What is a celebration of life service?

A celebration of life is not for everyone, with many families preferring the familiarity of a traditional funeral. However, if those who have passed had wishes of a happy send-off or were remembered for living a positive life, an end of life celebration could be the solution.

In contrast to the sombre nature of a traditional funeral, a celebration of life is a cheerful alternative and one that honours a person’s personality and how they lived their life. At the heart of the ceremony are happy memories of the person who has passed, as loved ones express how grateful they are for the time they have spent together.

Planning a celebration of life

Like a traditional funeral, the first step to planning a celebration of life service is to find the right funeral director for you and your family. You are not bound to the first funeral director you speak to, so feel free to get in touch with a few before choosing the one for you.

If you need some advice on what you should look for in your funeral director, click here [link].

After you’ve found a funeral director, organising a celebration of life service bares a lot of similarities to planning a traditional funeral. You will have to make important decisions about the service and the wake. Below are a few ideas to get you started with the arrangements.

Inspirational ideas for a celebration of life service

Go beyond flowers

The traditional flowers such as lilies and chrysanthemums are not necessarily as comforting as your loved one’s favourites. Choose the flowers your loved one favoured, or even go beyond floral arrangements. If the person who has passed was a keen shopper, consider burying them with their favourite accessory. Or, if they had a love for gardening, perhaps they could be commemorated with a plant-based arrangement. Have a think about your loved one and what they had a passion for during their life.

Switch up the venue

A celebration of life doesn’t have to be held in a Church like a traditional funeral. Hold the end of life celebration service on the beach, in a garden or perhaps choose a place that your loved one held close to their heart. If you do opt for a public location, ensure to go earlier in the day for more privacy.

Brighten up the dress code

A traditional funeral is commonly associated with black, as the colour of mourning. Instead of black, guests could dress in vibrant colours, the favourite colour of the person who has passed or even fancy dress! The dress code is open to interpretation with a celebration of life, allowing families to choose something they think they loved one would have wanted.

Embrace colour

If you want to go all out, you can get a custom coffin created that truly fits the personality of your loved one, including shapes like a boat or a plane. Alternatively, cardboard coffins are now available in a variety of colours with personalised prints, or even glitter.

Uplifting music

The poems, readings and music tend to be fairly sombre at a traditional funeral. Instead, those at a celebration of life service tend to be much more positive in tone. Some can even have an element of comedy, again perhaps representing the funny side of the person you are celebrating.

Pick a different hearse

A classic black hearse is often the norm at a traditional funeral service, but for an end of life celebration you can ask your funeral arranger to organise something a bit different. Perhaps your loved one had an obsession with Volkswagen campervans or loved their electric cars, either way these are all possibilities. Find something that suits your loved one’s personality and go with it.

One to remember

Although a sad time, a celebration of life could be a real tribute to your loved one and their life. Perhaps provide fireworks at the end of the celebration or, you could give each guest a sparkler to craft a guard of honour as the coffin is taken to the graveside or crematorium.

What do to for the reception

As with the service, there are plenty of things you can do to differentiate an end of life celebration from a traditional funeral. Here a few ideas if you’re not sure where to start.

Favourite foods

Embrace your loved one’s favourite treats at their celebration of life. Maybe they could never have just the one biscuit or had an obsession with baking, choosing a food they favoured can be a thoughtful way to commemorate them.

Light a fire

Light a fire-pit at the reception and ‘send’ messages to your loved one. Encourage guests to write messages to the person who has passed, perhaps reading them out before adding them into the fire and ‘sending’ them.

A memory tree

If the reception venue has a woodland or trees nearby, print copies of your favourite photographs of your loved one and hang them from a tree. Encourage friends and family to bring their own photos, leaving blank cards for them to note messages and hang them throughout the reception.

Be decorative

Personalise the coffin, inviting close family members and friends to help decorate the coffin ahead of the funeral. Weave their favourite flowers into a wicker coffin, or perhaps leave messages on a customisable cardboard coffin.

Memory book

Create a scrapbook with photographs of your loved one, asking friends and family to send in their favourite images. Or, create a memorial slideshow made up of both videos and photos of the person who has passed and project them onto a large screen at the reception.

A final goodbye

To bid goodbye to your loved one, release balloons, doves or butterflies into the air. This can signify an element of closure to friends and families, saying a final farewell to the person who has passed. Light eco-friendly paper lanterns and float them across a lake, or perhaps attach messages to helium balloons and release them into the open air. A cathartic adieu, be sure to do your research to avoid harming local wildlife.

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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