If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be considering organizing a celebration of life in addition to, or even instead of, a funeral service.
This kind of event can be deeply cathartic, and can serve as a poignant tribute to your dearly departed. After all, in contrast to the somber and mournful atmosphere of a funeral, celebrations of life are typically joyous occasions. At this kind of gathering, our grief, love, and sometimes even laughter can mingle as we share memories of our loved one and pay tribute to their existence in a way that would have meant something to them.
If you and your loved ones are keen to hold a celebration of life, read on for some helpful suggestions that may provide guidance as you begin organizing the different aspects of this special event.
Sending Your Celebration Of Life Invitations
Hand-writing and individually addressing and posting invites can be a stressful undertaking, with the potential for human error, particularly if you are having to do this task while also grappling with your grief.
Instead, why not consider sending your invitations for a celebration of life digitally, with the assistance of Greenvelope and their extensive range of invitation designs and options. There are a number of advantages to sending your invites online, including their convenience, the lack of postage fees, and the ability to receive prompt RSVPs so you know exactly how many people will be attending your celebration of life well in advance.
Select Your Venue
When it comes to selecting the venue, you can be guided by your passed loved one and their preferences in life. For example, if they had a special connection to a particular place – whether a building, such as a favorite church or town hall, or a natural location, such as a beach or the woods – then perhaps you could hold it there.
Alternatively, you may wish to host the event at their family home, which will still be filled with tangible reminders of their presence. Wherever you choose, just remember that you need to make sure the venue is easily accessible for the family and friends who will be attending.
What To Say
A celebration of life event can be particularly poignant as it gives people a chance to swap stories and share memories about the person who has passed. Some of these stories may be sad, others may be amusing, and others will most likely be heart-warming.
You may wish to give a short speech during the event, and then invite others to speak in their turn. It’s important to give people the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one, as this can give them a sense of closure which will help them to, slowly but surely, heal and move on from the tragedy of the loss in time.
At the same time, if some people are not yet ready to speak, it’s vital to respect their wishes. Everyone processes grief in a different way; while some may be ready to express their feelings, others may find the pain is still too raw.
If you yourself would like to speak but are not sure what to say, again, you can be guided by your departed loved one; perhaps you could read one of their favorite poems, or sing one of their favorite songs. Or you can simply state a simple but honest truth – that you love and miss them and will always carry them in your heart.
Some Thoughtful Tribute Suggestions
As well as giving people the chance to talk and laugh and share heartfelt memories of someone dear, a celebration of life also gives you the opportunity to make some kind of special tribute. There are a number of options for you to choose from so you can select the kind of tribute that you know your loved one would really appreciate.
For example, if they were a keen gardener in life, you may want to plant some flowers, plants or trees in a special memorial garden dedicated to their memory. You can order in a selection of plants, and provide compost and trowels so your guests can each plant their own flower, bush, or tree. As different plants and trees have different meanings, you can choose species with particular attributes that you feel most represent your loved one.
On the other hand, if your loved one simply adored music, or was a gifted singer or musician, then the most profound way to honor their memory would surely be through music and song. For instance, if they composed their own melodies, these could be played during the event; alternatively, if they simply loved certain artists, bands, or songs, then you can compile a special playlist of all their best-loved tunes.
Finally, another beautiful tribute you may want to try is a paper lantern release. Give each guest a lantern, and then ask them to release them into the sky altogether – sending with them their own special thoughts or prayers for the person you are honoring. This is a visually stunning and undeniably touching way to display your love for the deceased, while also gaining peace and closure for yourselves at the same time.