Celebration of Life Decorations: Our Ideas & Advice

Written by: Adam Binstock

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Time to read 5 min

celebration of life decorations

One of the most important  ways you are going to make your loved one's ceremony special and meaningful is with Celebration of Life Decorations.

Like with any partry, the choice of decorations will set the tone and theme for your Celebration of Life event.

In this article we'll discuss decoration ideas, themes, and how to choose the perfect items for your loved one's ceremony.

How to Choose Decorations

How to Choose Decorations

If you're planning a Celebration of Life, it's a good idea to do some overall reflecting and brainstorming when it comes to the ceremony.

Unlike a traditional funeral service, these services tend to be more  personal, upbeat and fun. So when think about ceremony decorations it's always good to think about:

  • Reflect on Personality: What were the like and what would they appreciate? Let their personality traits guide the mood of the decorations.

  • Themed Decorations: If you've selected a specific theme or a unique venue, make sure your decorations align with it. For instance, if your theme centers around their love for nature, think about plants, eco friendly products, and floral arrangements. 

  • Involve Color: Did your loved one have a favorite color? You can integrate it into the decor, whether it's through table settings, balloons, or flower arrangements. 

  • Incorporate Memories: Using photos, cherished belongings, and even written quotes can really bring life and reflection to decorations.

Decoration Ideas

There are so many thoughtful ways to celebrate someone’s life. These decoration ideas will hopefully inspire you to make the ceremony as unique, personal and pleasant as possible. You could do some of the following:

Memory Table

celebration of life memory table

Creating a Memory Table is a very popular and heartfelt way to celebrate the life of your loved one. Why? It’s about creating a space where people can connect, reflect, and maybe even learn something new about the person they are there to remember. You could even focus on their passions, cherished possessions, and accomplishments.

Memory Boards

memory board

Think of the Memory Board as a scrapbook of life—filled with photos from every stage, little notes, cards, and maybe even some drawings or artwork. It’s like a visual journey, showing cherished moments and happy times, that invites everyone to remember and share their own stories and experiences.

Memory Jars

This is a touching, simple way to gather sweet, funny, or heartfelt memories about a loved one. Just have everyone jot down a favorite memory or a message on a piece of paper and pop it in the jar. It could be anything—a joke they loved, a special day you shared, or a quote they lived by. Then, just decorate the jars, with something like stickers, ribbon, their favorite colors, a paw print and musical notes.

Guest Books & Memory Cards

These offer a simple yet meaningful way for guests to share their thoughts, memories, and condolences. Just leave a guest book or some memory cards out on a table, along with some pens, and encourage everyone to write something. It could be a cherished memory, a kind word, or a funny anecdote about the loved one. You can even decorate the table with a few pictures or items that were meaningful to them. It’s a lovely way for people to feel connected and to share the impact the person had on their lives. Plus, it creates a lasting keepsake that can bring comfort and smiles to the family in the days to come.

Personalized Posters

celebration of life posters

You can create a poster with pictures, quotes, or significant symbols that represent the essence of the departed. It could be a collage of photos showcasing joyful moments, or it could feature a single impactful image accompanied by a meaningful quote or message. Place them where guests can see them and reminisce, share stories and for the family to have a beautiful keepsake to remember the joy and love shared with the departed.

Flower Arrangements

Think about hanging ornaments that reflect something personal about your loved one. If they were a musician, maybe small instruments; if they loved to paint, little palettes or brushes can be used. You can even use ornaments shaped like hearts or stars and decorate them with photos or quotes. These can be spread around the event space or even handed out to guests as keepsakes.

Candle Displays

Everyone loves candles, so perhaps get a few of your loved one’s favorite colors or scents. You could place them in holders adorned with images or quotes that were significant to the departed. For a beach theme, you might use sea-shell-shaped holders or sand-filled containers. You can even inscribe a favorite quote on the candle or the holder. Lighting these candles can symbolize the enduring light of their memory, creating a tranquil and reflective space for all to remember and celebrate the life lived.

Tree Planting

This is another great idea where you can incorporate your loved one's ashes into the soil. Guests can also bring sympathy plants or spread seeds around the tree, each adding their personal touch. 

This living memorial not only serves as a lasting tribute but also as a place of solace and reflection, allowing friends and family to witness the growth and flourishing of the tree and making sure that your loved one’s memory visibly lives on.

Glowing Lanterns

There’s just something special about glowing light that can create a serene and warm atmosphere. How about selecting lanterns that reflect the deceased’s personality or preferences, like with color or patterns, items from nature. Place these lanterns around the celebration area, perhaps accompanied by photographs, quotes, or other significant items. 

Quote Boards

These can add a thoughtful and inspiring element to the celebration. Consider creating boards filled with quotes that were meaningful to the deceased, or that encapsulate their philosophy or outlook on life. These can include a favorite author, poet, excerpts or lines from a philosopher that resonate with their beliefs or values or even something humorous. 

Decorating a Gravesite 

Let’s start with the basic steps you’ll need before decorating your loved one’s headstone or grave. Just remember that many cemeteries have strict rules and only allow decorations at the grave for a limited time and some even prohibit artificial flowers. So do some research beforehand.

Decorating a gravesite is a deeply personal way to honor a loved one’s memory and to create a space of solace and connection. So, keep the following in mind:

Personalized Items

Why not place some items on the grave that had meaning to the deceased, like a small statuette representing a favorite hobby, a laminated collage of photos, or a custom-engraved plaque with a meaningful quote or message. This provides a uniquely personal touch, reflecting the individual’s life and passions.

Seasonal Plants

Planting seasonal flowers or plants that bloom at different times of the year can ensure that the gravesite is always adorned with vibrant and living decorations, symbolizing the enduring vitality of the loved one’s spirit.

If you’re going to plant something, just keep in mind that it’s important to visit the burial site regularly to keep the area around the grave is clean. The cemetery grounds crew will keep the site mowed and reasonably trimmed, but it’s up to you to do the rest.

Photo Frames

You have to plan for every season, so think about waterproof and weather-resistant photo frames. These will not only protect your memories but create a special display all year round. 

Flag Display

If your loved one was a veteran or had a strong sense of patriotism, you can place a flag near their gravesite as a fitting tribute, symbolizing their service or love for their country.

Stones and Benches

You can consider something like a memorial plaque, a message carved on stone or even creating times of rest and reflection with a stone bench at the burial site. A bench is perfect for those who want to spend time at the grave but do not have anything to sit on.  
There’s no right or wrong method in making your loved one’s grave look special. But please do make it uniquely personal and treasure their memory. After all, it’s where they will physically rest for an eternity.