“It is the capacity to feel consuming grief and pain and despair that also allows me to embrace love and joy and beauty with my whole heart. I must let it all in.” — Anna White.
The death of a loved one is an unbearable pain that requires time and acceptance. And while we may never heal from such a loss, we must move forward. It is the only way to honor and continue the legacy of our lost loved ones.
This journey starts with togetherness through a celebration of life that we all can share.
If you aren’t sure what a celebration of life is or how it is different from traditional rituals such as funerals or memorials, you can learn more about these here (link to internal articles).
If you need help with ideas for a celebration of life, then look no further. Our brightest minds have put together a creative list of ideas to help you on your healing journey.
- Outdoor, Picnic-Themed Celebration
An outdoor picnic-themed celebration could be as simple as a blanket under a tree, a little food, lantern decor, and a handful of the people closest to the deceased in attendance. Or it could be at night, with a bonfire, a buffet or barbeque, music, plenty of people, and storytelling.
Such intimate settings encourage everybody to open up about their loss and share memories of their departed loved ones. Encourage participation and instill a sense of togetherness by including activities such as memento-making.
Consider simple handicrafts like memorial collages, photo frames, necklaces, keepsake boxes. If handicraft activities are not preferred, you can still arrange for memorial keepsakes like votives, glass cremation jewelry, or glass paperweights by connecting with Reminiss Memorials.
- Warm Beach Commemoration
A warm commemoration on the beach is the perfect way to honor a deceased friend or loved one with a special connection to the sea. Spend a day immersed in activities the deceased loved: tanning, surfing, diving, or other water activities. Other ideas you can explore include beach volleyball, reef diving, and frisbee tournaments.
These ceremonies, often casual in attire and atmosphere, are designed to integrate the deceased’s interests and hobbies on the beach. If not everybody is skilled in these areas, you can adapt celebrations to their more accessible forms so that everybody can enjoy the festivities.
On several occasions, beach commemorations are done on privately-rented resorts which allow barbecuing on the beachfront, a perfect hybrid celebration.
- Garden-Making Ceremony
If you’ve lost someone who loved being nature or strived continuously to make our planet a better, safer place, then a garden-making celebration of life is a great way to honor them.
A garden ceremony, often done in the garden of the deceased’s home, involves changing their garden into a beautiful memorial where the urn can be placed. This celebration focuses on planting flowers, plants, and trees that were favorites of the deceased loved one. One can say that a precious life did not end. Instead, it transformed into a beautiful garden everybody can enjoy for years to come. It may also symbolize that when a life ends, new life thrives and continues inspired from their memory by placing colorful memorial urns in said garden.
A garden-making ceremony is ideal for pet parents who want to commemorate their unique bond with their deceased pet. They can display a pet ashes keepsake or a pet ashes urn within a beautiful garden.
- Sky Lantern Ceremony
There’s something very therapeutic and magical about seeing dozens of sky lanterns floating up to the heavens. Perhaps this is what makes sky lanterns a popular choice during celebrations of life ceremonies.
The ceremony often entails writing notes or letters to the deceased and attaching these to lanterns. These sky lanterns have candles that illuminate the skies when they are eventually released, a perfect way to say, “Be free. We love you so much!” while keeping them close in our hearts forever.
When organizing such a ceremony, it’s crucial to ensure that sky lanterns are eco-friendly and that your state’s laws allow the releasing of sky lanterns. Eco-friendly paper boats fitted with candles are an equally beautiful alternative! These boats can hold cremation ashes too.
- Backyard Get-Together
A casual backyard get-together is perfect for those who enjoy an afternoon out on the porch with some good old traditional barbeque. Everyone can bring food to contribute, or the hosting family can arrange for typical barbeque food. Free-flowing drinks such as soda, beer, and juices are highly encouraged.
The get-together is given some formality by having a small ceremony commemorating the departed loved one, with some toasts and speeches to follow.
If you live in a small community where everybody knows each other, this celebration is perfect for you. You can consider giving all attendees a keepsake such as glass art with ashes, memorial ornaments, photo books, or symbolic glass cremation jewelry to commemorate the event.
- Music-Themed Jam Celebration
If you’ve recently lost a loved one who loved all things music, consider hosting a jam session with friends and families. This type of celebration of life involves inviting friends and family to play instruments and having them jam together to remember their dearly departed.
A live music show for a cause can also be initiated by the family where they can invite local bands to perform. All proceeds from the show can be donated to the deceased’s family or charitable causes. It’s a great way to help out those in need by spreading positivity and aid in the name of your dearly departed.
- Sport-themed Celebration
If the deceased were a sports fan, then commemorate them by playing their favorite sports. Family members can rent out a pitch or a court depending on the sport and divide the guests into teams to compete for a trophy or a meaningful keepsake such as cremation glass art with a sports theme or a purple urn.
In a healthy and adrenaline-filled celebration, guests not only honor their dearly departed by playing their favorite sport, but they also promote their fitness in the process. The idea behind a sport-themed celebration is not just about the deceased's hobbies but also about being unified in loss and healing. Togetherness is the key element in this celebration.
There are numerous ways to celebrate a life well-lived, but only you can honor an extraordinary life in your unique way. We hope our list inspired you and helped you determine what celebration of life ceremony will help you and your family during this trying time.