The news of a death tears us apart and often leaves us yearning for the last chance to say goodbye. Losing out on the opportunity to honor the deceased leaves us helpless.
If you’ve lost someone too, you already know the essence of grief and that mourning is a long process to recover. It is instead vital for us to reflect happy moments and focus on the good times.
The celebration of life service does exactly so by shifting the focus from death to a good life lived. It offers more fun and relaxed ways to pay tribute to your loved one. It also aims to highlight the joy that the deceased brought to other’s lives and celebrate his/her journey.
In doing so, it helps people cope up with death in a much optimistic way. Here’s a celebration of life service outline to help you understand better.
1. Type of Celebration of Life Service
Should your event be a stand-alone program? Should it ditch the regular customs? What should be the tone and setting of the ceremony?
When you plan for a celebration of life, it is essential to have these questions answered first. Following which, you can either choose a funeral service or a memorial service to pay tribute to the deceased.
While a funeral service can only be conducted just after death, a memorial can take place anytime.
2. Budget for the Celebration of Life Service
Do you have a budget in mind? Do you have the funds to sponsor the event as you want?
Having a budget is very important before you get into the details. More because it will help you narrow down the choices that you have. Also if you hire an organizer for the event, a budget will help them set reasonable goals for the ceremony.
The fund play an integral part in the service, and you should hence not ignore it.
3. Invitation List for the Celebration of Life Service
What is any celebration without people? Your celebration of life service should therefore have an invitation list.
While it is difficult to calculate the number of people who’d turn up, having an estimate would help a lot. Also, make sure you include everyone you think would be willing to come.
4. Location & Time for the Celebration of Life Service
A celebration of life service can take place anywhere from a backyard to a funeral house. The most desirable location would be a place that held significance in the deceased’s life.
If there are not many options available, you can always choose to conduct the service at funeral venues or local places.
5. Officiant for the Celebration of Life Service
The celebration of life service will need someone to conduct it.
If you’ve planned a significant event for the deceased, it is only wise to choose a celebrant for this, mostly because the celebrant can help you throughout and work with you to deliver it.
A celebrant is also the most common choice to oversee the whole celebration. However, if the deceased was religious, you can even opt for clergy or pastor to perform the service.
6. Speakers for the Celebration of Life Service
The ceremony involves speeches by the dear friends and acquaintances of the deceased. You can either invite anybody who wishes to express or select people who were very close to the dead.
In most cases, people volunteer themselves to speak at the celebration of life. Before they talk, you will also have to provide them guidance on what type of story to share.
Ask folks if they are okay with sharing their thoughts publicly. Your celebrant can even speak on anybody’s behalf if they wish to.
7. Activities for the Celebration of Life Service
The service consists of celebration-of-life activities related to the deceased. It instead focuses on activities that your loved one would have enjoyed doing.
Think about how your loved one would have liked spending their time. Decide on an activity that’d be a tribute to your loved one.
It could be anything from a book drive to a long walk to a sky lantern release.
8. Refreshments for the Celebration of Life Service
Refreshments are an important consideration if your ceremony is anything longer than an hour or two.
The snacks may depend on the theme of the celebration or could be your loved one’s favorite dish. In any case, a full meal or drinks are not really required.
The venue and budget are also going to help you decide on the type of refreshments that are feasible to be served.
9. Decorations for the Celebration of Life Service
Decorations play an essential role in paying tribute in the celebration of life event too. Most of the services that I’ve conducted featured a memory table of photographs and other dear possessions of the loved one.
One can choose to decorate the venue with their loved one’s favourite flowers. One can even decide not to decorate the place at all.
10. Personalizing the Celebration of Life Service
As mentioned above, you can choose a memory table or even play a tribute movie or slide show. You can also display photos around the venue.
There are many options to personalize the ceremony, and you may choose whatever deems fit.
11. Consider the Details that You Want Shared at the Service
Last, but not least, are the details that you’ll be sharing about your loved one with the guests at the ceremony. While conducting a celebration of his or her life, it is important to note the details you’d want to be made public on the day. The whole idea is to capture the essence of the deceased’s personality.
Life-changing events and achievements are a frequent topic of discussion. However, some short moments of love and significance can add as much value.
This celebration of life service outline covers what a celebration of life service usually includes. However, it is upon you to decide what you’d like to add and what you wouldn’t.
Your event can be as unique or as generic as you wish that it be. Take your time and personalize the celebration accordingly. Whatever you decide, the end goal of a perfect tribute should however remain.
About the Author: Bronte Price is Australia’s First Certified Gay Celebrant. Learn more about how Bronte can help you plan a meaningful celebration of life service.