In July 2014, my soul mate and life partner was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Over the next 7 months, he was involved with chemotherapy treatments, doctor appointments, transfusions and other necessary appointment and along with my full time job, I was his supporter, caretaker, appointment keeper, planner and personal assistant for every aspect of his life. I was provided the gift of extra energy and it came from my dedication and love for Vince. I was intent on Vince’s final months to be the best possible and for things to be as smooth as possible without his need to worry or want for anything.
On January 31, 2015, Vince took his last breath, and I felt an exhaustion that came from those months of service to him. I was also struck with a deep sense of loss, pain and sorrow that came from the realization that he was no longer here. This is when Melissa Rainey entered my life with the sensitivity and energy to do what I was not able to do…plan for his memorial service.
Melissa gave me room to be involved with any part of the ceremony that I wanted, and there were some areas that I couldn’t do. I wanted to create a slide show, and I knew the location of where he wanted his memorial service to be held. We knew that we needed room for at least 300 people, as Vince was loved by many. Melissa took care of all the areas of the service that I would not have known how to do. She put together all the pieces of the puzzle that were necessary for a beautiful event. She found the best prices for the brochures and flower arrangements for the service. I gave her the pictures and verses that I wanted on the brochure. I knew I wanted food, but Melissa acquired a wonderful caterer as well as started a funding account so that it would not cost me anything. She took charge and planned an amazing service with speakers, coordination with the church, chaplain involvement, coordination with family and a release of doves. I only needed to arrive at the church and do my part of the service in the eulogy.
I would not have been able to coordinate and organize the “Celebration of Life and Love” if Melissa was not there to organize everything. She was truly a gift to me during a time when I needed support and direction. She was dedicated for things to go as smooth as possible and effortless for me on a day when I was immersed in emotion and focused on my loss. The end product was memorable, tasteful and something we all could carry with us.Marsha Mathews
Melissa did a great job coordinating with vendors to ensure that our family memorial service went according to plan. She arrived early on the day of the event to set everything up, confirm that work orders were filled correctly, and acted as the point of contact for all purposes. We appreciated having someone carry the weight of the logistical components of this event so that we could focus on our family’s needs.Linaja D.
We worked with Eternally Loved to pre-plan a “Celebration of Life” event. I thought it would be uncomfortable and emotional but it wasn’t. Melissa walked us through the whole process, from determining the kind of event we wanted and selecting the venue to assembling the mailing list and photo slide show. She helped us make selections for every aspect of the celebration. Melissa covered all the details and I know the celebration will be exactly the kind of party I would want it to be. I wholeheartedly endorse Melissa and her company.Erik Ackroyd
Lake Elsinore, CA
Melissa provides an amazing service. In dealing with the emotional and physical exhaustion of grief, it was a great comfort to know that someone else was taking care of all the large and small details for my dad’s celebration of life — from the playlist to tissues on the table to setting up the memory tables to liaising with the venue to finding and coordinating with our officiant. We only had two weeks to plan — with Christmas and New Years during that time period — an event for 200 people and Melissa embraced that challenge wholeheartedly.Melanie Ho
Unfortunately, my husband died on September 7th. Fortunately, I met with Melissa Rainey shortly afterwards & the added burden / stress of trying to plan a fitting tribute to celebrate the life of my David was taken from my shoulders. Melissa has excellent organizational skills & time management skills that will keep you moving forward in achieving your goal of having a beautiful memorial service for your loved one. From the first meeting where she gathers information about what you envision for the memorial service & provides ideas/suggestions of what additional things may be possible to the final hour of your service, she will oversee everything so that you can truly just be present on the day of the event.
Melissa interfaced with all of the vendors necessary to have those things I wanted at the celebration of life, kept me on schedule so that things were not hectic for me prior to our memorial date, set up everything on the day of the event, watched over me during the event to make sure that I had a drink & eventually ate something, & broke down / cleaned up everything after the event was over. She was able to accomplish all of this while keeping me under my budget. I will be eternally grateful to Eternally Loved & Melissa for doing the heavy lifting of planning the celebration of life for my husband. Thanks Melissa!Janet H. Cardiff
If your reading this review you’re probably dealing with the loss of your loved one, and feeling overwhelmed by the thought of even having to plan a service right now. That’s how I was feeling, and honestly I didn’t know where to start. I knew for certain that my Mom wouldn’t want a typical doom and gloomy funeral home service. It didn’t fit her bright, positive and full of life personality. Coming across Melissa’s website was heaven sent.
