Planning a Celebration of Life
When a loved one passes on, it is important to grieve their loss and honor their memory. Holding a ceremony for your loved one is crucial to the grieving process. It gives the living a sense of closure while celebrating the life of those passed and giving them the recognition they deserve. The desire to hold more uplifting, upbeat, and personal services for the deceased led to the popularity of celebrations of life. You may be considering a ceremony like this for your loved one. Here are some ideas to help you plan a celebration that honors and remembers them in the best way possible. Many people request not to have a memorial service before they die, but these celebrations are important to the living as they grieve the loss of their friend or family member.
The first thing you want to do when planning a celebration ceremony is to set a budget. Your budget will determine a lot of the choices you make in the planning process. Once you have figured out how much you can afford, you will need to pick a time and date. Just like any other event, people will need to RSVP so you can get a head count.
Most people aren’t comfortable speaking in front of many people. Add the loss of a loved one on top of that and you will most likely want to get some help running the ceremony. You can enlist the help of family, friends, and even spiritual leaders like your pastor. Some people even hire event planners to take care of the details of the day so that they can be present with their emotions and family.
Deciding on Readings
You will want to keep the service in line with the wishes of the one who passed. If your loved one has indicated that they want a certain scripture or poem read at the service, be sure to let the planner and others involved know. The reading part of the celebration of life can be very brief if you would like. The most important thing is that the readings are meaningful and heartfelt. This is also a good time to set the tone for the event through your words and to offer a prayer for everyone in attendance.
Writing a Speech
It is common at celebration ceremonies for someone to give a speech in remembrance of their lost loved one. Giving a speech is difficult, especially in front of a large audience. Here are a few tips to help you deliver a truly amazing speech that your loved one deserves.
Control your voice – Chances are that there will probably be several people at the ceremony that don’t hear well. Try to speak loudly and clearly so that they can hear the full message.
Go slow and steady – It’s very important to speak slowly so everyone has time to process what you are saying. Speeches are a key part of celebrations of life because they help with closure.
Take meaningful pauses – Pausing at specific points in your speech will allow your audience to reflect on what you just said and allow you to compose yourself in the tear-jerking parts.
Use correct body language – This is an important part of any speech. You will want to make sure you have proper body language when speaking in front of the audience. This will aid in setting the tone and help you convey your message.
Eye contact is important – Making steady and consistent eye contact with audience members will keep them engaged through the speech. If you mention someone in the room, make eye contact with them.
When making music selections for the ceremony, consider these three purposes. The music selections should fulfill these three purposes:
- Honor the life of the deceased
- Express feelings
- Fulfill religious purposes
Music is critical for setting the tone of the event as guests arrive. If you hire someone to take care of the music for the day, you can discuss which selections to play ahead of time. The more services you outsource, the less you will have to do the day of the celebration.
Making a Program for the Ceremony
Almost every event has an accompanying program. Create a program to help guests follow along with what’s going on and what to expect. Many guests will save the program as a keepsake. You can create the program yourself or get someone to do it for you. Here’s what you will need to create a program:
- The obituary
- Readings, musical selections, and speakers
- Time and date
The Final Touches
Here are a few other things you may want to incorporate into your ceremony to make it more meaningful:
- Food (especially comfort food)
- Photographs (memory boards or a slideshow)
Grieving doesn’t have to be a solitary struggle. A celebration of life can help you and your loved ones come together to help each other grieve and honor the person who has passed.
Finish planning a celebration of life with us today!