Celebration of life ideas

Published: 11/8/2022

A celebration of life is an opportunity for family and friends to pay tribute to a loved one and say goodbye in a symbolic and personal way.

Held after the physical remains have been cared for through burial or cremation, a celebration of life offers more flexibility and creativity, leaving more time to plan and make the best decision about how you'd like to celebrate the life of your loved one.

Barbara Kingsolver wrote in her book, The Poisonwood Bible:

"To live is to be marked. To love is to change, to acquire the words of a story, and that is the only celebration we mortals really know."

This is the heart of a celebration of life - telling the story of your loved one, bringing people together and celebrating the memories and the person.

Below is a list of celebration of life ideas to help inspire, commemorate and truly capture the essence of your loved one and celebrate their incredible life.

Plant a celebration of life garden

In your loved ones name by choosing their favourite type of tree or plant and special location. Planting the tree is a sentimental and symbolic way to celebrate your loved one and reflect the meaning of the circle of life, growth and new life as it continues.

Music to celebrate

Music has a special way of taking hold of our hearts during difficult times. Ask each guest to contribute a song that reminds them of your loved one and put together a playlist throughout the ceremony.

Hold a 'paddle out' ceremony

This can be at the beach and can be held on the sand or by people on surfboards forming a circle in the water. This captures a spiritual and symbolic moment of people coming together to celebrate their loved one, who maybe was a keen surfer or loved the ocean.

Create a memorial quilt

Ask friends and family to send photos of the person and make a quilt from old photos and patches of your loved ones favourite clothing.

Hold a memory walk

Gather friends and family at a special spot and walk the route on behalf of your loved one. This could be their favourite hiking track or park for example. You can walk as much or as little as you like and a nice finishing touch would be to have a picnic afterwards.   There are many charity walks and fun runs you can take part in with friends and family to celebrate your loved ones life too.

Create a memory capsule

This can be Included in the celebration of life ceremony. Place photographs, cards, books and other special memories into a box. Gather friends and family and bury the box in a special place.

Create a tribute video

Ask family and friends to contribute photos and have the video playing throughout the ceremony with your loved ones favourite song included in the video.

Write a letter or poem

To your loved one expressing how much they meant to you and the role they played in your life sharing the poem with family and friends at the ceremony.

Make a memory candle

For your loved one. You can make one or enough for each of your family and friends and have the candles burning throughout the ceremony.

Create a theme for the celebration

This could be your loved ones favourite colour, sports team or movie character. A theme can spark joyful memories of your loved one as family and friends come together in uplighting colours and clothing.

Ask family and friends to prepare a favourite memory to share

Have guests write a memory down on a piece of paper, placing the memories in a box and share each memory with guests during the celebration.

Donate to a charity

Ask guests to make a donation to charity in your loved ones name.

Each celebration of life ceremony is personal and special, explore the list of ideas and take your time in the planning. 

Many even find piecing together a celebration of life offers a significant amount of healing and helps bring a sense of closure.

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind" - C.S Lewis 

By Alana Dintinosante

Latest articles

Eulogy jokes: Balancing humour and respect at a funeral

Eulogy jokes, humorous anecdotes, one-liners and celebrity quotes about death incorporated into a...

Eulogy jokes: Balancing humour and respect at a funeral

19 Funeral songs from the 90s to honour your loved one

19 songs from the 1990s to compliment a heartfelt farewell. These funeral songs can bring back memories...

19 Funeral songs from the 90s to honour your loved one

How do I find a funeral notice in Victoria?

How to find a funeral notice in Victoria with My Tributes. A safe platform to honour and connect...

How do I find a funeral notice in Victoria?

Laurie Theresa Harbort

Readers of the Catholic Leader during the period 1955 to 1980 would fondly remember the Uncle John’s...

Laurie Theresa Harbort

Shane Warne’s dad Keith delivers emotional eulogy at state...

Shane Warne’s father Keith has delivered a moving eulogy before he was overcome with emotion when...

Shane Warne’s dad Keith delivers emotional eulogy at state memorial
View more articles