Celebration of Life Ideas: To Honor Every Type Of Person

Written by: Adam Binstock



Time to read 8 min

celebration of life ideas

Are you struggling to choose plan the perfect celebration of life ceremony to say good bye to your loved one?


It can be hard deciding on the most appropriate ceremony to send off your loved one.


In this article, we'll be listing some of our favorite Celebration of Life Ideas.


The sky is the limit when it comes to creating the perfect memorial. We hope our ideas inspire and excite you to give your loved one the perfect good bye.


Every person and family is different. Therefore we've a compiled a list of ideas that will be perfect for someone that was quite traditional right through to someone that was larger than life.


We hope you find below the perfect celebration of life idea for your loved one!

Choosing the Right Venue

celebration of life venue

Finding the right venue can truly set the tone for honoring your loved one. Here's a straightforward guide to help you through this decision:

  • Reflect on Their Personality: think about what spaces or settings your loved one would have enjoyed. Were they drawn to the outdoors, or did they have a favorite cafe or community spot? Their passions and pastimes can provide unique insight. For a nature enthusiast, parks, botanical gardens, or beaches might be ideal. For a bookworm, a local library or a cozy bookstore can provide the right atmosphere.


  • Guest Numbers: estimate the number of attendees before settling on a venue. An intimate gathering might be lost in a big space, while a large crowd can feel too confined in a small venue. It's all about striking a balance to make sure everyone feels comfortable.


  • Accessibility is Key: when choosing a location, consider its accessibility for all guests. Is there ample parking? Is it wheelchair-friendly? If attendees are traveling from afar, a venue with nearby accommodation or good transport links can make a thoughtful touch.

Traditional Celebration Ideas

traditional celebration of life ideas

We've discussed before the differences between a traditional funeral service and a celebration of life.


But that doesn't mean that a Celebration of Life Ceremony doesn’t has to be something over the top. 


It should be something that best honors your loved one and the grieving family. 


It can incorporate religious, cultural, or spiritual elements of a traditional funeral service, while also containing a personal element that is significant to the departed.


Here are some traditional ideas to remember your loved one with respect, love, and give it a personal touch.


  • Make a Toast: It can be a beautiful way to initiate the ceremony. Raise a glass of your loved one's favorite beverage and propose a toast that captures their essence. If you're struggling for words, check out this guide on what to say.


  • Eulogy: Designate someone to say a few words at the life service. This can be close family members or friends, who talk about achievements, character, and their loved one's legacy.


  • Light Candles: The soft glow of candles can be such a beautiful, serene way to remember someone. Maybe each person can light a candle while sharing a cherished memory.


  • Host a Reception: after the formalities, gather with loved ones to share a meal, comfort each other, and remember the good times.


  • Organize a Graveside Service: a quiet moment at the cemetery can offer a sense of closure as you lay your loved one to eternal rest.

If you want more memorial service ideas, have a look at out Celebration of Life Program Guide, which goes into detail of what you can include.

Nature Inspired Celebration Ideas

nature inspired celebration of life ideas

Choosing a nature setting for a memorial offers both beauty and comfort. Nature has a wonderful way of calming us when we go through the storms of life and simplicity provides a genuine space to mourn and remember. 


Being outdoors can offer a sense of peace, while also emphasizing life's ongoing cycle. Let's explore some benefits and ideas for commemorations in nature.

  • Sea Scattering Ceremony: this is a beautiful ceremony that involves releasing a loved one's ashes into the ocean and is often chosen for its symbolism of life's continuity. This ritual can occur on a coastline or from a boat, offering a serene setting for reflection.


  • Tree Planting: you can plant a tree in memory of the departed, symbolizing life, growth, and legacy. Consider using a biodegradable urn for ashes, which can be buried and will naturally decompose, nourishing the ground around it.


  • Nature Walk: organize a reflective walk through a forest, garden, or along the beach. Pause at specific spots for readings, memories, or moments of silence.


  • Campfire Gathering: if your loved one, loved camping, this might be the perfect tribute. Allow family and friends to share stories, roast marshmallows or simply find comfort in the warmth of the flames.

Fun Celebration Ideas

fun celebration of life ideas

When remembering a life well-lived, some families like to prioritize celebrating joy, laughter, and all the delightful moments that made their loved one special. Fun celebrations focus on the happier times, using activities, music, or themes that evoke smiles and fond memories. 


So here's how you can integrate fun into the memorial service. If you're thinking about location ideas, check out our guide about fun celebration ceremony venues.

Themed Parties

Themed celebration of life

These offer a unique and vibrant way to celebrate a loved one. By focusing on a particular theme that was dear to the departed—be it a favorite movie, a beloved decade, a cherished hobby, or even a dream destination—you create an environment that’s brimming with memories and personal touches. 


You can recapture and share the essence of what your loved one adored, even if just for a day.

  • Sports Theme: was your loved one a sports fanatic? From team jerseys to memorabilia, set the stage for a celebration revolving around their favorite sport or team.


  • Favorite Decade: choose a theme based on a decade they grew up in or a favorite one for them. Whether they loved the roaring '20s, the groovy '70s, or the pop '90s, create an atmosphere that harks back to that era with appropriate music, attire, and decor.


