Helpful Tips for a Memorable Celebration of Life

A celebration of life can be held days after death or many months later.

This flexibility even in the face of adversity is just one reason why so many people are opting for these very personal, joyous events rather than somber funerals. Designed to pay tribute to the life of the deceased while bringing comfort to the grieving, life celebrations are limited only by imagination. What made your loved one special and how could you highlight that uniqueness in a meaningful way? Whether you envision an elaborate affair or a simple gathering, we’ve compiled some helpful tips to inspire your planning.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Are you comfortable with planning and conducting the memorial event yourself? These preparations can be time-consuming, so most people recruit a few family members or friends to help out. It’s also a good idea to have a few people acting as hosts and hostesses at the event to welcome guests and ensure a smooth flow.

Add a splash of color.

The basic black that was once requisite for funerals has become a thing of the past. From the attire to the casket, today’s celebrations of life tend to embrace color. You might ask guests to wear an item of clothing in your loved one’s favorite hue. Or, you could hand out single keepsake flowers in his or her preferred shade.

Make a memory table.

What were your loved one’s favorite hobbies and pastimes? Gather some of the key things that were important to him or her and display them on a large table at the service. For example, if you could always find your loved one on the golf course, set up some clubs, tees, golf balls, and trophies. If his or her hobby was carving wood, you could display a few prized works of art and tools of the trade.

Serve up some tasty cuisine.

Many people opt to have a food theme for their celebrations of life, such as barbeque or seafood. You could also consider the deceased’s favorite foods and serve those dishes as a special tribute. For example, if everyone raved about grandma’s pot pie and apple turnovers, they would make a perfect party menu. If dad loved a great glass of wine, serve a wide selection from his favorite label. Was your loved one an excellent cook? You could make copies of his or her favorite recipes to give out as keepsakes.

Include meaningful music.

Music is an integral part of life for many people and a celebration of life is the perfect event at which to showcase the melodies that were the most meaningful to your loved one. If he was a Motown fan, crank up the Temptations and Four Tops at the repast. Was she a gospel lover? Play some Mahalia Jackson and Yalonda Adams.

Host an open mic session. At the memorial event, open up the mic and invite family and friends to share a few words about your loved one. This will allow them to express their thoughts and feelings, while also providing some new insights and fond memories for other guests.

Leave a legacy.

Honoring your loved one doesn’t have to end after the service. There exists an endless number of ways you could keep his or her memory alive in the hearts and minds of others for years to come. For animal lovers, consider partnering with a local animal shelter to host an adoption event. Make a donation in his or her name or adopt a pet in a loved one's honor. To pay tribute to an avid reader, donate books to your local library or start a book club with others who knew and loved your book enthusiast.

Everyone has a special story to tell.

There’s a lot to consider when arranging a celebration of life for a loved one. This is a time for thoughtful preparation, so don’t hesitate to explore the many creative ideas that are likely to arise during your planning process.

If you need assistance, we would be happy to put our decades of memorial planning experience to work. Let's talk about your loved one and create the perfect celebration of life event to honor his or her memory.

About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit

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