How does a Celebration of Life Differ from a Funeral?

By: Myles O'Riordan
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Both funerals and celebrations of life serve the sole purpose of acknowledging the life of loved one. As family and friends gather to provide support to each other, they pay their respects to the deceased and say their last goodbye. Although, when deciding on which memorial service is the right choice for your loved one knowing the ways in which these two services differ will guide you in the right direction of choosing one that resonates with family and friends and honors the wishes of your loved one. In this blog, we will go over both services and give you a better understanding of how they work.



Being a traditional way in which we remember and lay a loved one to rest, an order of proceedings for funerals have been accustomed over time including, a visitation, a funeral service, and a committal service.


The visitation is the first step of the funeral as a way for family and friends to be with their loved one. In some case’s the family will choose to do a viewing of the deceased where guests have the chance to step up and directly pay their respects.


Directly after the visitation is the funeral service that is typically held in a church or the funeral home. The ceremony begins and there is singing, prayers, and speeches from family members or close friends.


After the funeral service is completed the committal service takes place at the gravesite. Bible passages and prayers sometimes are read and it ends with the casket being lowered into the ground.


Celebration of Life


As this service becomes more common, it has changed the way in which people mourn the loss of a loved one. Rather than a traditional funeral service, families will choose to celebrate the life of their loved one who has passed by gathering and focussing on the positive.


A short ceremony takes place full of stories, memories, photos, and in some cases short video clips of the deceased are embraced amongst friends and family. This service is built around memorializing a loved one and participating in activities that remind them of the deceased or pay tribute to them in a personal way. As the service comes to an end there is typically a release activity that may include the release of balloon messages into the sky or bottles into the sea.


A celebration of life in simply to do exactly what the name entails, celebrate the life of a loved one with laughter, joy, and happiness.



Both these services are catered to the deceased and allow family and friends to gather as they lay their loved one to rest. Choosing the right service for your loved one is a decision you make that will honor the person they were and the life they lived. If you have other questions on this topic or seek any advice moving forward, you can contact our professionals here at, Wagg Funeral Home, here.

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