Memorial services have become more and more common in this country, and in a way are a sign of the times. A memorial service is typically held without the remains of the deceased present, although an urn holding cremated remains is present in some cases. The service is often held within a week of the death. However, it can be postponed for a long period of time for the sake of the family's convenience. This may be the case especially if family members must travel great distances to attend. Some families decide to wait for a particularly meaningful holiday or anniversary to hold the service. Like a funeral service, a memorial service presents many opportunities to commemorate the loved one through the use of memory tables, photo boards, video tributes, and special music.
The memorial service itself is more informal than a funeral, allowing family members and loved ones to mix, mingle, and exchange recollections of the deceased. If you don't know many attendees, feel free to approach someone else standing alone, introduce yourself, and ask, "How did you know Steve?" The person is likely to be grateful to have someone to talk to.