A Celebration of Life Service
What is a Celebration of Life?
An increasing amount of families are choosing to plan a ceremony that celebrates the unique life and personality of their loved one, rather than mourn the loss of them. A celebration of life acts as an alternative to a traditional funeral service, as it achieves the same purposes as a traditional funeral by gathering family and friends to honor the deceased. However, a celebration of life has a more uplifting atmosphere that reflects on positive stories and memories involving your loved one. The main benefit of a celebration of life service is that it allows you the freedom to best display your loved one’s personality, values, and passions, in whichever way you see appropriate.
The best way to start planning a celebration of life is to begin so while your loved one is still with you. This way you have the chance to ask them, “how do you want to be remembered?”, “what are you most passionate about?”, and of course, “what would you like your celebration of life to include?”. This way you are not left guessing what your loved one would want when it comes time to plan the celebration of life service.
Celebrations of Life vs. Funerals
Both a funeral and celebration of life services serve as a way for families to acknowledge the passing of a loved one and say goodbye. Although, there are also many contrasts between the two ceremonies which commonly leads a family to have preference over one.
A traditional funeral strictly follows common rituals and customs, and is usually a more structured ceremony. Typically, it has four main parts: the visitation, the funeral service, the committal service, and the funeral reception. For those looking for a sense of spirituality, religion, or tradition, we suggest holding a traditional funeral service rather than a celebration of life.
There is more freedom in the planning process when choosing a celebration of life service. Essentially, this type of ceremony can include whatever you think is appropriate to represent and honor your loved one. The purpose of this service is to showcase the story of your loved one’s life and celebrate what made them unique and special.
In most cases, a celebration of life ceremony is held after the body has already been cared for. This allows you and your family more time to come together and plan a service that includes input from everyone. It is common for families to hold a celebration of life weeks or even months after their loved one has been cared for. This flexibility ensures you can schedule for a date that allows all family and friends to attend. On the other hand, a traditional funeral generally takes place a couple days after death for the specific purpose of burial and a graveside ceremony.
Celebration of Life Ideas
Below we've provided some celebration of life ideas that you could incorporate into the service. We hope these examples accurately demonstrate the level of creativity you can include and how personalized you can make the ceremony.
Maybe your loved one had a passion for painting. If so, you could consider planning a paint night where all of your loved one's friends and family can gather together to each paint a picture in their memory. You could even use your loved one's painting equipment to feel a closer connection. This is a chance for everyone to come together to share memories about your loved one, while also getting a tangible keepsake.
The Sports Lover
If your loved one was a devoted sports fan of a particular team or avidly played a sport themselves, consider focusing the celebration of life around that team or sport. An idea for this could be organizing a golf or baseball tournament in honour of your loved one, or even attending a game of their favourite team.
If your loved one enjoyed tasting or trying new recipes, you may want to consider organizing a dinner party that serves their favourite foods. The dinner party can be at someone’s home or at the deceased’s favourite restaurant. Family and friends can then feel connected to the deceased through the food that they loved, as well as being together to share stories and memories of their loved one.