When a loved one dies, a celebration of life service is just as appropriate to have as a funeral or memorial. While the latter focuses on saying goodbye and mourning the deceased person, the former celebrates his or her life.
Holding a Celebration of Life Service
This type of service is usually held in lieu of a funeral; however family and friends typically convene for this gathering weeks or sometimes months later. The mood is more upbeat and casual in comparison to a traditional funeral as it is held to help bring closure to the loved one’s death.
When planning a celebration of life service, decide on your guest list before selecting your venue. This commemoration can include many of your loved one’s family, friends and colleagues or be more intimate. Smaller services are traditionally held in a private home or outdoor garden or park. Larger celebrations of life are best in a rented hall or funeral home.
A celebration of life service is not a somber event. Guests are typically over their initial shock and grief about their loved one’s death and many are ready to celebrate his or her life! Unlike funerals, this type of service doesn’t have a set format to which to adhere.
Ideas for Celebration of Life Services
Since there are no rules or guidelines regarding the format of a celebration of life service, here are few ideas to consider when planning one:
Memory table: Display photos, scrapbooks and personal items about your loved one. For example, if he or she was a member of the military, you can display the uniform, American flag, medals or commendations, pictures, discharge papers, letters, etc.
Video slideshow: Typically one of the more emotional aspects of a celebration of life service, a video slideshow outlining the deceased person’s life is a beautiful sentiment to add to this event. Include childhood photos, as well as those showing your loved one at his or her best. Consider making copies of the slideshow to hand out to callers as a keepsake.
Memorial notecards: On colorful card stock or index cards, guests can write a note to the family or their favorite memory of the person who died. These are then placed in a special memory box or bag and kept for future generations to read.
Plantable seed cards: Personalized cards containing embedded flower seeds are a nice keepsake for callers. Once planted, the blooming flowers will remind the guests of the loved one who died. Elegant Memorials has a wonderful selection of cards from which to choose.
Balloon release: Using biodegradable balloons, have guests launch them into the sky at the same time. This is a typical activity when celebrating the life of a child who died.
Remember to take your time when planning a celebration of life service. If need be, enlist the help of a family member or friend so the burden isn’t completely on your shoulders. This is a time to celebrate, not to be overwhelmed.