  • Superheroes: ff they had a penchant for comics or just loved superhero movies, have attendees come dressed as their favorite superheroes.


  • Hollywood Red Carpet: celebrate the star that they were with a glamorous Hollywood-style event. Set up a red carpet, and maybe even do an 'awards' segment, recalling their most memorable 'scenes' in life.

Other Fun Celebration Ideas

celebration of life fireworks
  • Balloon Release: write messages or simply use colorful balloons. As they ascend to the sky, they carry with them the vibrancy and joy of the life being celebrated.


  • Karaoke Night: celebrate with a night of singing and dancing. Choose songs that were their favorites or ones that evoke fond memories.


  • Scavenger Hunt: create a hunt, based on their life and leading attendees to places or items that were significant to them, sprinkled with anecdotes and stories.


  • Memory Lane Movie Night: set up an outdoor projector and watch their favorite films or even home videos. Provide popcorn, blankets, and a starry backdrop for a cozy evening.

Charitable Celebration of Life Ideas

celebration of life volunteering

Some families feel a calling to give back, turning their grief into a positive change. Opting for a charitable celebration allows attendees to honor the deceased's legacy by supporting causes they cared about, making a lasting impact in their memory. 


So, here are some ideas and reasons to consider charitable commemorations.

  • Volunteer Day: organize a day where attendees volunteer at a local shelter, food bank, or community center. It's a way to give back directly and reflect on the values of the departed.


  • Donate their Possessions: If the departed has a lot of possessions, you could do some good by donating them to worthy charity. Books, clothes, household items.


  • Memorial Scholarship: set up a scholarship fund in their name to help students in need. It could be for academic excellence, community service, or specific talents.

Food Celebration Ideas

celebration of life food themes

Food has a way of bringing people together, evoking memories and celebrating shared moments. Many families lean into this comforting aspect of cuisine when honoring a loved one, using food as a centerpiece for remembrance. 


This style, focused around dishes that the departed loved or that symbolize their heritage, offer warmth, connection, and a tangible way to recall shared experiences. Such celebrations provide both solace and joy, uniting attendees in communal appreciation and memory. 


Now, let's delve into why and how to orchestrate food-focused commemorations.


  • Wine or Food Tasting: if the departed was a wine connoisseur or had a favorite drink, think about hosting a tasting event in their honor, pairing each selection with a story or memory.


  • Memorial Picnic: host an outdoor picnic at a favorite park or spot, with a spread of their favorite snacks and dishes.


  • Recipe Sharing: invite attendees to share and exchange their favorite recipes that remind them of the deceased. You could even compile them into a memory cookbook.

Artistic Celebration Ideas

artistic celebration of life ideas

Art has a way of capturing feelings in a way words often can't. Whether your loved one was an artist, or simply someone who appreciated the beauty in art, using creative touches can make their celebration truly unique and memorable. 


You can pay tribute with:

  • Poetry & Story Circle: encourage guests to share a short poem, story, or even a favorite quote that reminds them of the departed. It's an intimate way of sharing, letting words paint vivid images of moments spent together.


  • Photo Collage Workshop: give family and friends copies of photos, decorative papers, and embellishments to craft personal photo collages. These tangible mementos are a blend of past moments and present creativity, offering guests a unique takeaway.


  • Interactive Music Session: Set up instruments or a playlist of the deceased's favorite songs and let guests share musical memories or even play a tune. This brings everyone together in harmony, celebrating the rhythms that once resonated with your loved one.


  • Memory Mural: invite attendees to contribute to a large canvas, painting or drawing memories and messages. It's a collective piece of art that grows throughout the event, encapsulating a myriad of emotions and memories.

Travel Inspired Celebration Ideas

artistic celebration of life ideas

For those whose loved ones had a penchant for exploration, a travel-inspired memorial can capture the essence of their adventurous spirit. These celebrations allow attendees to embark on a sentimental journey, retracing steps, sharing tales of adventures, or even discovering new horizons as a tribute. 


If wanderlust and discovery were integral to your loved one's story, here's why and how a travel-themed celebration might be the fitting tribute.

  • Road Trip Remembrance: trace your loved one’s journey visiting significant places or exploring new horizons as they might have wished. This unique tribute offers a personal way to connect with their memories, cherishing moments at each stop.


  • Destination Gathering: host the celebration in a location that was special to the departed, be it a beloved city, beach, mountain retreat, or even a quaint village.

Virtual Celebration Ideas

celebration of life online

Online memorials offer a unique and inclusive way to remember a loved one. These virtual commemorations provide a platform to share stories, offer condolences, and celebrate a life, all within the digital space. 

It's a testament to how technology can be harnessed to keep memories alive and communities connected. Here's a closer look at these online-centered Celebrations of Life.

  • Virtual Memorial Service: use platforms like Zoom to host a service where attendees can share stories, poems, and memories in real-time.


  • Memory Website: create a dedicated website where friends and family can post photos, videos, anecdotes, and tributes to the deceased.


  • Social Media Tribute: utilize a specific hashtag on platforms like Instagram or Twitter, encouraging people to share memories, pictures, or thoughts.


  • Virtual Candle Lighting: at a designated time, participants can light a candle at their location and share a photo or video online, symbolizing collective remembrance.