I’m going to try to cover as much information as possible that you may be wondering (at least I was) starting with cost. I am defiantly not rich, and was intimidated by hiring a celebration of life planner because I thought for certain it would rack up quickly. Melissa meet my husband and I at our home for the consultation. I told her what my visions were, and my budget. She let us know that she pays all fee’s upfront for EVERYTHING, then we pay her back. That was a huge relief … and gave us time to sort out finances. When it was all said and done, we were $3,500 UNDER our max budget, and I still got everything I wanted (market lighting, tables/chairs/linens, mic/speakers, projector screen, parking attendant, porter potty, officiant, guitar player, flowers, food/drink, blow up prints and ect!!!!)
As far as working with Melissa, she is a dream! She’s quick, she gets it, no nonsense, and truly works her ass off so that you are able to deal with your loss without added stress. She answered all my text and emails almost instantly, she didn’t mind that I changed my mind 100 times on song playlist, she was always prompt (actually, she was early to every encounter we had) and she just all around knows how to run her business.
The outcome of my Mom’s celebration of life ceremony was absolutely beautiful. I’m sure she is so proud, and I just can’t believe it actually played out how I envisioned. We certainly couldn’t have pulled it off without Melissa. Thank you!Cat S
San Diego, CA
Words really can’t describe how thankful I am that my sister and I came across Melissa online. Never in the world did I think that I would need to plan my husbands memorial service at such a young age and so unexpectedly. Melissa was extremely professional, energetic, honest, caring and readily available for all the many questions that come into planning a celebration of life but yet has a seamless way to make it feel as stress free as it could be. All the while being sympathetic to your needs and wishes. I couldn’t have asked for a better turn out!Ryan R.
Santa Fe Hills, San Marcos, CA
Melissa was a god send to put together this ceremony to honor my domestic partner of 36 years. She stayed well within my budget request. She was very organized and quickly made adjustments when needed. It was flawless and enjoyed by 70 guests.Jeff S
Santa Fe Hills, San Marcos, CA
Melissa jumped right in with compassion and expertise. After losing my son a year ago, I was finally able to gather “some” strength to give his Life here on Earth a Celebration to share with his close friends and vice versa. Melissa took over and handled erything perfectly, she helped me give Casey James the honor he deserves. Detailed and Perfection, I would recommend Melissa Rainey to anyone thinking about hiring a planner. She gets the job done and will give you the best service on ant budget. Thank you Melissa.Kathy R
My sister and I were living out of town so Melissa was left to plan and arrange everything. It all went without a hitch and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
Our mother’s celebration of life was professional, had a lot of lovely staging touches, like I could just say “I would have put a little glass of seashells just there, yes”.
At least I might have said that if I’d thought about it. But I didn’t have to because Melissa did all the thinking for me. Honestly, I was probably her laziest customer, not getting back to her in time, not wanting to make decisions so she’d have to instead. She dealt with my laziness with the utmost professionalism.Robert C
San Francisco, CA
I had not planned on hiring a planner for my mom’s memorial, but WOW, I am so grateful I did! Melissa was fabulous and easy to work with. Very organized, paid great attention to detail, and made a stressful event into something I actually enjoyed. She created a heartwarming video with music and tons of family pictures. Created the memorial program that we passed out to our guests. Made memorial tables with all my mom’s favorite things and photos. Everyone has remarked that they were very impressed with the memorial. I would have been a lunatic if I was managing this myself! Melissa made it possible to just show up and enjoy the day. Worth every penny!Mean P
When my mother passed away my sister and I were so filled with grief we didn’t know where to start to plan a celebration of life. We hired Melissa from eternally loved and she went to work! She planned the most beautiful celebration of life that really showcased my mom’s entire life! The decorating was top notch. She thought of so many beautiful details that really showed the love we have for her! Everyone attending kept saying how beautiful and full of love it had been and what a great job you girls did I had to stop them and tell them it was all Melissa! We were able to grieve our mom and just be present at her celebration of life! It was a gift having her insight and love for helping others in times of need. I would highly recommend her to anyone wanting to celebrate there loved one. She was amazing! Thanks again Melissa!Wendy J
Our family recently held a “Celebration of Life” party for my husband who passed away late August. We were referred to Melissa Rainey with Eternally Loved and she was perfect!
