There is no set pattern here. This style of ceremony is tailored to represent the personality and character of your loved one.
A Celebration of Life may include a combination of:
Music [live or recorded],
A Memory table,
Words of Thanksgiving, and reflection
A Celebration of Life can be anything you want it to be. This style of service works better if it concludes on an optimistic note; perhaps with a toast, a round of applause and/or multi-sensory visual tribute [a video documentary created by Steve, about the life of your loved one and their place in your live, set to music].
Celebrations are fast becoming the most popular way of commemorating the life of someone we love.
Elements of a Celebration of Life
Click on the icons below to learn more about each component
A real celebration will reflect the personality and character of the person who has died; their strengths, their weaknesses and all that was good in their lives. It will be an occasion to say thank you and to say farewell to them. An occasion for “well-chosen words, thoughtfully spoken”.[i]
“Life is a song—sing it.
Life is a game—play it.
Life is a challenge—meet it.
Life is a dream—realise it.
Life is a sacrifice—offer it.
Life is love—enjoy it.”
Find out more about other types of funeral service and your meeting with Steve.
Funerals are heavily steeped in tradition in the UK and around the globe. However, there is a movement away from the sombre traditional funeral to a more upbeat Celebration of Life service. But what is a Celebration of Life? Whether you are thinking ahead to your own funeral or planning one for a recently deceased loved one, understanding the differences and your options is important to ensuring that the service is a fitting tribute to the person that has died, and provides an opportunity for those grieving to pay their respects in the best possible way.
What Is A Celebration of Life?
To put it simply, a traditional funeral focuses on giving those grieving an opportunity to say
goodbye to the deceased. Whereas a celebration of life does just that – it celebrates the life of the person that has died. Of course, there is no set template, and you can incorporate elements of both a traditional funeral and celebration of life service to meet your requirements and to ensure that the service perfectly captures the personality of the person that has died.
Who Officiates a Celebration of Life
Religious services are generally steeped in their own traditions, however, some religions and ministers and more open to incorporating modern styles than others. If it is a religious service that you require, speak to your minister about whether it is possible to bring in a more celebratory style.
Celebration of Life services in the UK are primarily undertaken in a civil setting. As such the officiant is often a celebrant or humanist but could also be a friend or family member. Humanist services are entirely non-religious and often take the approach of celebration. A celebrant led service on the other hand is extremely adaptable and can incorporate elements of celebration, tradition, and religion as per your unique requirements.
Steve is a celebrant in the Staffordshire and wider Midlands area, and he has been honoured with multiple awards and accolades for the high-quality services that he delivers. If you would like to find out more about celebration of life services, pre-nominate Steve as your funeral celebrant, or discuss a celebration of life for your loved one contact him directly.
Ideas For A Celebration of Life Service
When planning a celebration of life, the service can be as simple or as elaborate as the person that has died. You may opt for a primarily traditional service with some modern, uplifting music and a photographic tribute, or you may go all out ripping up the rule book and making the service 100% unique. Some options to consider for a celebration of life service include:
Black V’s Colourful Attire
Increasingly black is being dismissed as funeral attire, and dress code is one of the most changed features of a celebration of life service. Of course, if you’d like your guests to wear dark colours that is fine. However, as part of a more upbeat service you may choose to ask people to wear bright colours, or the favourite colour of the deceased, or even to dress in their signature style. You can find out more about funeral attire here.
Music and Poetry
Another simple way to incorporate a celebratory style into a funeral service is through the choice of music and poetry. Steve provides a wealth of ideas for music and readings, but you can choose anything you’d like. You can consider the favourite songs, or those with special memories, or songs that remind you of the person that has died. And likewise with readings you can choose a poem, or an excerpt from a favourite book, or a quote. If you are unsure what to choose, speak with family and friends who may have ideas, or your officiant can help with advice.
Traditionally a coffin is transported in a black hearse with immediate family or friends following behind in a black funeral limousine. However, there is no need for this formality, think outside of the box and choose transport that is linked to the deceased. Perhaps a tractor could be used to transport the coffin of a passionate farmer, a camper van for someone that loved adventure and the great outdoors, a procession of motorbikes, bicycles, or a specific car type could also be an appropriate choice.
An oak coffin is a traditional choice but by no means the only choice. For the environmentally conscious there is a large choice of eco-friendly coffins such as those made from recycled cardboard or bamboo, you can read more about environmentally friendly funerals ideas in this blog post. Or why not consider a bespoke coffin, choose the colour and adornments to suit your requirements: pink, glittery, a high-resolution image, or embossed with a name, choosing a unique coffin is a great option for a celebration of life service.
Most non-religious funerals in the UK take place in a chapel, often these are linked to local crematoriums. However, there is no legal restrictions on where a funeral can take place; and as such you can be creative with your choice of venue for a Celebration of Life service. Thinking about the person that has died you may like to choose their favourite spot on the beach, a garden, or any venue that has meaning to the individual. Providing that the venue agrees to the service, and obviously considering other users of public spaces, choosing a unique funeral venue is a great way to celebrate the life of a loved one.