Celebration of Life Ideas

Each of us is unique and has a special story to tell. A celebration of life is a personal and meaningful event to pay tribute to a life lived. Dignity Memorial® professionals will help you create a memorable ceremony to bring comfort to you and those you love.

As you consider the kind of celebration that best fits your loved one—or yourself, if you are planning ahead—remember that you are limited only by your imagination. Whether considering a simple tribute or a more elaborate event, we encourage you to find inspiration in the little things that made you or your loved one special. Talk with your local Dignity Memorial professional about ideas to create a fitting celebration for your loved one or about planning ahead for your own remembrance event.

Inspiration sparks ideas

A final tribute should be as special as the life it represents. If you are planning for a loved one's celebration, begin by looking for inspiration. How do you tell someone’s story in a single ceremony? Start with what they loved. Write down favorite memories to spark ideas and help bring a special touch to the funeral service.

Write down a few words or phrases to describe that special person. What were the things that made their eyes light up? Think about the activities they enjoyed, the places they visited, the food they loved and the music they listened to. Your Dignity Memorial provider can help you share these unique passions to help you plan a one-of-a-kind service to pay tribute to a very special life.

For more ideas on life celebrations, download Imagine, filled with creative memorial ideas, or contact a Dignity Memorial provider near you.

Celebration of life ideas

Whether you choose burial or cremation for yourself or a family member, Dignity Memorial providers can provide special touches help celebrate each life like no other. Everyone has a passion, a joy or a family tradition. Think about how to highlight that passion in a meaningful way. You can use the list below to spark ideas.

When you're ready, we’re here to help plan every detail of a celebration; one that perfectly honors the individual with a fitting tribute for family and friends. From flowers and music to catering and transportation, the professionals at your local Dignity Memorial location can help carry out your plans just as you envisioned. Some ideas for personal touches at a funeral or memorial service can include:


You can release doves, balloons, lanterns (into the air or on water) or butterflies in a symbolic gesture of remembrance. For balloon or lantern releases, friends and family may also write personal notes of remembrance.

An arm holding a bunch of colorful balloons towards the blue sky
A mariachi band with the trumpet player in front playing music


If music was important, consider a live musical performance in your favorite style. Whether you choose jazz, classical, mariachi or something totally unique, Dignity Memorial providers can assist in creating custom playlists from a personal music collection or help to arrange live musicians to play at a final send-off. Music can become the centerpiece that ties together each piece of a special life celebration.

Funeral flowers

Consider displaying floral arrangements in ways that symbolize the life and passions of yourself or a loved one. A favorite type of flower is often a good way to begin. Or choose flowers in the color of a sports enthusiast’s favorite team. For a personal touch, consider replacing vases with beer pitchers, vintage cans, mason jars or painted wine bottles of your loved one’s favorite varietal.


As you plan the memorial service for yourself or a loved one, keep in mind that even the ride from the service location to the cemetery can be a memorable event. For a motorcycle enthusiast, you might include his or her motorcycle club. Line up their motorcycles and have someone drive your loved one’s bike into the chapel or cemetery. You can even place a loved one's photograph or urn in a sidecar. Did your loved one enjoy the serenity of paddling a kayak on a still lake? Carry a kayak with a photograph or urn to his or her final resting place. For a car enthusiast, let us help arrange a processional with hot rods and classic cars. For the equine or outdoor lover, maybe a horse-drawn carriage provides transportation for the casket. 


Food is often central to occasions of remembrance. For a master gardener or farmer, let us help create a menu that features a homegrown harvest. If a certain food was your loved one’s way of showing how much they cared for family and friends, we can honor that, too. Do you have a secret recipe everyone always asks for? Consider providing it to your funeral arranger during pre-planning so that it can be given as a precious memento or keepsake to friends and family at the service.


Whatever your passion, whatever meant the most, whatever was synonymous with your loved one, the service location can be transformed to reflect that. Dignity Memorial providers have helped families plan decor for everything from country shindigs to country clubs, from baseball to quilting, from muscle cars to train themes. Personal memorabilia or special collections can also be included in a service and can bring a unique and sentimental touch to the event.

Funeral attire

As traditional funeral services evolve into celebrations of life, funeral attire can reflect the uniqueness of your loved one. For example, attendees can be asked to wear a certain color to represent a favorite sports team, or a floral pattern to honor a gardener or patriotic colors to honor a veteran.

Legacy ideas

Honoring your loved one does not have to end after the service. Here are a few ways to keep their 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. 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. Make the first book you read be your loved one’s favorite book.
  • For a sports lover, partner with your loved one’s favorite charity and host a memorial sporting event. It could be a basketball tournament, golf outing, softball game or tennis match.
  • Set up a scholarship in the name of a loved one's alma mater. Have your loved one’s degree, special interest or unique personality play a part in the qualification.
  • If your loved one appreciated the outdoors, host an annual event with friends and family to participate in something they cherished. Or host an annual picnic at their favorite spot.
  • Pass out packets of forget-me-not seeds or a favorite flower to remember a family member who loved to garden.

Imagine funeral planning differently

A funeral or memorial service should be a one-of-a-kind celebration. Everyone has their own unique story. How do you want to tell yours? Imagine is a book full of ideas for creating a beautiful and unforgettable remembrance for yourself or a loved one. Download Imagine to begin planning an unforgettable tribute today.