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  • Writer's pictureBeverley Anne

How is a Celebration of Life different from a Funeral?

A traditional Funeral will take place with the deceased present and come in the form of a burial or a cremation service. These can be religious, humanist, or as a Celebrant, such as the Beverley Anne Civil Celebrant service in Cambridgeshire – we do whatever the family wants. Which may, or may not, include religious or cultural elements.

A Celebration of Life is often arranged for some time - maybe weeks or months, after a death. This could be preferred for many reasons; the deceased passed at a location away from his loved ones, or loved ones were not in a position to be able to or want to arrange a funeral at that time, to give time for the shock to be absorbed. Whatever the reason, a delayed celebration can be preferred and beneficial to the family.

The deceased will usually have had a direct cremation (with no ceremony), and therefore might still be present at the Celebration of their life, in the form of ashes, (in a urn for example) but that doesn’t have to be the case.

This ceremony can take place anywhere suitable, a village hall, a private club, or even at a person’s home or garden. The chosen venue will often be dressed more like a party or reception, with flowers, visual tributes, memorabilia, and refreshments.

So, what happens in a Celebration of Life?

There will be a bespoke script, written and delivered on the day by the Celebrant, to guide the guests through the person’s life, acknowledging key events and achievements along the way. Then there might be all manner of contributors from various stages in that person’s life. Each contributor will have known the person and have something to share with everyone, funny stories, tributes, anecdotes, and even little ones can get involved with made up poems or recounting stories told.

There will likely be music interludes often accompanied by photo tributes to raise a smile or a tear and prompt some old memories. Typically, there will be a toast or 2 or more… accentuating the relaxed atmosphere and the celebratory nature of the ceremony.

These are not sad occasions, even though a tear may be shed, they remember the happy times, after the rawness has subdued a little. Many families speak of a sense of accomplishment in having given their loved one ‘a good send-off’, the sort of event they would have loved to attend.

I believe this can be a beautiful alternative to a traditional funeral service, and would love to help others to create a beautiful bespoke Celebration of Life for their loved one, or even to plan their own. Contact me now to book a consultation.



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