She arrived at our home and proceeded to “interview” me about my husband’s hobbies and interests so that she could come up with a theme to best represent him at the party. For example, my husband was retired Navy, an avid writer and reader, and a marathon runner. So she had memory tables set up with these themes which were complimented by many photos blown up and framed throughout. She is very detail oriented! She also made arrangements for food, beverages, room design with table set up and coordinated with everyone, including speakers. We had around 75 guests attend and all commented on how interesting and moving everything was.
She made all of the arrangements plus did all of the legwork in such a short time! All I had to do was show up — which was perfect. I cannot recommend her highly enough.Alex B
Melissa was so helpful in planning our mom’s celebration of life after her passing. Melissa stepped in just under 2 weeks before our set date and was always three or four steps ahead of our own thought process (and caught/suggested things we hadn’t even considered yet). We can be quite particular in our preferences and vision and she did a great job of respecting that and supporting us. She is very fair, direct, talented, professional, quick to start, and always in communication with updates. You can tell she genuinely cares about helping with the process and goes out of her way to be of assistance. We would definitely recommend her to anyone planning an important event especially when you and your family are feeling overwhelmed and grieving. We also have to say that her slideshow was incredible and she made a bunch of edits and a couple of different versions to get it just right for us. We can’t say enough about how great she was to work with. Thank you, Melissa!Georgia D
La Jolla, CA
I recently contacted Eternally Loved to help me plan a living celebration for my mother. Due to the medical condition of my Mom, we needed to plan this event within one week’s time. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW. I found Melissa’s company on line and reached out to her after contacting a few other people. Eternally Loved was so efficient, compassionate, responsive and made what most would consider a difficult event such an amazing experience. My Mom felt absolutely loved and cherished and to have close to 100 people get together and to plan such an incredible evening on such short notice, I would ONLY recommend Melissa and Eternally Loved. I can assure you that I will be contacting Melissa again for future events. This was a 5 star experience and everyone that attended could not believe the level of sophistication and detail while managing to keep costs UNDER BUDGET. Thank you Melissa! You made this one of the best days and memories of my life and for my Mother!Kevin S
San Diego, CA
This review for Melissa is long overdue. It was difficult. Not because of the job well done. More so a devastating reminder of the loss of our 23 year old son to leukemia.
Last November, our son won his battle against cancer and went into the loving arms of God. Since he was receiving treatment outside our home area of San Diego, we decided to wait a bit to have his Celebration of Life in order for all his friends and (our) family to be able to attend.
Since we did not know where to begin, we began to search for someone who could help us put this together on the internet. After reading a few reviews on each listing we found, we decided to put our faith in Melissa to help us put together a grand celebration that our son deserved knowing we were expecting well over 500 people to attend.
Contacting Melissa was easy. She is a very good listener. She listened and asked questions at the appropriate times – allowing us the time to express our grief in midst of discussing our plans.
After signing her contract (and giving her the required deposit), which is rather straightforward and without hidden charges, Melissa was off and running with helping us arrange this beautiful event.
She took charge from the very beginning. Not in a pushy way. Just gave us an outline of what needed to be done and a timeline for each item. She allowed us to participate in the things we wanted to be an active part of and took charge of things which we didn’t want to deal with.
Ours was a rather large event (relatively speaking), and with over 500 guests and 1000+ live viewers (yes, we had it broadcasted live), we initially had our doubts of Melissa’s capabilities. After all, she’s just one person we thought. How can she put this all together, we thought. To our pleasant surprise, this is exactly what she did.
Melissa is EXTREMELY organized. She knows when to push, and when to back off. Her communications skills are extraordinary – keeping us apprised of all the items in our checklist. This included the following: Invitations, social media, floral arrangements, coordinating with caterers, musicians, the church and its staff, parking (valet attendants), dove release, setting up of tables and floral arrangements, breaking down, post-celebration cleanup of the church grounds, memorabilia tables, program printouts, layout of seating for guests and family, audio/video checks, rehearsals of performers and speakers, lighting and many telephone calls and emails back and forth to so many who were involved in putting this celebration together. She really put in the time – probably more than what we had agreed to in her contract.
She even offered to pick up family and friends from the airport just so we would not stress about the many details that went into this celebration. She kept on telling us, “let me take care of everyting so that you can be with your friends and family in celebrating your son”. Being a businessman, this was hard to do in the beginning; but I chose to “let go” and trust Melissa.
