prepaid pre planned funeral services

What Usually Happens at a Celebration of Life?

A celebration of life ceremony is not an ordinary memorial service but a personalised celebration of a loved one's life. 

There are several ways you can celebrate life service to honour and celebrate the joy their life gave to family and friends. Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals will always find creative ways to pull costs in line with your budget.

What Is a Celebration of Life?

So, what is a celebration of life exactly? Essentially, a celebration of life is an event that focuses primarily on the life a loved one lived and the legacy that they leave behind. 

Sometimes even with a party-like atmosphere, a celebration of life tends to be just that – a celebration. 

The focus is on happy memories of the deceased rather than on the sad fact that they're no longer with us.

If you think that this is not too far off from a funeral service, well, you're probably right. 

It's a term that can mean different things to different cultures or those who live in other parts of the country (or world).

Sometimes, a life celebration occurs instead of a funeral. Other times the family may wish to hold a traditional funeral service and a reception that they call a life celebration.

A celebration of life is an alternative to a funeral. After a family member passes away, the survivors may want to offer this event to celebrate the deceased rather than hold a more sombre affair.

This decision is often based on the personality and requests of the deceased, but not always. Some people want their friends and family to turn their passing into a party. 

Other times, it's simply a way for everyone to get together after time has passed to celebrate the deceased person's life.

Friends and family may plan a celebration of life event a few days, weeks, or even years after the funeral. 

What may come across as inappropriate funeral behaviour may be acceptable at a celebration of life—there are no hard-and-fast rules.

When you attend a celebration of someone's life, you should expect to experience a joyful event. As the name implies, you're there to celebrate rather than mourn. 

The event may appear to be more of a party than something commemorating the person's death, and it is less likely to go by the format and conventions of a religious funeral service. 

By its very definition, a celebration of life should be celebratory and joyful. 

Encourage all of the attendees to be positive and remember all of the good things about the deceased. Think of it as an upbeat memorial service

In other words, you can expect a much less sad and sombre affair than the funeral.

It will be an event where family and friends can remember together happier times spent with the deceased.

What Is the Difference Between a Celebration of Life and a Memorial Service?

what should women wear to a funeral (2)

A memorial service usually takes place soon after a person passes away. The memorial service is often held in conjunction with a funeral. 

Unlike at the funeral, the deceased's body isn't present during the memorial service. However, a memorial service is often chosen for a cremation ceremony and is usually religious.

It helps to know that a memorial service typically takes place without the decedent present. 

This means that there is nobody no cremated remains at a memorial service. Therefore, a memorial service could occur any time (soon or much later) after the deceased has been cremated or buried.

The focus of a life celebration is one of joyful remembrance and not necessarily feelings of sorrow. 

So it's plausible that the one you attend could also technically be a memorial service if no remains are present.

So a memorial service may tend a little more toward being severe and formal, whereas a life celebration is often less traditional and more celebratory.

What's the Difference Between a Celebration of Life and a Funeral?

A funeral is a service where the body is present. 

That's the main difference between a funeral and a memorial service, by the way – the memorial service, as mentioned above, does not have the body present.

So the difference between a celebration of life and a funeral is again that emphasis on life rather than death; joy rather than sorrow; "let's raise a glass in memory of…" rather than "let us pay our respects to…."

What Happens at a Celebration of Life?

Since it's a celebration that focuses on the person's life, there will most likely be sharing memories and stories among family and friends. 

There may be singing or joyful worshipping or a playlist featuring the deceased's favourite songs.

You may hear poems read or excerpts are spoken. You might encounter karaoke, an open bar, a potluck, photo booths with props, blowing bubbles, etc.

The point is, life celebrations can be highly, highly personalised, from the order of service to the food right down to the decor.

Each event is different. That's primarily because each person is the other. The whole idea is to veer away from "the norm" and do something unique.

It's also worth noting that some families and cultures use this term interchangeably with the term funeral. 

But because the focus will be on celebrating life, you can generally expect the atmosphere to be positive.

