A celebration of life is a planned service that provides an opportunity for family and friends to pay tribute to you in a uniquely personal way. These services are commonly held after physical remains have been cared for through burial or cremation. As your loved ones will be grieving, a celebration of life can bring closure or guide your family and friends toward a path of healing; in fact, many loved ones find these services to be a cathartic experience.
Celebration of Life
A celebration of life service tells the story of your life. These events are a gathering of family and friends to celebrate the unique personality and achievements of the deceased. When you plan a celebration of life service, you and your loved ones can be extremely creative; certainly more so than when planning funeral arrangements.
A Memorial Service Versus a Celebration of Life
A memorial service has a religious undertone, and typically these services are planned shortly after you have passed. If you are not religious, or a memorial service does not fit with your personality, perhaps you should consider a celebration of life service. The wonderful thing about a celebration service is that it can be anything you want. In your estate plan, which can be uploaded to your HereToday Vault, you can pre-plan a service that helps loved ones honor the joy and love you brought to family, friends, and community. This service is solely about your life, love, and accomplishments.
Memorials and celebrations of life have a lot in common, however they often appear very different. Each service is a ceremony where people gather to honor a loved one; whereas a memorial is rooted in tradition and religion, a celebration of life does not necessarily have a religious tone. Ultimately, both services help bereaved family members and friends publicly acknowledge the death of a loved one.
Planning a Celebration of Life
As you sit down to plan a celebration of life service, don’t forget to think about your loved one’s emotional needs. Most importantly, a celebration of life event can be anything you’d like. Elements of the event to consider include the location, date of service, and how the event will be conducted.
To help get you started, here are just a few ideas to consider.
- In lieu of sending flowers, ask loved ones to donate funds to a charity or scholarship.
- Ask loved ones to share a story or memory with the other attendees. Provide note cards for members who wish to write down a memory and share it privately with your family.
- For many people, music was an important part of their life. Create and share a list of your favorite songs and bands. You can also include a list of your favorite playlists in the HereToady Legacy Vault.
- Are you an avid collector? Perhaps a selection of items can be displayed at your service.
- Provide food and beverages. Loved ones will ensure your favorite dishes are served.
- Encourage loved ones to submit photos or videos of you enjoying a favorite activity. These images can be displayed on a memory board or table, or even on a memorial website. Consider having a video or slideshow created for presentation at the service.
- A popular activity at a celebration of life service is a balloon release. Also consider tossing wildflower seeds into a field or planting memorial trees.
- Fireworks and floating lanterns are a part of many cultural celebrations. At your service, loved ones could enjoy a fireworks display, or release sky lanterns to honor your life.
Overview: Honoring Your Legacy
Traditional memorials can feel very heavy and somber. If this doesn’t represent how you lived your life, or if it seems to not be the best way to remember you, perhaps a celebration of life would be more representative. During the service, loved ones can focus on the joy you brought to the world.
There are many ways loved ones can honor your legacy. Your life and experiences are unique to you, just as a celebration of life will be personalized to reflect you. If you are able to plan with your family, we encourage you to discuss your wishes with loved ones as early as possible; as always, document your plans and wishes in an estate plan. Also, as you explore options for the service, consider elements that will help your attendees with their spiritual and emotional needs for healing.
Disclaimer. HereToday is not a legal service. This content should not be taken as legal advice. Before drafting any legal document, please consult an attorney.