How To Plan A Celebration-of-Life

When someone passes away, one manner of opportunity for friends and family to say goodbye and pay tribute in a personal, unique way is through a celebration-of-life. As opposed to traditional funerals which could lean toward somber, sad occasions, these services tend – more often than not – to be exactly what their title suggests: a true celebration and commemoration of the life of the person for whom it is being held. While a celebration may or may not be religious in nature, it concentrates on the joy of having been associated with the person it is being held for. It can be held before a cremation/burial, after, or well after a death (months, if preferred).

Typically, a traditional memorial service will have religious overtones and focus on a recent loss.

1. Should You Plan a Celebration-of-Life?

To honor a loved one's legacy and life, there are numerous options. Very often, attendees will relate a favorite story, bring meaningful keepsakes, or supply a photograph for the service.

While there are no set rules for a time span where a celebration-of-life is concerned, 90 minutes is not unheard of. Very often, this is followed by a get together at a restaurant, someone's home, etc. That is not, however, a requirement. Food and beverages may be served at the celebration, can be involved afterward, or ignored altogether.

Let's look at the planning stages for a celebration-of-life.

2. Planning Stages for a Celebration of Life (or Memorial)

  • Determine the celebration or service type.
  • Decide who will attend, a time, a date, and location.
  • Set a budget.
  • Publish service or event details, if desired, in local papers/an obituary.
  • Put together a list of guests, send out invitations, and ask for RSVP.
  • Consider hiring a planner.
  • Decide who will host or officiate the event.
  • According to the desired tone, select readings.
  • Choose friends or family members to read/write a eulogy.
  • Choose music if desired (hire a musician or ask a friend to play).
  • A program should be created.
  • Consider a memorial urn if cremation has been chosen. For friends and close family, you may want to provide keepsakes.
  • For all of the help you receive, prepare a small thank you gift or write thank you notes.

3. Ask for Assistance


When it comes to a celebration-of-life, any number of people may wish to be involved. For the most part, assistance from others should be welcome and considered helpful. Friends and family can contribute any of the following:

  • Act as hosts or hostesses
  • Bring food and drinks
  • They may choose to bring meaningful keepsakes related to the person who has passed
  • Supply photographs
  • Tell a favorite story, and more.

4. Plan Your Celebration-of-Life With Us

To plan a traditional funeral, cremation service, celebration-of-life, etc. we, at American Heritage Cemetery Funeral Home Crematory, offer a place for one and all to honor every memory and celebrate every life. Through these difficult moments, we are here to guide you. Every life is worth celebrating, unique, and should be honored. We consider ourselves a gathering place for the community, not just a funeral home.

If you would like to plan a celebration-of-life, traditional funeral service, require cremation services, or need something else related to the passing of a friend, family member, or loved one, please contact us today. We are also available for preplanning your own funeral, to take the burden off the shoulders of your family and loved ones during their difficult time.