Making a celebration of life personal + memorable

Navigating relatives through the personal details of celebrating the life of a lost love one, is comforting. It is a level of emotion that does take its toll that not even a ride on the peloton can get rid of. On some level, there is a rush in my creative mind (that typically comes out for weddings) that laser focuses on ensuring the life of the deceased is celebrated and remembered. There have been four amazing souls who left this earth entirely way too soon, but I have to believe there is one heck of a party going on where they all are. I will think of them often and will continue to provide prayers to each of their loved ones who are navigating through their new normal.

Because of the funerals I have been a part of recently, I thought I would focus on the five tips I feel are important to do. 

1. Memory Cards: I find that just signing a guest book is not enough. When guests arrive at a celebration of life, they tend to feel better when they have something to do. Print up custom cards with quotes from the deceased and ask the guests to write a special memory to the family. This is so much more meaningful than just having someone sign their name. 

2. Obituary: Put extreme care into the obituary. Let this be a time for the guests to really know the details of the person they are celebrating. The obituary should encapsulate the life of the deceased. If cost is a factor, print up your own programs with the information. 

3. Programs: They should be considered more of a keepsake. Have the order of the ceremony, but add the obituary, a photo, or perhaps a favorite reading. Again, a keep sake. 

4. Music: Make the music relevant to the deceased. I can appreciate that if you are in a church you will have music limitations, however if you are not limited, play the music that the deceased liked to listen to. I know for sure I will expect to have The Eagles and Rick Springfield played at my funeral. 

5. Photos: Make sure you have all kinds of photos. Photos of the deceased with not only their loved ones but friends. I personally like to order the 8×8 canvas photos at or any other cheap canvas printing companies online. You do not need a frame as they stand on their own and they are always on sale (yes, cheaper than buying a frame). You then have the option to give those photos to guests who have come. 

6. Personal Items: Bring things to display that embodied the deceased or ask guests to wear something specific (sports jersey, favorite color, cowboy boots etc). It is ok to not wear black to a wedding. 

The goal of this event is to honor the deceased and you can do this in so many ways that will make this event truly memorable.