When we lose someone we care for, the funeral is an important part of the healing process. It’s there to help us come to terms with our loss and provides a fitting environment in which to remember and pay tribute. With such an important part to play, it’s no wonder the person planning the funeral feels pressure to do right by the person who’s gone.
Historically funeral services have tended to follow a relatively set structure, sometimes with only minimal mention of the person’s life, which may leave mourners feeling a little disconnected. But things are changing. Funerals are becoming more personal, celebrating the person, the life they lived and the connections they made.
If you’d like to make a loved one’s funeral much more a celebration of their life, here’s some suggestions to inspire you.
Celebrate fond memories
Celebrating a life is about remembering the uniqueness of the person who’s died. There are lots ways to do this. Here are some of our favourites:
A memory board
Collect photos, memorabilia or handwritten notes and display them on a board. Let guests know they’re free to add to it if they wish.
A memory table
Place a few items that represent the person on a table in the entrance of the funeral venue. For example, if you’re planning for a keen traveller you could use a map, their passport, a postcard they sent - even their faithful walking boots.
A memory book
Create a small photo album with collections of memories, then leave a few spare pages for guests to add their own messages on the day.
Celebrate with food
What better way to celebrate a life than by enjoying that person’s favourite food or drink? From fish and chips to ice cream, cream teas to cosmopolitans, there’s plenty of ways to make catering options really personal. If you’re planning for a talented baker, you could make their favourite biscuits or cake. You could even print the recipe for guests to take away.
Celebrate with music
Did your loved one adore rock and roll? Were they an opera fan, or did they dance the salsa? Celebrate their loves by adding some music to the day. Select favourite tracks to play at the service or give guests some lyrics and get them to sing along.
Involve your guests
Celebrations are about getting people together, so get your guests involved. It can help with the grieving process and give loved ones the chance to feel connected to the person they’ve lost.
Here are some suggestions:
A balloon release
Give guests a balloon, asking them to whisper a message or make a wish as you release them together.
Say a final goodbye at the end of the day; light paper lanterns and release them into the night sky.
Instead of the usual guest book, provide luggage labels and a beautiful tree. Guests can write a memory on the label and attach it to the tree. You can plant the tree and keep the messages as a reminder of your loved one.
These are just a few ideas for you. The options are almost endless and really depend on the person you want to celebrate.
If you know the person and their passions, don’t be afraid to share them. Your guests will enjoy remembering them fondly, and we all know that a smile can be good therapy.
Have you ever thought about what your own funeral might be like? If you’d like your loved ones to celebrate your life when the time comes, a funeral plan could help them to do so. You can also read our funeral planning guide to find out all you need to know about making funeral plans.