And of course, it's perfectly normal for there to still be feelings of sadness even at a life celebration. 

To celebrate life isn't to deny the reality of death and sadness, but rather to shift the emphasis from the dead to the life they lived and the legacy they left us.

Where It's Held

A celebration of life is not generally held in a funeral home or church. 

It's more often in someone's home, an outdoor venue such as a garden or park, or a rented facility.

The location is usually chosen based on the interests and passions of the deceased.

When It's Held

A celebration of life is held after the burial or cremation of the deceased. It usually occurs a few days after the person passes or up to several weeks later. 

However, some people choose to celebrate life on the anniversary of the death of the deceased. 

What to Wear

A celebration of life is less traditional than a funeral, and the attire will be based on several factors, including the location and wishes of the person planning the event. 

In some cases, you may be expected to wear traditional funeral attire, but more often, it's a casual event.

Celebration of Life Etiquette

The etiquette for a celebration of life service is determined by those hosting the Ceremony. 

There are no rule books for hosting a celebration of life service since it is a personalised event. 

The traditions and lifestyle of the deceased should dictate how you plan to celebrate their life.

Venues for Personalising Your Celebration of Life Ceremony

The celebration of life service rejoices in the deceased's life and highlights how each person remembers and honours their relationship with the departed loved one. 

If your loved one was a casual person who enjoyed weekends at the lake, then a celebration on a lake or in a lakefront venue may be an ideal choice. 

If the deceased was an artist, hosting a celebration of life ceremony in an art studio, art gallery, or art museum is an excellent venue.

Flowers and Floral Arrangements

You may send flowers or floral arrangements to a family celebrating life. 

Choose a flower that symbolises something you enjoyed about the deceased or an arrangement that shows a hint of the person's passions and interests, such as the colours of an alma mater or favourite sports team.

Again, there are no hard and fast rules about how you format your celebration of life ceremony. 

Some people treat it as a party while others set it up similar to a wake or a more formal ceremony.

Visit Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals to know more about our prepaid funeral service and find the best funeral option for your unique situation.

The type of person being honoured, the family's lifestyle and traditions, and other considerations will govern the various activities and overall format.

What Do You Do at a Celebration of Life?

what to wear to a funeral in the summer

There are many choices of format for a celebration of life. You may find a guide for a celebration of life ceremony helpful for planning one. 

However, you may hold a gathering with no fundamental structure. 

You may decide impromptu toasting to the deceased is an ideal format where each person makes a comment, statement or shares a memory about the departed. 

How Long Does a Celebration of Life Last?

How long the celebration of life will last depends on several things. 

For example, if the celebration is held at a rented venue, it will most likely have a set timeframe. 

A drop-in celebration will have start and end times. A festival held in a public setting or a person's home will also have a set timeframe.

Unique Celebration of Life Ideas

A celebration of life service is an opportunity for family and friends to pay tribute to a loved one while saying goodbye in a uniquely personal way. 

There are many different ways you can honour your love and its legacy. 

By celebrating life after the remains have been cared for, you can ensure you plan an event that reflects the life your loved one lived.

Just as each person is unique, each celebration of life service is personal and unique. 

As you explore ideas for a service, consider what the deceased would enjoy and what the attendees will enjoy and meet their emotional and spiritual needs.

We have provided a few ideas, but this list is by no means completed. Use these ideas as a starting point to plan the perfect service to suit your unique needs.

Ask attendees to bring along a story or memory of your loved one to share. Guests' comfort levels will vary. 

You may want to provide time for those who would like to publicly share their memory and note cards for those who prefer to write down their memory to be shared with the family privately.

Enjoy songs, bands or the genre of music that were favourites. 

Music is an integral part of life for many people, and a celebration of life service is the perfect event to showcase the meaningful music of your loved one's life.

If planning for snacks or refreshments, plan to enjoy your loved one's favourite dishes or treats.

