A Simple Guide to Planning a Celebration of Life
Losing someone you love can be an emotional moment. Traditionally, you would have opted for a more formal funeral service, however, life celebration services have been gaining popularity recently. In this guide, we will show you how simple and easy it is to plan a life celebration for your loved one and let you know why this is perfect for your needs.
We are a full-service funeral and cremation service provider in Westbury, NY, and surrounding areas. Family-owned and operated since 1941, we have built trust and loyalty to the families we serve. Roslyn Heights Funeral Home helps families of all faiths and provide compassionate personal service with the utmost attention to detail. We offer a wide range of services from burials to simple cremations that fit the needs and budget of every family. Give us a call today at (516) 621-4545.
What is a celebration of life?
A celebration of life is a type of ceremony that can be hosted anywhere you want and typically take place within one to two weeks after the passing. The whole atmosphere should be light, happy, and uplifting for those who attend this event because it’s about celebrating the life that was lived rather than mourning their loss. Life celebrations are generally held at churches or community centers but family members can opt to host an outdoor party instead if they feel more comfortable with doing so. These events are usually attended by friends, relatives and other loved ones such as neighbors so everyone will get together in order to show appreciation towards your passed away relative/loved one through words, stories, songs, and memories shared among each other
How is it different from a memorial service?
The main difference between a life celebration and a memorial service is that the latter involves mourning whereas the former doesn’t. In addition, there are no religious aspects in this type of event so it can be held almost anywhere without having to worry about offending anybody.
The complete and easy guide to planning a life celebration service
1. Consider what your loved one would appreciate
While the celebration is as much about your family members left behind as it is your loved one who passed away, you will want whatever you do to be something that person would appreciate. If they loved nature, having the family go on a hike could be the right fit. If they loved their bowling league, there’s nothing wrong with gathering in a bowling alley for a family game. Think about their personality traits and what they liked the most in life to help you give them a celebration they would appreciate.
As you consider your loved one, think about the rest of your family as well and what they might want in order to get the closure they need and to say a final goodbye. If you feel like your family would be comfortable with a celebration, go that direction and help everyone enjoy the memories they have of your loved one.
2. Incorporate unique elements
Your loved one was unique and you want their celebration to be unique as well. You can place pictures around the venue to make it feel like it’s all about them. You can also do things they enjoyed like perhaps everyone paints a picture or everyone brings a book to donate to a charity in their name. Consider some of the things that made your loved one unique and then incorporate those things into the service or celebration.
3. Get ideas from relatives and friends
It’s important to get ideas from people who know your loved one. You can ask close relatives and friends what they remember about them or think would be a good way to celebrate their life. They may not have been in the same position as you, so it might take some time for them to come up with an idea but if you just let them talk, eventually something will pop out that is unique and personal.
4. Decide on the location
When choosing a site, keep the following in mind:
- Will any of the events take place in a religious setting?
- Based on the projected number of attendees, determine the size of the facility.
- Is there sufficient parking?
- Is it accessible to those with disabilities?
- Is it large enough to accommodate all aspects of the event, such as service, socializing, and so on?
- When is it going to be available?
5. Decide on who will be invited
Invite your friend’s family, co-workers, and friends that have a connection with your loved one. Keep it small to start with – “It should be a time for the most important people in their lives.”
If needed you can send out email invites or even through social media if they have this information available to you online or through other means such as cards sent via mail which will help get more responses back. Once again, choose something simple but meaningful like a handwritten card.
6. Consider the date
Although most funeral services are accessible to the public, life celebrations may be limited owing to location restrictions, such as if the event is held at a private property. If out-of-town guests are due, for example, consider selecting a convenient weekend and asking family for a few dates before finalizing plans.
7. Reading and music
In terms of readings, the possibilities are endless. Seek out a loved one’s favorite poem or book passage that might be able to strike an emotional chord with others in attendance. In addition, music is also an integral part of any life celebration service. Whether you choose something soothing and meditative like classical compositions, songs from your loved one’s adolescence years or a heartfelt ballad handled by their favorite artists can help set the mood for this occasion and make it more meaningful for all who attend.
8. Keep things festive
You want the celebration to be celebratory, even though someone has passed on. You are going to be sad about their passing, but the celebration is meant to go over the good times they have and truly celebrate that life well-lived in whatever ways you feel are best.
A multi-course dinner is not required for a life celebration, but beverages and some food are expected. Speak with the event planning team about the budget and their ideas. A potluck, in which numerous participants bring dishes for a buffet-style dinner, is a practical notion. Others may opt to have the event catered, like they would for a party, or to hold it in a favorite restaurant’s event area.
Having a professional photographer capture images at the event is an excellent idea. While friends will be there to share memories with you, they may not be skilled photographers or videographers and their pictures won’t have that same impact as those of a specialist.
11. Spell out your expectations
If you want your guests to wear red for your loved one’s favorite color, they will need to know that. If they are to bring something specific, let them in on that as well. Make sure everyone knows what they are to do, wear, or bring so no one will feel left out if they arrive in the wrong things.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from a Westbury, NY funeral home near you. Roslyn Heights Funeral Home will always be willing to help every step of the way to make the life celebration a successful and meaningful one. Give us a call today at (516) 621-4545 to start the planning process.