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.

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 is the first step in creating the perfect celebration of life service for your loved one's memory.

Here's some quick things to consider:

  • Reflect on Their Personality: Think about what they appreciated and enjoyed in life. Were they drawn to the outdoors, or did they have a favorite cafe or community spot? Their passions and pastimes can provide unique insight. Don't worry, we'll give you many ideas for a memorial service below.

  • Guest Numbers: Estimate the number of family members and friends attending. An intimate gathering might be lost in a big space, while a large crowd can feel too confined in a small venue. 

  • Accessibility is Key: When choosing a location for a celebration of life event, consider its accessibility for all the guests. Will everyone be able to make it? Is there ample parking? friendly?

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. In fact, many of these ceremonies will be quite similar to your average funeral or memorial service.

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

  • Make a Toast: Have a family member or friend open the ceremony with a toast. Raise a glass and say a few words about your loved one's life. If you're struggling for the words, check out this guide on what to say or have a look at some celebration of life poems.

  • 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. 

  • Play Music: Celebrate their life and set the mood of your loved one's ceremony by playing favorite music. Have a family member or friend create a list of their celebration of life songs.

  • Host a Reception: after the formalities, gather with loved ones to share a meal, comfort each other, and remember the good times. Provide a guest book for so people can share condolences and memories.

  • 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.

  • Memorial Table: Suitable for both a funeral and celebration of life, these memory tables are decorated to honor your loved one's achievements, passions and legacy.

  • Tribute Video: For a visual and touching journey of your loved one's life, lots of families choose to include a tribute video.

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 memorial services offer 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. 

  • Memorial Garden: Another serene celebration of life activity is to create a special decorated space. Your memorial garden may also choose to include a memorial plaque, stones, wind chimes, or even a bench in this memory garden.

  • 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

If your loved one liked to have fun and celebrate life, the best way to honor their memory is by also having fun in their uniquely personal way.

A fun celebration of life tends to have a unique location, their favorite music, singing, dancing, and much more. 

Below are some unique celebration of life activities that are certain to create some special memories.

Themed Parties

Themed celebration of life

Themed life celebrations are a unique and fun way to remember what the person loved in life.

Creating a theme for a celebration of life service will create a fun, unique, and personal touch.

Here are some popular ideas that will be sure to spark conversation and favorite memories of the deceased:

  • 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: Did the deceased have a love for comics or just loved superhero movies? Have all his friends and family come dressed as 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: For a special day, write messages or simply use colorful balloons. As friends and family release balloons into the sky, it will be symbolic of their loved one moving on to the heavens.

  • 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 of life allows attendees to honor the person's life and legacy by supporting causes they cared about.

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 deceased person has a lot of possessions, you could do some good by donating them to their favorite 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. Like for a funeral service, many families lean into this comforting aspect of cuisine when honoring a loved one.. 

Now, let's delve into some creative ideas for a food celebration of life.

  • Dinner Party: If your loved one enjoyed a night eating with family and friends, host a celebration of life dinner party with their favorite food and drinks.

  • Wine or Food Tasting: If they were 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: Honor your loved one by hosting an outdoor picnic at a favorite park or spot, with a spread of their favorite snacks and dishes.

  • Recipe Sharing: Invite guests 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 of life 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: Create some live music and set up instruments or a playlist of the deceased's favorite songs. 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. A virtual traditional funeral service or celebration of life service provides a platform to share stories, offer condolences, and create a memorial all within the digital space. 

Here's a closer look at how these online memorials work:

  • 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.