Losing a loved one is a difficult part of life. Once they pass, you are often preoccupied with planning the services and left without time to celebrate the life that they lived. A common practice is to host a celebration of Life or memorial service after the funeral to allow loved ones to reminisce and share their favorite memories, an essential part of the grieving process.
Hosting your memorial event can be stressful. We would like to make your planning slightly easier by answering questions you may have about these events. While funerals are often a somber event focused on the loss, a celebration of life or memorial service is an opportunity to focus on the wonderful memories that everyone is left with.
How to Plan a Celebration of Life Event
What is a celebration of life?
A celebration of life is often hosted after the funeral, which allows friends and family to celebrate the life of the deceased loved one. Some choose to have a small funeral with just the closest of friends and family, followed by a larger celebration of life with an extended guest list, while others prefer to have a celebration of life in place of a funeral altogether. As cremations are on the rise, and Covid-19 having limited funeral attendance in many states, a celebration of life with an extended guest list, often including satellite attendance is rising in popularity.
How to plan a celebration of life.
The best way to start planning a celebration of life is while they are still with you. Ask them how they would like to be remembered, and what kind of celebration they would like.
Do they have a favorite style of music or specific songs they would like to have played, stories they would like to have told, or items they would like to be shown and reminisced over? While these conversations can be challenging, they can be beneficial to whoever plans the event upon their passing and a great way to honor the individuality of their lost loved one properly.
When you are planning the event, it is essential to keep your budget in mind. While that might feel insensitive, it is very necessary. Often friends and family are asked to donate to the cost of the service so that the responsibility is not placed on only one or two people.
Lastly, extending the guest participation via a satellite streaming service to include those who may not be able to attend is a fantastic way to ensure all of those who want to join-in on this honorable day, are able to.
What you choose to include in the service differs for every event; below, you will find a list of often included memorabilia:
- Speakers: This would include the officiant and anyone that might have been prominent in the deceased person’s life who would talk about their life, hobbies, work, or favorite memories.
- Music: Usually, the person’s favorite songs or their favorite music genre playing in the background.
- Refreshments: Depending on the location and time of service, you can choose to serve light refreshments or a large meal.
- Guestbook: Notes from guests can be a loving gift to leave for a closest loved one.
- Memory table: Display photos, scrapbooks, personal items. Usually, important things to the person like military uniforms or medals if they served, college memorabilia, or items they made.
- Memorial Pamphlet: A simple brochure or booklet that contains the schedule of the service, photos of the deceased, and a poem. These can be downloaded and edited on most desktop word processors.
- Keepsakes: Bookmarks, candles, charms – anything that can be given out during the service as an item to help mourners remember their loved one.
- Video Slideshow: Photos and videos from their full life. These are often shared digitally and given to attendees as a keepsake.
- Hold a Candlelight Vigil: Provide guests with candles and schedule time for guests to head outside for a vigil. This power memorial event can help bring closure to friends, families and communities,
- Release Butterflies or Lady Bugs: More eco-friendly than doves or balloons, a butterfly or ladybug release is an exceptional way to memorialize a loved one. There are companies who provide individual boxes for a simultaneous release.
- Plant a Tree: Equally eco-friendly is to plant a tree in the name of your loved one and will last for generations to come.
- Plan a Fundraiser or Book at an Event Center That Gives Back to the Community: Supporting a favorite cause or purpose can add another layer of special meaning behind their celebration.
Here at The Bowden, we would be honored to be the venue you choose to host your memorial event. Our elegant space can safely hold 275 attendees with room for everyone to maintain social distance. Contact us here with any questions.
There is no specific way to host a celebration of life service; we encourage you to host an event filled with memories, laughter, and celebration to ease the mourning process momentarily. Please contact us at The Bowden for more information about hosting a celebration of life service and other types of events.
Profits of all events held at The Bowden will benefit The Greater Keller Women’s Club Foundation, a 501(c)4 non-profit organization. The Bowden in partnership with GKWC is committed to building community by providing educational scholarships to deserving local area high school students, donations to local non-profit organizations helping families in need and in volunteering countless hours of service. When you host your event at The Bowden, you are helping to support this mission and improve the lives of those in need.