Celebration of Life Event Planners Guide

Written by: Adam Binstock



Time to read 6 min

celebration of life event planning

Not everyone wants the responsibility of planning a Celebration of Life Ceremony. You might be struggling with grief or just don't want the stress of planning such an emotionally charged event.


Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. 


Hiring a Celebration of Life Planner is very common and sometimes ideal, as they can take the weight off your shoulders in order to be fully present in the ceremony.


So, let’s take you through the steps of hiring a planner, explore their range of services, the benefits of using their expertise and help you choose the right one to suit your needs.

Why Hire a Celebration of Life Planner?

celebration of life planner

Reduce your stress


It's stressful organizing the fine details of any event, let alone an emotionally charged memorial ceremony for a loved one.


So if you're too emotional or stressed to plan a celebration ceremony, hiring a celebration of planner makes a lot of sense.


Time Management


Maybe the ceremony needs to be planned immediately but you're juggling many other commitments.


If you don't have the time, a planner can use their experience to plan efficiently, while taking the heavy commitment off yourself.


Budget Management


It's very easy to go over budget when planning a celebration of life event.


A memorial planner usually works with a network of service providers, allowing you to get a fair rate.


They will also be able to work within your budget, helping to guide you into making the right choices.


Emotional Support


You’re going to need all the emotional support you can get during this time of grieving. Planners are great with providing guidance and assurance in a time of sorrow, and allow families to focus on grieving and treasuring memories.

Services & Packages

celebration of life services

When you’re looking to hire a Celebration of Life Planner, knowing what to expect is key. We’ve tried to give you a general guide on the main responsibilities and services that planners usually offer. 


This isn’t a one-size-fits-all package—some planners might offer more services, while others only assist with a few services. It’s always a good idea to have a chat about your specific needs and wants, to make sure you’re on the same page with each other.

Initial Consultation & Planning

Planners usually start with discussing the family's idea and expectations for the celebration. Many take their time in understanding the departed's personality, interests and life story - really shaping the celebration's tone and setting the context. The planner then proposes an outline that can be refined according to your feedback.

Organizing the Celebration of Life Program

celebration of life program

Planners curate a detailed celebration of life program that includes speeches, eulogies, musical selections, and specific family requests. They make sure that there’s a seamless flow throughout the event, and that each aspect is appropriately suited to celebrate the departed's life.

Personalized Themes

It’s lovely when a celebration has unique and personal touches that mirror your loved one’s interests, hobbies, and passions. This can include special invitations, creating specialized memorabilia, and including meaningful symbols or motifs throughout the event.

Announcements and Invitations

Planners also help with announcements and invitations, making sure that they express the family's wishes and the theme of the celebration. They manage the nitty gritty detail like RSVPs and any special requests from attendees, really offering you the time and space to do what you need to do.

Venue Options & Hiring

celebration of life venues

It’s such a relief when someone else can source a range of venues and all you must do is make the final decision. Planners can source venue options, manage the hiring process, coordinate logistics, ensuring special needs and compliance are met, and that they all meet your expectations and budget.


When you hire a planner, they can arrange suitable entertainment, create an upbeat celebration that resonates with the family’s wishes and the departed's preferences.


They can source your preferred decorations and arrange them to complement your chosen theme, adding a personal touch, and enhancing the overall ambiance.

Food & Catering

celebration of life food

This is often a stressful aspect of the event but planners will help you by overseeing the catering, making sure the menu aligns with your preferences, dietary requirements, even including your loved one’s favorite dishes.

How to Choose the Right Planner

Choosing the right planner is a pretty big deal— and it’s all about finding someone who’ll help you honor your loved one in the best way possible. So, here are a few guidelines to help you make the right choice.

Location, Location, Location

Start with planners in your area or ones who can easily travel to you. This makes the whole planning process smoother, and it’s especially handy when they need to zip around sorting out venues and suppliers.

Experience and Expertise

You need to look for planners who have a solid track record—ones who have been around the block and know their stuff. And if your celebration includes specific cultural or religious elements, find someone who has the expertise to handle them with the respect and attention they deserve.

Services Offered

Every planner has their own set of services and special touches—so check out what services each one offers to make sure they can meet your expectations. Whether it’s full-on planning or just a bit of assistance with certain aspects, having a clear idea of what’s on offer is quite important.

Reviews and Recommendations

Don’t forget to check out their previous client reviews, ask around, and get some recommendations. Word of mouth feedback will give you a good idea what it’s like working with a particular planner and can help you avoid any nasty surprises.

Budget and Pricing

Now, for the budget. Knowing your budget and being clear on pricing can help you avoid any awkward conversations down the line. So, be open about costs and make sure everything is clear and upfront.

Celebration of Life Planner Costs

Everyone has a different way of doing business. Celebration of Life Planners can either charge a flat fee, charge by the hour, or take a percentage of the total cost of the celebration. Costs can vary depending on a number of factors. Get to know what these are and understanding them can help you budget appropriately and find a planner who meets your financial expectations. 


Consider these rough estimates:

  • Flat Fee: some might charge a flat fee, and this could range from $1,000 to $5,000 or more, depending on the services provided.

  • Hourly Rate: if they charge by the hour, rates could be anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour, depending on their experience and location.

  • Percentage of Total Cost: some might charge a percentage of the total cost of the event, usually around 10% to 20%.


Whatever you choose, always ask for a detailed quote and know exactly what is included in the cost. Don’t hesitate to discuss your budget openly – it’s your resources after all.

Factors to Consider

Keep in mind some of the following:

  • Level of Involvement: decide on whether you will need a full-service plan, covering every detail from start to finish, or just assistance with specific elements, will determine the overall fee because the extent of the planner's involvement significantly.


  • Services Required: different services come with different price tags. Specialized services like custom decor or unique entertainment options may add to the overall cost. Be clear about what services you want and get a detailed quote to understand the breakdown of expenses.


  • Experience: more experienced planners may charge higher fees due to their expertise and extensive network of vendors and suppliers. While it might be tempting to go for a less experienced (and less expensive) planner, consider the value of experience in ensuring a smoothly executed celebration.


  • Location and Travel: if your planner needs to travel or if your chosen venue is in a high-demand location, this could affect the cost. Be sure to discuss any additional travel or location-related fees upfront.

‘’Many hands make light work.’’ Choosing to hire a planner can really offer you the support that you need during your grieving process. Why not allow yourself the space and time to focus on your deceased loved one and give a planner a call.