“Life is what you celebrate.
All of it. Even in its end.”

~ Joann Harris

Planning A Celebration Of Life For Your Loved One

Celebrations of life are typically held after the burial or cremation of a loved one. They can be wonderful events for helping you celebrate the life of someone you loved dearly. To begin planning, sit down with your family members and friends to explore some ideas together. For your convenience, there is a “planning a celebration of life checklist” included in this tool.

Here are some points that you may want to discuss:

What is our budget?

Before you can begin planning, talk with your family and friends to decide on a budget that you can all agree upon. Once you know how much you have available to spend, you will have a better idea of how you want to honour your loved one and what you want to include in the celebration of life.

Time and Location?

Where, and when will the event take place? If you have family members that live out of town, you may want to factor their travel time into the planning of the date.

Who will lead the event?

Even though a celebration of life is more casual than a funeral service, it is a good idea to choose someone to lead the event. This person can serve as the MC and help the event run smoothly. This person can be a friend, family member or religious/spiritual leader.

Food and beverages:

Food and drinks are an important part of any event. A great idea might be to ask guests bring a dish that your loved one really enjoyed. You may want to create a list to make sure that you have a variety of dishes. A potluck style event will save money and also make everyone a part of the celebration of life. Be sure to have plenty of coffee, tea and water.

What audio and visual equipment will be needed?

Technology can play an important part in honouring your loved one. Memorial videos, slideshows, and music playlists will create a warm atmosphere of remembrance.

Inviting guests:

You can create a guest list and send out invitations, or you could create an event using a social media platform such as Facebook. Either way, ask people to RSVP so you know how much food and beverages you will need for the celebration of life.

What types of activities will happen?

To make the celebration of life special, you may wish to have a crafting activity in honour of your loved one. For example, you could paint rocks in your loved one’s memory, plant some flowers or a tree, create an angel memento or a jar with a candle in it.

Some other activities you may want to include:

  • Memory board
  • Tribute video
  • A balloon or lantern release
  • Have a guest book
  • Guest readings
  • Poetry readings
  • Singing of hymns or special songs
  • Storytelling or sharing of memories

Memorial keepsakes:

You can provide guests with a memento of your loved one if you like such as a fridge magnet, bookmark or even a package of seeds with a special message.