Display a photo memory board, a memorial table or a memorial DVD of images of your loved one doing what they enjoyed most. 

Photos, which capture a moment, often spark conversation and bring up forgotten memories.

A balloon release is often a feature of a celebration of life ceremony and a beautiful gesture. 

But don't be afraid to think outside the box to find something to suit your loved one's personality. 

Some alternatives with the same sentiment as a balloon release are tossing wildflower seeds into a field, blowing bubbles or light luminaries.

Ask guests to donate to a scholarship fund or charity in the deceased's name instead of sending flowers.

If your loved one was a collector, create a display of their collectibles. This could include their prized baseball cards, a scrapbook of their photography, or anything else unique to them.

Create a theme for the celebration. This could be focused on their favourite sports team or their love for hunting, for instance.

Distribute memorial tree seedlings. Thank guests for coming with a monument tree seedling that they can plant in honour of the deceased.

Floating lanterns are a part of many cultural celebrations around the world. During or after the service, guests can release sky lanterns to honour your loved one.

Fireworks are a popular way to celebrate holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day. 

What better way to celebrate the life of your loved one than concluding it with a fireworks display.

Planning a Celebration of Life

It's a process of asking–and answering–questions. 

Sit down with other family members, at least once, but maybe even more than once; to explore the celebration of life ideas that arise from answering these questions:

Who will be invited? The number of guests defines the where, when, and how of your celebration of life. 

Please write down the names of everyone you think would want to be there, and then set it aside. You can add new words to the list as you go along.

Where and when should the event take place? Here's where your imagination is tempered by any scheduling or travel-related issues facing those who will be invited. 

Be sure to check in with out-of-town relatives and friends about their situation before settling on these critical details.

Who will orchestrate or conduct the event? If your loved one was religious, you might opt to have their pastor or church minister perform these tasks. 

However, many families today hire a non-denominational celebrant to oversee the celebration of life.

Who wishes to speak at the event? Family members or friends will often be straightforward about their desire to make a short presentation at the celebration of life; other times, you need to come out and ask folks if they would be willing to share their thoughts and feelings publicly. 

Either way, you'll want to select those people who have shared a close relationship with the deceased and have something meaningful to contribute.

What group activities would be appropriate? We've heard some exciting celebration of life ideas over the years. 

This question involves thinking about what your loved one liked most about their life and gives everyone a remarkable space to share memories, laugh, and even cry together.

What food or beverages should be served? What you do may depend on the theme of your celebration of life or may be based on your loved one's favourite dishes. 

It's entirely up to you; we've even seen "potluck" celebrations of life where guests sign up to bring select foods and beverages.

What readings and music should you include? Music is an integral part of life for many people, and a celebration of life is the perfect event to showcase the meaningful music of your loved one's life. 

But, if your loved one didn't appreciate music (and lots of folks don't), it may be more appropriate to read chosen spiritual selections or excerpts from literature.

What details of your loved one's life do you want to share with guests? Not every biographical detail needs to be highlighted; instead, you're trying to capture their essence by telling revealing anecdotes or stories. Sometimes you can reveal their character by detailing one short moment in their life experience.

What decorations will you have? Many families create a tribute video and use it as the centrepiece of the event. Others choose to use a memory table of photographs and other memorabilia instead.

Factors That Determine Length of Time for Celebration

The length of these celebrations may be as short as an hour or two, while others may be more of a party that starts in the afternoon and continues into the night. 

There isn't a set protocol for the timeframe, and it is up to those hosting this type of celebration of life.

Celebration of Life Keepsakes

Many hosts offer a keepsake for those attending the celebration of life ceremony or event. 

The keepsakes are selected since they have a special meaning representative of the deceased, and family and friends will appreciate them.

The appeal of the Celebration of Life Ceremony

A celebration of life ceremony is appealing to many modern families. Let Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals help you select the type of funeral service that best fits your needs.

It offers a more personal way to say goodbye to a loved one and allows family and friends to honour their relationships with the deceased.

Scroll to Top