Memorial cards for funerals

Remembrance card

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

While a funeral programme, or order of service, contains the schedule of a funeral service, a memorial card is a keepsake that treasures the memory of a loved one.

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

A memorial keepsake

A memorial, or funeral card is a double sided card which usually includes a verse or prayer and photographs of the person who has died. These cards are typically 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, a photo and a verse from perhaps a favourite 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 personalise a memorial card

You may want to personalise 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 favourite 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 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
  • Your loved one’s 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.”

David Livingstone mourning card

Collecting memorial cards

Vintage memorial cards have become collectors’ items. They were known as mourning cards when they became fashionable in the 1800s, and were usually 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.