a picture of people celebrating life

When a loved one passes away, it is customary to have a funeral service. A typical funeral consists of prayers, a eulogy, a burial, sadness, and tears. Today, more and more people are throwing celebration of life parties. Rather than grieving the loss of a loved one, you celebrate their life. These parties are designed to appreciate the life that your loved one lived and to remember how greatly they impacted yours. If you have never held a celebration of life party, you should know how to plan one. Since it is much different than planning a traditional service, there are a few planning tips that you should know. 

Creating a Guest List

Like any party, you are going to need to create a guest list. You should include anyone who was a part of your loved one’s life. It is a good idea to create a post on social media asking anyone who would like an invitation to respond. Having a dedicated guest list with a confirmed headcount is important when choosing a venue and deciding on a menu. Also, using social media to reach out to others is necessary because chances are, you don’t know everyone that your loved one was close to. 

Choosing a Celebration Of Life Venue

Since you are planning a party that is meant to be festive, you can choose any type of party venue. You can hold the party at your home if it is large enough to accommodate all of your guests. A hall, park, or a place that your loved one enjoyed are all great venue ideas. Just be sure that the venue that you select is large enough to accommodate everyone on the guest list along with those who may have not RSVP’d. 

Set Up a Memory Table

A memory table is a great way to decorate the venue. On the table, you can include photos of your loved one, keepsakes that they cherished, and anything else that will honor the life that your loved one lived. When sending out the invitations, you should encourage the guests to bring something special to add to the memory table. Other people’s keepsakes, mementos, and photos will allow everyone to see how connected your loved one was those who were important to them. 

Create a Slide Show

Slideshows are common at funerals; however, they often result in tears. When creating a slide show for your party to celebrate your loved one’s life, you don’t want to use sad songs. Instead, go with upbeat songs and include some of your loved one’s favorites. When choosing the right photos, you should go with pictures that include friends and family members with your loved one where everyone is having fun. The goal of the slideshow is to spark happy memories and avoid tears. 

Allow Guests To Share Their Favorite Memories

During the party, you should allow guests to share happy memories of your loved one. You should plan a time where guests can get up and speak. Be sure to let them know that they should be talking about happy memories. Some people don’t feel comfortable getting up and speaking in front of a crowd. To allow these people to share their memories, you can leave a blank journal on the table. Writing in a journal will allow the guests to write down their favorite memories and for others to read them. Another option is to leave note cards on the table for guests to write their memories. You can scatter the note cards on the table so that the guests can read them. 

Keep The Party Upbeat

To keep the celebration happy and lively, you should make sure that you are only playing upbeat music. Even one sad song can bring everyone down which will defeat the purpose of the party. You can section off an area of the room for a dance floor, which will keep people moving, happy, and interacting with one another. 

Serving Food And Drinks

Like any party, you should serve food and drinks. The food that you serve would depend on your budget and the number of people attending. Rather than having a sit-down dinner, you should go with a buffet. A sit-down dinner will have your guests sitting with the select group of people at their table. If you go with a buffet, guests can move about to get in the buffet line, and they can switch tables as often as they like. A buffet will keep thing more upbeat. 

You should also have a bartender serving drinks. Drinks will keep your guests relaxed, and they will have more fun. 

Provide Keepsakes

At a traditional funeral, prayer cards are often handed out. The card often includes a photo of your loved one along with a poem that is often a tearjerker. The keepsakes that you choose for your celebration of life party should be small enough for your guests to fit in their purses or pockets. Each time they reach in and feel the keepsake, it will remind them of your loved one. A few good examples of keepsakes include personalized tokens, engraved stones, or a card containing your loved one’s photo and one of their favorite sayings. 

Releasing Balloons to the Heavens

When the party is coming to an end, you should have each guest release a balloon. Releasing balloons is a beautiful gesture, and it is a great way for your guests to give the deceased one last gift. If your loved one had a favorite color, that is the color balloon you should choose. Before releasing the balloons, encourage your guests to softly speak their final goodbye. This is a beautiful and meaningful way to end the party. 

Honoring a loved one when they pass doesn’t need to include tears and sadness. If you plan your party correctly, your guests can celebrate your loved one’s life rather than mourning their loss. The last thing that we want when we die is for our loved ones to feel pain and go into mourning. If you truly want to honor your loved one, you should think about throwing a party to celebrate the amazing person they were and the wonderful life they led.

Having a detailed celebration of life checklist can really help in your planning and preparation.

To learn more or start your planning today, get started with your free final wishes booklet here.