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Honouring a Life Well-Lived: How to Plan a Celebration of Life Funeral

When a loved one passes away, it’s natural to feel grief and sadness. But it’s also important to remember the joy and love that they brought into our lives. A celebration of life funeral is a wonderful way to honour their memory and celebrate the life they lived.

A celebration of life funeral is different from a traditional funeral in that it focuses on the positive aspects of the deceased’s life. It’s a time for friends and family to come together and share stories, memories, and laughter. It’s also a time to reflect on the deceased’s accomplishments and the impact they had on the people around them.

Funerals and wakes are often sombre occasions, but they can also be a celebration of life. Here are a few helpful tips, you can use to make someone’s funeral and wake more of a celebration of their life:

  1. Choose a meaningful location: The location of the funeral and wake can set the tone for the event. If possible, choose a location that was special to the deceased, such as a park where they loved to go for walks or a restaurant where they enjoyed eating with loved ones.
  2. Personalise the service: The funeral and wake should be a reflection of the deceased’s life and personality. Include readings, music, and other elements that were meaningful to them. You can also ask loved ones to share stories and memories of the deceased.
  3. Make it interactive: Encourage loved ones to participate in the funeral and wake. This could involve reading a poem, singing a song, or sharing a story. You can also set up a memory table with photos and other items that belonged to the deceased.
  4. Serve food and drinks: Food and drinks can help to create a more relaxed and celebratory atmosphere. Serve the deceased’s favourite foods and drinks, or choose foods and drinks that are representative of their culture or heritage.
  5. Play music: Music can be a powerful way to celebrate someone’s life. Play the deceased’s favourite music, or choose music that is meaningful to you and their loved ones.
  6. Use bright colours: Instead of traditional black funeral attire, encourage loved ones to wear bright colours. This can help to create a more festive atmosphere.
  7. Include humour: It’s okay to laugh at a funeral. In fact, laughter can be a cathartic way to grieve. If the deceased had a good sense of humour, don’t be afraid to include humorous elements in the funeral and wake.
  8. Celebrate the deceased’s accomplishments: Take some time during the funeral or wake to celebrate the deceased’s accomplishments, both big and small. This could include their career success, their relationships, or their hobbies and interests.
  9. Give back to the community: In lieu of flowers, the deceased’s family may request that donations be made to a charity in their name. This is a great way to honour the deceased’s legacy and give back to their community.


Using these tips can make someone’s funeral and wake more of a celebration of their life. This can help to create a more meaningful and memorable experience for everyone involved.

If you’d like to hear more, check out our podcast, Death Defined ( where we discuss the complicated emotional spectrum of death with real people, from their experiences. Hosted by funeral director Matt Kwoka, we delve into the complicated emotions, processes, and taboos surrounding one of the experiences that unites all humanity.

If you’d like to discuss the requirements for a funeral and how Southern Cross can help celebrate your loved ones’ life, you can contact us at Southern Cross Funerals.