Let me just say this. She was amazing. As sad as the occasion was, the celebration turned out amazing and HUGE success – one which our son deserved. Melissa took charge of everything. She was there the day of super early. Making sure all was set up correctly and in the end of the ceremony broken down in a timely manner per the venue requirements. To date, we have had hundreds of guests tell us they have never seen a Celebration of Life like the one we had for our son; that, that is what they would want for themselves when their time comes. Melissa was a huge part of this and we are ETERNALLY GRATEFUL to Melissa and her business Eternally Loved. Melissa, sorry for this long overdue but well deserved review. We hope we never have to use you again in the near future, but for what you offer, you are an angel to those who are grieving and don’t know where to begin. With love. Jim, Bonnie, Jessica, Sandy, and our entire family. Blessings.Jim M
When we decided to do a Celebration of Life for my wife of 51 years, who passed away in July, my daughters and I thought we would organize it ourselves. Then we saw Melissa’s web site and decide we really needed help. Melissa was wonderful. During her initial visit she interviewed us to find out about my wife. She helped us decide on a venue (our house), then she provided all sorts of ideas to implement the music theme we wanted. Although our gathering was small (17 people) Melissa took care of all the organizational details, including flowers, food, Memory Tables, a slide show of photographs, seating, and keepsakes, with our approval of course. On the day of the Celebration she did all of the setup and the cleanup so we could participate fully in the Celebration and be proper hosts for our guests. We just couldn’t have pulled it off without Melissa.Robert J
San Marcos, CA
Melissa took all of the details of our celebration of life ceremony from our plate and handled everything meticulously. During this time of grief, the last thing we need to do is to worry about details of planning a ceremony and every little detail involved in preparing and executing a proper send-off for our loved one.
We met with Melissa and discussed our thoughts and received many great recommendations from her. We had a few follow up phone calls and emails and she handled everything from a tearful photo montage of our loved one, a memory table complete with pictures and mementos for guests to take home, music, food, setting up chairs and tables, then removing them, handled the caterer, the minister and all details to make it a very memorable event.
I can’t thank Melissa enough for taking this on and making it a great celebration and handling this occasion from start to finish. I would highly recommend the services of Eternally Loved.Ron B
Lemon Grove, CA
I am writing this 5 star review for someone who truly went above and beyond to assist me and my family in our time of grief over my brothers passing. Melissa handled everything from the flowers, slideshow, décor, candles, tables, set up and break down, pictures, music, caterer and reverend who led the service. Melissa made CD’s of songs to give away to family and friends and set up a play list for after the service during the reception. Every detail was respected according to our wishes and given Melissa’s extensive experience, she was able to ask questions and make suggestions because she has helped others before me. Her gentle nature and kind attention to my brother’s life really showed in every detail. It was truly breath taking and so honoring of the person he was and the life he lived. We sent him out in style! I am sure he was there and enjoyed seeing us gather in his memory with love in our hearts! Thank you Melissa. Because you took care of the details, I was really free to be present and in the moment with my family and friends. Working with you on the memorial service so helped me to remember the very best parts of my brother’s life and grieve in the process.Debra S
Lemon Grove, CA
When my mother passed suddenly, I was overwhelmed with everything that had to be done. I wanted to host a celebration of life but did not think I could pull it off. Luckily, I found Melissa and her company. Melissa did all of the work and made a difficult process much easier.
I cannot say enough good things about Melissa. She goes the extra mile to create and event that honors your loved. Everyone was extremely impressed with how well Melissa captured the essence of my mom’s life. I was particularly touched by the slide show and all of the personalized details.
Melissa will take care of all of the details and allow you the space and time to grieve and celebrate your loved one. I recommend Melissa and Eternally Loved for anyone who needs assistance with event planning and particularly with a celebration of life.Matt B
San Diego, CA
We contacted Melissa because we were feeling very overwhelmed in dealing with the loss of a loved one. She was very diligent, attentive to all the details and allowed our family to enjoy the celebration of life our father Bill Isles former member of The Mighty, Mighty O’Jays R.I.P.Donnell I.
