How to Plan a Celebration of Life Service?

Planning a celebration of someone's life as a service

Losing a loved one is often a difficult and trying time. As you begin to process your grief, you may also be tasked with the responsibility of planning a Celebration of Life service. If you have never planned a service before, the prospect can be daunting. At Country Hills Crematorium, we strive to make every element of your memorial service flow smoothly – including the planning of a Celebration of Life.

Paying your respects to a loved one can be a complicated and emotional series of events – from taking care of cremation details to writing an obituary – planning a celebration of life may feel overwhelming, especially if this is your first experience. However, by following these simple steps, you can plan a beautiful and fitting tribute to your loved one that their friends and family will cherish forever. Remember as well that your funeral director at Country Hills will be more than happy to assist you with every step of the process.

Decide on the Type of Service

The first step in planning a Celebration of Life service is to decide on the type of service you would like to have. There are many different types of services, ranging from traditional religious ceremonies to more modern celebrations.
Perhaps you’ve already decided to have a private cremation service, and now you’d like to schedule a gathering to say a few words among friends. It is important to decide on the most appropriate service that best reflects the life of your loved one. If they were very religious, a traditional religious service may be the best option. However, if they did not follow any particular religious tradition a more modern celebration may be fitting. Regardless of your choice, Country Hills Crematorium can help you understand what your options are and help you arrange for the celebration that fits your situation.

Choose the Date & Time

Once you have decided on the type of celebration service you would like to have, you need to choose a date and time for it. It is important to consider the schedules of your loved one’s closest friends and family when choosing a date and time. However, please remind yourself that you will not be able to accommodate everyone. Trying to do so will leave you discouraged and feeling that you have disappointed others. Remember that if friends and family feel it important enough to attend the service they will find a way to do so. Country Hills Crematorium also offers “Zoom” live streaming of your loved one’s service for those who cannot attend.

You will also need to review any logistical considerations, such as whether or not your pastor, priest, or officiant is available for the time you have chosen. It is important to discuss timing with your funeral director at Country Hills who will help you coordinate all of the pieces that need to be put in place. We are only a phone call away.

Telling a Life Story

A Celebration of Life serves many purposes. It marks the death of your loved one, serves as an important ritual or rite of passage for that person, contributes in a positive way to the grieving process of family and friends, and provides a venue for mourning to take place. An important element of such a service is to tell the story of the person who has died. Through actively sharing memories, viewing photos and memorabilia, listening to favourite music, sharing joys and sorrows of the life lived, and entering into a supportive social space those who are gathered, or who are watching on live stream, take away valuable tools for healing and moving forward with life.

The funeral director will assist you and help you to accommodate whatever personalization of the service you would like to incorporate, be that favorite food items of your loved one, crafts they created with their own hands, jokes they told repeatedly stories of courage and survival they lived, or family histories. The choices are endless.

Select Readings, Music, & Other Elements

One of the most important aspects of any funeral, memorial or celebration of life is the selection of readings, music, and other elements that will be used during the ceremony. These elements should reflect the life and personality of your loved one, and add to the telling of the life story.

You may want to select readings that were particularly meaningful to them or that reflect their spiritual beliefs. You may also want to choose music that was special to them or that evokes fond memories. Other elements such as slideshows or videos can also be used to personalize the service and make it truly unique. It is important to consult with the person who will be leading the service to decide on the order of events.

Parting Thoughts

Planning a celebration of life service can be a difficult task, but it is also an incredibly rewarding experience. As a leader in providing cremation services in Calgary and the surrounding area, Country Hills Crematorium is here to guide you through the process from beginning to end.

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