Amidst trial and grief, a celebration of life is a joyful yet soft, heartfelt way to commemorate your dearly departed.
Considering there are no rules, standard venues, dress code, or even the assistance of a professional like a funeral director, planning a tribute such as a celebration of life can feel overwhelming.
But it doesn’t have to be. Let us help you plan the most beautiful of celebrations with these essential steps!
Select A Theme And Venue
With any celebration, a theme and a venue go hand-in-hand. To determine either, it helps to consider the departed’s wishes and how to honor their memory in the way they desired! If there are no wishes to direct you, assess your loved one’s interests, hobbies, ideals, and beliefs, as these can help you determine what activity, theme, or venue will serve as a fitting tribute.
Incorporating the theme into the venue is vital for the overall atmosphere of the celebration. While celebrations of life can virtually be done anywhere, from your own home to even a beachfront, what guides us when making venue-related decisions is whether the location is of significance to the deceased. This can make the celebration more meaningful for a final farewell.
Decorating the venue with colorful glass art, backdrops, memorial urns, or glass art with ashes and ample lighting is another way to add an element of celebration to a solemn occasion. Lastly, ensure that the venue is accessible and large enough to accommodate your guests.
Selecting The Special Date
In choosing a date for your celebration, make sure that the date is not set on a busy work week. The best option is to set it on a weekend or a long holiday so that all your guests have ample time to clear their schedules (if necessary) and prepare for their trip.
Sending your celebration of life invitations through mail or after the funeral service is a good choice. This process is easier to do, thanks to the advent of social media, specifically Facebook, where you can create an event page.
These event pages can be customized with the event details, such as the time and location of the event, and can even have a selection panel for friends and family to confirm their attendance.
Creating A Guest List
This is perhaps the most difficult step of the process—creating a guest list for your event. Ensuring all people special to the deceased are present on their special day of commemoration is no easy feat.
Brainstorm with your family and the deceased’s best friends to determine who should be invited to the celebration. While it’s important to note that everybody is welcome in a celebration of life, certain constraints such as venue capacity and budget will affect who you shortlist. Depending on your preference, the guest list can be as short or as long as you’d like as long as you see it proper for the celebration.
Start by listing the very important people to the deceased, those who had meaningful connections and a deep impact on their lives, whether family or friends. After this shortlist, extend the listing to other people in the deceased’s life, such as neighbors, colleagues, and former classmates. As much as a celebration of life is for everybody, it’s best to have the venue in mind so that you may set a limit to your guest list.
Designing The Program
A celebration of life usually does not have any formal structure as it’s largely a communal get-together. That said, it’s always good to have a flow of activities to ensure everything goes smoothly!
Your program can be as short or as long as you prefer. Design a presentation to portion out the events effectively, as these can be displayed with a projector or LCD. These presentations can have segments for a video montage of the deceased’s life, complete with photos and music. Guests may also dedicate special performances of songs or dances that were significant to the deceased.
Some family and friends may also opt to share great stories of the deceased or make a toast to a life well-lived. Some guests may be shy to ask for a role, so it’s always best to approach them a few days in advance.
Setting Your Budget
Remember, the most important aspect of a celebration of life is the togetherness of the family and friends of the deceased. It’s about honoring the departed in the most meaningful and joyous way possible. But that does not mean being extravagant and going out of your means just to do so.
Celebrations of life can be simple or complex, depending on what you see fit. So begin by setting a limit to how much you are to spend. Take your liquidity, assets, and debt into the equation to ensure that your resources are stable before paying for the venue and, perhaps, the catering for the event.
List all expenses related to the event and allocate your budget accordingly. Items such as the venue, food and drinks, floral arrangements, photo books, and giveaways such as candles, keychains, or cremation glass art keepsakes are top priorities for the event.
Making The Celebration Delicious!
A celebration is not complete without food and drinks. More than just being refreshments and yummy goodness, food is a great way to commemorate a dearly departed one. By serving the deceased’s favorite food and drinks, one can remember the good times shared around the table when they were still with us.
While eating their favorite food and beverages, family and friends can discuss why the deceased loved these delicious items on the menu. These conversations help ease everybody’s grief. On the best occasions, it can even form stronger bonds and new friendships along the way.
More so, a celebration can also be culinary-themed if so desired. Guests can bring the deceased’s favorite dish as part of pot luck, or they can also participate in an intimate barbeque. These kinds of celebrations foster goodwill and unity among a group of grieving individuals and allow them to heal collectively.
With every aspect of the celebration planned, you are now ready to draft the invites.
Whether digital or printed, ensure that vital information for the celebration of life is indicated on the invitations. This would include the deceased’s name, birthday and date of death, landmarks, and instructions to get to the venue. You should also include the date and time of the celebration of life, and lastly, the dress code or any other special instructions you may have on the invite.
Giving Out Memorabilia
A great way to commemorate a departed loved one is to give tokens to your family and guests who attended the celebration of life. While this is optional, depending on your budget, celebrations of life usually give out gifts to those who were special to the deceased.
These memorabilia can range from the deceased’s favorite hobbies and interests. Some great examples include keychains, little statues, or even personalized items such as balls, bracelets, glass paperweights, or ashes jewelry.
Celebrations of life are unique ways to memorialize a deceased loved one forever. Make it special by planning the event thoroughly in their spirit and presenting family, friends, and loved ones with gorgeous, befitting keepsakes made from ashes.
Through life and grief, we hope this list helped you plan out your memorable celebration of life.