Planning a Celebration of Life? Check Out These Imaginative Ideas
Planning a celebration of life can be a healing way to remember a departed loved one.
As COVID restrictions continue to relax, people are seeking creative ways to pay tribute to their beloved friends and family members who have passed on. Rather than focusing on grief, a celebration of life honors the departed through joyful remembrance and is usually less formal than a funeral or memorial service. If this type of commemorative ceremony feels right for your family, please read on.
We have compiled seven celebration of life ideas to help you design an event that is as unique and memorable as your loved one.
#1. Pick a meaningful location
Did your loved one enjoy cookouts with family and friends in your uncle’s backyard? Is there a local park that he or she frequented? Was church their second home and ultimate happy place? Consider a place that brought your loved one great joy and let family and friends experience what they cherished about this particular location. Perhaps it’s the view of a serene lake, a familiar setting where family members have broken bread for generations, or the stained glass windows that project beautiful rainbows of light across the room.
#2. Share special memories
Hand out index cards and pens and allow guests to write down a short poem or memory that tells an uplifting or even humorous story about your loved one. They can share their contribution if they are comfortable doing so or they can listen to the stories shared by others. You are likely to hear a variety of stories that may evoke a wide array of reactions, including tears and laughter. This will all add to the richness and uniqueness of the life celebration.
#3. Display beloved photographs
Ask guests to bring photographs and let the images tell their own stories. You can arrange the images in a slideshow, memory board, photo collage, or photo book. Honor the memory of your loved one by showcasing various aspects of their lives. Be sure to have family and friends write their names on the back of each photo so you can easily return the images after the event.
#4. Create writing prompts
When you invite each guest, include a piece of paper with short phrases to get them thinking about your loved one. Have them write more on the prompt of their choosing and bring it to the event. Allow them to share their thoughts aloud or keep their memories private if they wish. Here are some examples that you might include, but feel free to come up with your own:
You taught me to ...
You made me laugh whenever you …
My first memory of you is ...
#5. Make a playlist
Music can help create an uplifting mood. Planning a celebration of life playlist is a fun way to set the focus on the joyful aspect of the event. Perhaps you already know what should be included on your loved one’s playlist. If not, reach out to others who will be attending and ask them to name a song that makes them happy or that would have brought a smile to your loved one’s face.
#6. Create a memorial garden
A great way to honor the memory of your loved one is to create something enduring in their honor. Better yet, involve your guests in the activity. For example, you might ask attendees to decorate memory stepping stones to be placed in your garden or along the sidewalk. Or, provide each guest with a packet of wildflower seeds that they can scatter in their yards or a nearby field. Simple ideas like these don’t require a lot of space to be meaningful and lasting.
#7. Encourage guests to wear your loved one’s favorite colors
Somber gray and black attire is standard for a funeral or memorial service. Encourage your guests to take a different route and celebrate your loved one by wearing their favorite color. Alternatively, you could request that attendees remember your loved one by incorporating the colors of their favorite sports team. You could also decorate the venue in these hues or hand out vibrant beaded necklaces. Get creative and make it a festive part of your remembrance event.
If you have questions or need additional information about celebration of life events, we are here to assist you. Our Family Fellowship Pavilion is available and we would be happy to host you. Please contact our compassionate funeral directors anytime.
About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.