When a family member or loved one passes away, the last thing that you may want to be thinking about is planning a funeral or celebration of life. It can just seem too overwhelming to even begin the process. A celebration of life is a way to honor a loved one and allow friends or family to celebrate the life of the person. Below are some celebration of life ideas that may help you in planning your own celebration or memorial service.
What is a Celebration of Life?
A celebration of life is a family service to honor and celebrate the life of a loved one and their loved one’s memory. A celebration of life service can be similar to a funeral, but often uses different practices as a way of paying tribute to your loved one, usually without the use of religious or spiritual practices.
A celebration of life service and a funeral both serve the same purpose which is a gathering of family or friends including a child, parents, siblings, and other guests to share a few words and favorite memories of a loved one. A funeral tends to follow a more traditional type of planning process, whereas a celebration of life is less traditional and was created as a result of recent changes in social norms.
Some families will have a traditional funeral service and also have a celebration of life ceremony that follows the funeral. This allows people to either attend just the funeral or the celebration of life service, or they can attend both. Eternally Loved can assist with Celebration of Life Ideas for Mom or Celebration of Life Ideas for the Living.
What to Wear
People wonder what to wear at a celebration of life. Your best bet is to wear something similar to what you would wear to a funeral or memorial service. Sometimes it will indicate what the dress code is on the invitation, or the person hosting will have everyone wear a certain color that the person loved.
How to Plan a Celebration of Life
Planning a celebration of life ceremony for a loved one can be overwhelming due to the grief that takes over as well as the work that is involved in planning these types of celebrations. A lot goes into planning a celebration of life event or ceremony, including things such as finding a location, what type of flower to have, gathering necessary information, photos, activities for the celebration, and finding the best way to honor the deceased person.
Planning a celebration of life event is really about getting to know the family and friends of someone you are planning the life service for, and getting the necessary information to plan out the best celebration of life ideas. Some examples of celebration of life ideas include a memorial table, memory cards, photos of the one being honored, a balloon release, and having friends and family speak during the celebration of life service.
Life celebrations should bring out the personality of the person who is deceased, some examples being if they are an animal lover, love a certain sports team, a funny story about their life, memories of your loved one, or something that you believe they would want to be honored by.
Ideas for a Celebration of Life
There are a lot of logistics involved in planning a memorial event, or celebration of life service. Something to consider is working with professionals who specialize in a celebration of life will take away some of the stress of the day, leaving it up to you to focus on honoring your loved one. The more ideas you can get from the family and friends of the deceased, the better idea you will have on what service to plan for each person. Below are some common celebration of life ideas.
A popular celebration of life idea is to create a memory board to display the person’s life. People can display a memorial table, memorial DVD, or photo board of images of your loved one doing what they enjoyed most. Pictures, which capture a moment, often spark conversation and bring up past memories, which is the perfect way to honor and pay tribute to the one you are celebrating.
Another nice celebration of life idea is a tribute video for your loved one. It is important to include the people closest that your loved one was closest to including parents, a child, and others that they are close to. Another nice touch for your video is to include music. Choosing music that the person loved gives it an extra touch.
Instead of just asking your families for photos they’d like to include in their loved one’s video, ask everyone questions so you can truly capture the story of them. Try asking questions like: What was the happiest moment of their life? What are they most proud of? Did they have a nick-name? What was a memorable experience that you had with them?
Balloon or Lantern Release
Some fun celebration of life ideas may include a balloon, lantern, or dove release to honor the memory of your loved one. There are many ways to do this, and not every celebration has to use balloons, specifically. Release balloons, butterflies, doves, or paper lanterns – Releasing a balloon or lantern is a ritual that symbolizes releasing a lost loved one or sending loving thoughts to their memory and spirit. Some people write notes and attach them to balloons or lanterns.
A guest book at a celebration of life service allows everyone who attends, from family to other guests, the opportunity to sign a book that shows that they attended the service. Someone may want to include some words, along with signing, while other people may just want to sign their name. A nice idea for this item would be to include some memories that you have or a nice story to go along with your signature.
You can give some of your guests or family members of the deceased an opportunity to give a toast, speech, or reading at the celebration of life. You may wonder what to say at a celebration of life, and the answer is not always right or wrong. The important thing to remember is to speak from the heart, talk about fond memories you may have with the person, or use other meaningful readings that apply to their life.
Another celebration of life idea to consider is the decorations. Decorations for celebration of life are an important detail to a celebration of life service for loved ones, as well as for funerals. The decorations could include many different things such as balloons, flowers, place settings, mason jars holding flowers or other items, memory cards, and others. Many people like to have a specific theme for the celebration of life service. You may also look for inspiration for what kind of colors, music, or specific kind of flower that you want to use.
A memorial garden is a great celebration of life idea. Imagine throwing a party in a memory garden honoring your loved one’s life.
You might not actually have a garden so how can you create one? Begin with seeds to fill mason jars halfway. The seeds can be for your loved one’s favorite flower or seedlings to plant a memorial tree.
You can purchase a memorial plaque. You can place the memorial plaque in a public garden that allows you to place them on a tree or write personalized messages on the plaque.
Honor a Favorite Charity or School Library
Invite people over to share stories and create your own special holiday as part of your healing journey. While service hot chocolate and listening to favorite music and favorite songs surprise everyone with a “gift wrapping party”. Buy items for your loved favorite charity or local homeless shelter and donate the gifts.
Plan a Celebration of Life with Eternally Loved
Eternally loved is a memorial celebration ideas and celebration of life celebration coordinator that helps individuals plan a special, stress-free memorial or celebration of life for a family or loved one. We work with the family to develop celebration of life ideas and take care of all the planning for their loved ones including the location, coordinating guests, and other logistics that are involved in these celebrations.
A celebration of life is not generally held in a funeral home or church. Funerals tend to be more religious or spiritual in nature. It’s more often in someone’s home, an outdoor venue such as a garden or park, golf course, or a rented facility. The location is normally chosen based on the interests and passions of the deceased. The resting place of the deceased will be taken into consideration during the process of planning and we can help coordinate all the details of what the funeral service and celebration of life celebration will look like.
At Eternally Loved we can also take care of items such as programs, slideshows, take home items, enlargements, etc. We can make the item for you and send it for your approval so that it will not take up all your time. Each service we plan is unique in it’s own way, and will have different aspects to it. We treat each of our celebrations of life ceremonies differently, based on the needs of the individual and their loved one.
If you would like more information on our celebration of life or memorial services, please contact Melissa Rainey