as well as an expression of our faith in God and the assurance of eternal life we have through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 My contribution to this special gathering was in providing the décor. As my brother-in-law had a love of the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman, I decided to use that as a theme for the displays and tablescapes.
The table centerpieces consisted of a black lantern with antlers (borrowed from another BiL), a few pine cones and some faux greenery (from my Christmas décor) along with a picture.
This was flanked on each side by a cylinder vase with blue glass beads, sea glass pieces, faux greenery and a fishing lure suspended by fishing line and a float.
 (Update: See here for tutorial on how to create these fishing centerpieces)
These vases were set atop round pieces of birch adding to the outdoor theme.
(There is no water in the bottom part of the vase; only in the top for the floating candle)
 The fishing lures were a combination of those purchased from sporting good stores, Dollar stores and some borrowed from a BiL's collection.
(Update: See here for tutorial on how to create these fishing centerpieces)

Although it was summer, the occasion called for more subdued colours so I chose my brown tablecloths with a blue/brown plaid runner. These colours also went well with the fishing and hunting theme.
We rented the large white tent in the picture below and Mr. D had the job of setting up the other tents/canopies along with the tables and chairs (along with help from his brother and a brother-in-law).
It took some planning on our part to decide what would be the best layout in our yard.
Under the large white rented tent, we placed the tables and chairs for the guests to sit at during the service and for the luncheon that followed.
Looking in the other direction...
Next to this area, we set up for the luncheon which was organized by a SiL and catered by a local restaurant.
(In the background, you can see a mist-er that was set up as it was an extremely hot day and we wanted guests to be able to cool down if they felt the need.)
 The guests helped themselves to the delicious sandwiches, wraps and salad buffet with assorted squares for dessert. Fortunately, I had enough plates and my mom lent me some flatware.
A beverage station was arranged in an area closest to the house.
 ( This 10 x 10' Tent/Canopy is from Walmart this year for $88 CA)
I made a pineapple mint lemonade, a summer sangria and iced tea for the beverage dispensers.
An assortment of other beverages were put on ice in this new bucket stand I purchased at a local grocery store.
It was such a hot day, guests frequented this area quite often with bottled water (seen in big blue tub in first picture) being the beverage of choice.

The first area guests saw upon entering the yard was this display under a canopy with tables of mementoes, photos and personal objects which were chosen in memory of my brother-in-law.

I created this hunting themed display using a lidded box filled with deer and greenery (both from my Christmas décor), a toy rifle that used to be my son's, a faux fur draped over the back of the box and a plaid blanket. A small black solar lantern sits beside a picture of my brother-in-law.
One of his deer-calls is placed in front of the display.

The hat that he always wore fishing was placed beside this fishing themed display.
Memorabilia from significant events in his life were arranged in this area.

One of my sister-in-laws made all of the photo displays which captured so many special times of his life. 
We were thankful for the shade provided by this large tent during the brief service led by another one of my sister-in-laws. 
A time of prayer, special stories and song was conducted from this podium. Special thanks to three of my sister-in-laws and Mr. D for their contributions to this.

Although it was of course, a sad day, we are thankful that we were able to join together with friends and family in prayer, tears and even some laughter to remember someone so dear to us and for our faith in God who gives us peace and comfort at this difficult time.

Thank you for visiting and allowing me to share this special post with you.

I'll be linking this post to these wonderful blogs:
Saturday Sparks on Pieced Pastimes
Sundays Down Under at Natasha in Oz
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Amaze Me Mondays at Dwellings
Show & Share at Coastal Charm
The Scoop at Stone Gable
Inspire Me Tuesdays at A Stroll Thru Life
Tuesday at Our Home at Our Home Away From Home
Tutorials & Tips at Home Stories A to Z
Talented Tuesdays at Home Remedies
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Sizzle into Summer at DIY by Design
Share Your Style at Northern Nesting
What's It Wednesdays at Ivy & Elephants
Thursday Favorite Things at Surroundings by Debi
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Grace at Home at Imparting Grace
Inspiration Gallery at Craftberry Bush
Creative Ways at Posed Perfection
Foodie Friday & Everything Else at Rattlebridge Farm
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Weekend Retreat at AKA Design
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home


  1. Losing someone we love is always a difficult journey, grief has a way of creeping up on you just when you think you've got it handled. Your memorial was such a lovely way for family andd friends to remember your brother-in-law, there is much healing that takes place in shared stories and holding each other up. I am certain your loved one was there in spirit and smiling on this lovely gathering. May you continue to find moments to share wonderful memories for that is the best way to begin healing from such a loss.

  2. What a wonderful remembrance of someone so clearly loved and missed. How wonderful your family could all come together to create such a wonderful service and memories in his honor.

  3. AnonymousJuly 06, 2015

    My condolences on your loss. Thank you for sharing this private moment with us. May you feel God's comfort during this time.

  4. So sorry for your loss. I think that your brother-in-law would have liked it very much.

  5. What a beautiful tribute to your BIL. It's obvious it was done with much love and admiration. I lost my aunt & BIL in March to cancer. Both way too young. So sorry for your loss. Prayers to you and your family.


Thanks so much for your comments! I really appreciate your feedback on my posts. Your message will be published after moderation.

Please note: I will respond to any questions you have right here in "Comments".