It can be difficult to take a step back and consider what a fitting farewell to a loved one looks like. Would they prefer a solemn and traditional memorial service, or is a celebration of life more their style? There are people who bring to mind a stately and elegant service, with all the depth of feeling that they brought to life. Yet others lived life so passionately that even in death you cannot imagine sending them off except with a massive celebration that would have appalled someone else. Along with planning your service, keep in mind there are many items that are needed for your initial meeting with the funeral director, a list that you can find here.

What is a Celebration of Life Service?

A celebration of life service is typically held  after burial or cremation, in place of the more traditional memorial. Be clear: this is not necessarily considered a somber even. A celebration of life can be different things to different people. It can include all kinds of emotions, with individuals coming together to laugh, cry, talk and share the good times that they enjoyed with the deceased. This can be either an intimate service or one that is enjoyed with a broader base of family, friends, church members or even business associates and may be held in the family home or in a rented facility – but rarely if ever are these celebrations held in a funeral home.

Checklist for A Memorial or Celebration of Life

Depending on the personality of the deceased, a celebration of life can take a number of different directions, however they are all meant to pull family and friends together in a common place. Memorial services are much more traditional, but still contain most of the same elements.

  • Speakers: This includes the officiant and anyone else you would like to allow time for.
  • Refreshments: Don’t be afraid to assign a family member or close friend to coordinate food and drinks. They will be happy to help, and it’s one less thing for you to think about.
  • Music: Can be either recorded or live, and is generally in a style that the deceased enjoyed. Keep in mind any special singers or instrumentalists that would make the service more personal.
  • Video Slideshow: It is quite popular for a service of remembrance to include a video slideshow, which gives the family and friends an opportunity to remember a life well-lived. Consider making the slideshow available to others upon request.
  • Memory Table: The deceased likely had a full life, with mementos of special times. Include military memorabilia, pictures or special crafts or small hobbies.
  • Guestbook: Most funerals or celebrations of life offer a form of guestbook to allow attendees to leave their name and offer sentiments in written form.

Creating the memorial service or celebration of life  can be a beautiful way to remember your loved one, and help share the wonderful facets of their personality with family and friends.