San Diego, CA
Melissa Rainey assisted my husband and me plan (well) in advance for a “Celebration of Life.” The process was smooth, organized and very straight forward. Melissa listened carefully to our requests and concerns, and addressed them all. She has a large pool of contacts and resources, and put together a package that reflected our wishes and personalities. For those requests that were a little outside the norm, Melissa did the research and came back to us with a range of options from which to choose. It’s a relief to me to know that when the time comes, all of the decisions have already been made and everything I need is organized and in one place. I’m so grateful to Melissa for helping us plan for the future.Judith Hartwig
Lake Elsinore, CA
Eternally Loved came into my family’s life during one of the most difficult times of our life. My mom’s fiancé died within 7 months of being diagnosed with liver cancer. It was devastating and my mother and I were walking around in shock and disbelief. Eternally Loved helped us with EVERYTHING! We had help with putting together a phenomenal ceremony within our budget, from organizing thousands of pictures, making a sentimental keepsake, flower arrangements, organizing the whole schedule of the ceremony including making sure speakers go there on time, and so on. The price that Eternally Loved was worth to our family was priceless, and it gave my mother and I time to grieve and take in the experience of celebrating our beloved Vince’s life.Merissa Mathews
When I lost my cat Ottis, I was absolutely devastated! My black cat had been my best friend for close to 20 years…. Ottis had been through so many of my life phases and I always felt comfort from him. He moved with me to different places, even Alaska at one point. He brought me so much happiness and I can only hope that I gave him a good life.
I wanted to celebrate his life and I was not sure how to go about it. I also felt a little bit silly– do people have funerals for their pets? That is when I did some research and found Eternally Loved. From the moment I started talking to Melissa, I could tell my healing began–she expressed her condolences and assured me that it was important to celebrate and honor his life. I did not have to do a thing aside from answering some questions and providing photos. Melissa took care of everything and she created a fantastic event. It was small and beautiful… some of my closest friends were there and shared my tears. I was so grateful to Melissa for thinking of every detail — I am horrible at planning anything and I did not have to worry about anything!Stephanie Ackroyd
A few weeks ago my brother passed away suddenly, my family was in mourning and I needed to put together his service from the other side of the country. I found and called Melissa and she really made what seemed impossible come together in a matter of days. She found a minister (Blair Tabor) that our family took an instant liking to and she arranged so many details that we would not have considered on our own. As a result we were able to have a beautiful service for my brother attended by nearly 100 people. She is not only fast and detail oriented but cost conscience and friendly. I felt very lucky to find her.Marc Tkach
Melissa stepped in with very little notice to help us organize and provide ideas for our mother’s celebration of life. She is a real pro, and put the polish on all the arrangements. The service was beautiful and meaningful. What a comfort to have such a beautiful memory. We are grateful for and highly recommend Melissa’s services.Diane M
San Marcos, CA
Melissa was wonderful. From the gate she listened, she sympathized, she supported. I honestly don’t know how we would have honored our mother without Melissa’s help. Melissa is a calming, creative, loving person who rolled with last minute changes due to people, weather, and our whims. We highly recommend Melissa.Tricia J G
Mellissa coordinated my friend’s celebration of life recently, and she did an amazing job. She was involved in every planning detail, and she was there on the day of the event to work from beginning to end. The event was beautiful in every way, and there was absolutely no stress placed on the family members regarding the execution of the event plan. No way she does this for the money! This is obviously a passion for her. We are very grateful to her.Leonard M
After losing my mother in June the thought of trying to plan anything was overwhelming. Finding Melissa and Eternally Loved was a gift from above. She made the entire processes of planning and executing the Celebration of Life with 125+ guests just about effortless. We loved the entire event and I know that my mother would have too. Our guests were blown away by all of the thoughtful details, that never would have been executed without Melissa. She planned a wedding reception level event in 30 days. I would not only tell others to use her, but I would use her myself to plan another event.Lori M
San Diego, Ca
Melissa did an amazing job with our Celebration of Life I had for my parents!! The memory tables she did at our luncheon brought them both to life and were complimented by all our guests. She was very easy to work with and very knowledgeable and helpful!! I lived out of town and Melissa provided flowers and photos for a memorial service at Miramar and memory tables, a memory box and beautiful take home book marks at a luncheon following the memorial service. I highly recommend Melissa no matter how little or great your needs are!Jeanine R
Eternally Loved is awesome! Melissa is awesome! Service is awesome! If you want a wonderful tribute to your loved ones, look no further then Eternally loved.Eric C
I was very impressed with the professionalism that Melissa had in organizing this Celebration of Life for a friend. It was comforting to the family to know that everything went as planned and actually, exceeded expectations.Lydia Z