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Memorial cards for funerals

Remembrance card

Memorial cards, also known as funeral cards, are personalized mementos given at funerals, memorial services or celebration of life ceremonies to commemorate a loved one’s life.

While a funeral program contains the ceremony schedule, a memorial card is a keepsake in memory of your loved one.

Your chosen funeral home should be able to assist you with the designing, personalizing and printing of a memorial card.

A memorial keepsake

A memorial, or funeral card is typically a double sided card which usually includes a verse or prayer and photographs of the person who has died. These cards are handed out at memorial services, wakes and viewings.

A wallet memorial card is a compact funeral card, which you can carry with you wherever you go. The credit card-sized memento will usually feature the person’s name, photo and a verse from perhaps a favorite poem, or a quote.

If you are creative, Pinterest is a great place to search for memorial card templates for a personal and meaningful souvenir mourning card.

Ways to personalize a memorial card

You may want to personalize your loved one’s memorial card according to family tradition, their career or favorite pastime, or the things that meant most to them in life.

Maybe they had a saying of their own that will always make you think of them, or a favorite song lyric that reflected their life philosophy.

As a special kind of memorial card, some people create funeral card bookmarks, to help keep that special person in mind. Some funeral directors also give you the option of laminating the bookmark, or even adding a decorative tassel.

Another creative way with funeral cards is to create a seed packet to gift to mourners, who can grow forget-me-nots or poppies in loving memory.

Memorial card wording

The memorial card wording may contain the following details:

  • The person’s name
  • Their date of birth and death
  • Their favorite quote, poem, prayer, lyric or verse
  • A photo of how people will fondly remember them

Other details you may choose to include:

  • The cemetery where they will be buried and plot number
  • The names of parents or a spouse who preceded them
  • Close loved ones they are survived by
  • A personal sentiment from the family

Although there may be a lot of information you’d like to include, memorial cards tend to be simple and ‘uncluttered’. Your funeral home may be able to help you get the words exactly right.

Choosing an easy-to-read font will suit many funeral guests, young and old.

Funeral cards are usually headed by a memorial phrase:

  • In loving memory
  • Miss you
  • Rest in peace
  • Treasured memories of…

Acknowledgement cards are used to let people know how much their condolences mean to you and your family. Messages on acknowledgement cards are completely personal but usually run along the lines of:

“The family of (loved one’s name), thank you for your kind expressions of sympathy during their bereavement.”

Robert Owen mourning card 1858

Collecting memorial cards

Vintage memorial cards have become collectors’ items. Known as mourning cards when they became fashionable in the 1800s, they were usually were sent out after the funeral, and often to those who could not attend. They were made from stiff cardboard, which had intricate designs cut and embossed onto them.

Many featured the kind of imagery that was being carved in stone in grand cemeteries, with symbolism including trailing ivy, weeping angels and anchors, representing undying affection, divinity and faith.

Today, old memorial cards are helping genealogists source information about the lives of people from the past, with details including their funeral and burial locations giving them clues to the past.

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