Having a Celebration of Life vs Funeral


When a beloved family member passes away, it’s up to the bereaved family to organize memorial services for them. Most commonly, people set up a funeral service to pay tribute to their departed loved ones. However, there is also another memorial service option the grieving family and caring friends can seek out called celebrations of life.

The death of someone you dearly loved can be overwhelming. However, it will ultimately depend on the surviving family members to set up a memorial event that can publicly acknowledge and celebrate the life of your beloved family member. More importantly, it’s your duty to ensure that a beloved individual’s physical remains are taken care of properly in a remarkable celebration.

What Is a Traditional Funeral Service?

Traditional funeral services are the most common way to commemorate the death of a loved one. A funeral service is commonly held in either a church or funeral home. These events usually consisted of three parts: the visitation, funeral, and committal service.

In traditional funerals, caring friends, co-workers, and neighbors will go visit the venue of the funeral to support the grieving family by surrounding them with condolences and sympathies. Depending on the preferences of the family, visitors will have an opportunity to go to the casket and give their final prayers to the deceased loved one.

After this, the actual funeral service will begin to be led by an officiant, which is most commonly a pastor. After this, a committal service starts beginning with a respectful automobile procession from the venue all the way to the cemetery. Family and friends will be given an opportunity to say their final goodbyes before the casket is lowered into the ground.

What Is Celebration of Life?

A celebration of life is a more unique and cheery way to come together and pay tribute to the person who departed. Instead of mourning death, this life celebration focuses more on celebrating life and the impact left by the departed loved one on their bereaved family members and friends.

Celebrations of life can be held anywhere, from a banquet hall to a park or even someone’s home. They are typically less formal than funerals, and there is no set format. Instead, celebrations of life are often designed to reflect the deceased’s unique personality and give everyone an opportunity to share memories or a very personal story they’ve had with the deceased.

Celebration of Life vs. Funeral Service: What Are the Differences?

While both celebrations of life and funeral service have similarities, they also have significant differences that make them distinctive from each other. From where they are usually held to how these services are done, choosing between these two will depend on what the deceased or their family prefer.

A funeral is often seen as a more formal way to grieve and remember a life. It is a chance to say goodbye in a somber setting. The family may find comfort in the structure and formality of a funeral.

On the other hand, a celebration of life blends together traditional practices and other informal elements, which is why it’s often described as a hybrid event. It gives family and friends an opportunity to share happy memories and celebrate all that the person was.

Another notable difference is the location of these memorial services. A funeral service is typically held in a funeral home or church. In contrast, while it’s still possible, it’s rare to find a celebration of life that is held at a funeral home. These events are typically held at locations that have significance to the deceased, such as their home or the place where they usually hang out.

Benefits of Setting Up Celebrations of Life

In case you’re not that familiar with a celebration of life and would want to know more about it, we’ve listed some benefits that could help you determine if it’s something you would like to consider:

Grieving in Your Own Way

With celebrations of life, you can let go of the activities that you can usually see at a traditional funeral. This gives you more room to be creative in celebrating the life of the deceased loved one.

Creating a Positive and Uplifting Atmosphere

Since this memorial service is all about celebrating the life of the deceased, it is easier to have a positive and uplifting atmosphere. It can also help to create a more cohesive atmosphere, as everyone will likely be in good spirits while sharing memories and stories.

Focusing on the Life Lived, Not the Death

When it comes to this kind of memorial service, the focus is not on mourning death but on celebrating the deceased loved one’s life. Celebrations of life events are not a gathering to make family members, co-workers, and neighbors sad, but an event to celebrate the life lived by the person who you are all there for.

Allowing More Flexibility in Planning

Traditional funeral service options are limited and can be expensive. However, a celebration of life services offers more flexibility in planning and budget. You can hold the event at a significant location for the deceased, like a park or restaurant. You can also include activities that reflect their personality or interests.

Bringing People Together

A celebration of life service is an opportunity to bring people together who may not have seen each other in years. It allows for a time of reunion and reminiscing. Celebrations of life provide a time of healing and closure for those who are grieving.

Why Celebrations of Life Services Are Better

Aside from its many advantages, another important thing to know about celebrations of life is that they’re usually held days or weeks after the deceased has been buried or cremated. This gives you more time to prepare the event and make it memorable compared to traditional funerals.

If you’re interested in coordinating a celebration of life for yourself or a loved one, Eternally Loved will help.