Making a Funeral a Celebration of Life

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When hearing the word, "funeral," most people automatically think of mournful music, sad speeches, and copious tears. But more and more, people are choosing to celebrate the lives of their deceased loved ones, rather than focusing on their deaths. Read on for tips on how you can blend traditional funeral elements with a celebration of life to create a personalized event that will honor the departed, while focusing on the joy they brought to others.

Incorporate Memorabilia into the Ceremony and Setting.

Was the deceased a cowboy? If so, consider displaying his favorite saddle and boots in the venue. Or forgo the traditional organ music and opt instead for some soft George Strait hits. At one funeral for an individual who had been an avid hunter, the funeral home turned the chapel altar into a hunting blind, and the deceased's hunting dogs were incorporated into the ceremony. 

Making physical reminders of who the person was and what they did a part of the day can make loved ones feel closer to the deceased and bring back happy memories. 

Host an After-funeral Reception.

While the funeral home may not be the best place to reminisce and laugh, a reception at the family's home or other site is. Hosting a reception after the service can give mourners an appropriate place to relax and open up after the day's sadness. Consider providing food the deceased loved. If she loved baking, make it all about cakes, pies, and cookies. Maybe he was a Texan--look into catering some good barbecue.

Getting people together to swap stories can lighten the mood and bring good memories to the forefront of the day. 

Reconsider Making the Body Present. 

Traditionally, funerals display the body in an on-site open or closed casket. If you wish to focus on the person's life rather than their death, consider passing on this tradition and instead display memory boards or project pictures and video from his or her life. 

Customize your Location.

It's routine for a funeral to be held in a funeral home , but relocating the memorial service elsewhere can create a drastically different feel. And if your deceased loved one had a favorite place to be, holding a ceremony there can be particularly meaningful. Churches, homes, and beautiful outdoor settings (think beaches, parks, mountains)--all are great options when planning a celebration of life. In many cases, you can work with a funeral home (such as Parsippany Funeral Home Inc) to handle the body, flower arrangements, program format, etc., while specifying a location other than the funeral home.