Memorial cards are small, sturdy, laminated cards (about the size of a playing card) that offer a tribute to the deceased. Their use is not necessarily limited to funerals. You will also find them distributed at visitations, wakes, memorial services, and celebrations of life.
Memorial cards are referred to by a variety of names. They may be called funeral cards, memoriam cards, or prayer cards. Regardless of what they are called, the cards are popular as a meaningful keepsake for those who attend services for the deceased. After the funeral, it is common for people to place them in their bible or prayer book as a reminder of a loved one lost.
Memorial cards are normally religious or devotional. They will typically feature a photo of the deceased and an inspirational image on the front. The reverse side will feature a poem, scripture, or brief biography of the deceased. While most cards are still spiritual, it is becoming more common to see them designed in secular themes. In reality, you can design the cards in any fashion you like.
The tradition of providing those attending a funeral with memorial cards arose from the Catholic tradition of the prayer card. Prayer cards honored various saints or biblical episodes. These cards were provided at funerals but they did not feature information relating to a specific person. As printing became more accessible and customization more affordable, the cards were adopted for use as a memorial tribute. Plain prayer cards that are unrelated to a funeral or memorial can still be found today. They are sold in church gift shops and specialized religious stores.
Surprisingly, vintage memorial cards have become collectors items. Some people appreciate them for their imagery and symbolism while others seek them for use in genealogical research. You can find old memorial cards on sites like eBay, in antique shops, and at trading fairs.
There are many places to order memorial cards or you can make your own. A local printer can do them for you from your design or you can create your own prayer cards or memorial cards. Online vendors will offer a variety of template and customization options. Most provide immediate shipping so that you will receive them quickly.
Choosing a Memorial Card Printer
When you are looking for a printer to handle your memorial cards, it is best to find someone with experience working with funeral cards. They will understand the need for fast shipping and be sensitive to the fact that you may be grieving. Here are a few other things to look for when choosing a vendor:
- A good variety of designs and templates
- A customer service telephone number where you can speak with an actual person
- A secure website (look for https in the website address)
- Quick turnaround
- Access to a designer in case you need help
Cards can be ordered from printers and various websites, or you can quickly and easily make your own prayer cards for your service. Here is a guide to your own custom memorial prayer card on your home computer and printer.