Celebration of life ceremonies, the unique alternative to traditional funerals, have been around for several years and have been growing in popularity. According to an article by BBC News, a survey of 2,000 people suggested that 54% wanted their funeral to be a “celebration of life.” And, 48% said they wanted it to incorporate their favorite “hobby, color, football team or music.”

So, what’s the difference between a celebration of life and a traditional funeral, and why are they so popular compared to their traditional counterpart? We provide some insight into these questions and some tips on planning your own celebration of life ceremony, below.

Celebration of Life vs Traditional Funeral

A celebration of life, as the name implies, is meant to be a joyful event rather than a mournful one, and is held either in place of or after a memorial service. This is often at the request of the deceased loved one before he or she died. These ceremonies typically don’t include an urn or casket and are not typically held in funeral homes or any other religious building.

A celebration of life is more of a party than a somber occasion and is less likely to follow the format and conventions of a traditional funeral service. You can expect a celebration of life to be more of a casual get-together, as friends and family members speak of the positive aspects of their loved one’s life, and reminisce on special moments and memories.

Tips to Plan a Celebration of Life Ceremony

When it comes to planning a celebration of life ceremony, the possibilities are endless. And there typically aren’t any requirements or restrictions. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re planning:


How will you honor and celebrate the life of your loved one? Some of our favorite options include creating a memory jar or board, watching a remembrance video, listening to your loved one’s favorite songs, crafting a memory quilt with squares of fabric from the person’s clothing, or reading their favorite poems, quotes, or other literature.

As you share memories and stories of your passed loved one, it may be helpful to appoint a family member or friend to help lead the group and move the ceremony along. Be sure to also let your guests know what type of attire should be worn, and if they should bring any items that would be beneficial to the ceremony, such as photos and mementos.


Who will you invite to help celebrate the life of your loved one? To narrow your guest list, think about the size of your venue, and whether you’d like to restrict the ceremony to just immediate or close family, or open it to friends as well.


Compared to traditional funeral services, celebration of life ceremonies offer many more possibilities when it comes to venues. Once you have your guest list created, search for a location that can hold the number of people who are likely to attend. Celebration of life ceremonies can be held at home, at a park, restaurant, or another spot that was significant to your loved one.

Above all, remember the true meaning behind this ceremony – to celebrate the life that was lived by your loved one. If you find that you’re hitting roadblocks while planning your celebration of life ceremony, please feel free to reach out to our team. We are always available to offer support and guidance.