Memorial photos on your lapel – are they a good idea?

Lapel photos for memorial services – are they a good idea? The verdict is split. In fact, the verdict will ever be split. The reason being that, as with any matter regarding the passing of a loved-one, the way a person is commemorated will always be entirely personal to their loved-ones.

However, we can give some guidance.


The biggest question will always be one of sensitivity. Yes, a lapel photo may mean a significant amount to you, but at the same time you have to ask if it might unintentionally cause upset to others. Many people want to mourn in the traditional style. Dress is important – the formality of attire is a tribute to the deceased, a mark of respect on behalf of the wearer. It may be deemed poor form to wear an item featuring the face of the deceased. It is important to think carefully what close family of the deceased will think. What you believe to be a touching and personal tribute may be seen by them to be flippant so it’s always best to seek advise on these delicate matters.


And yet in the UK we have a grand tradition of paying respect via lapel attachments. What, after all, is the remembrance poppy but a hugely public and poignant addition to our daily wear, marking our intense respect and gratitude for sacrifices of the fallen? It’s a lapel memorial.


The benchmark has to be how well we know the deceased and their family. If you were truly close it may be a beautiful gesture to suggest that all mourners are issued with a lapel photo. It shows an absolute unity of love, a small addition that can go a long way to making a funeral more special.


There is now a huge range of lapel adornments available and they need not look like a badge. Instead they are tasteful pieces of jewellery. The face of a loved-one can be as tiny or as prominent as you wish. You could even include an inscription similar to the headstone. Certainly, in the case of jewellery, they become something to treasure. In the wake of 9/11, for example, many relatives of victims continued to wear a lapel photo long after the tragedy. In time of distress, as with any loss, they found comfort in having their loved-one with them.

Have you ever attended a funeral where mourners adorned lapel memorials?