Tributes and celebrations

Celebrating a life

When Sally’s father, Arthur, died recently, a particular memorable moment was when his seven grandchildren individually placed a special memento on his coffin. For example, Caitlin placed his favourite biscuit tin, Timmy his reading glasses, Sarah his coffee mug and Ben his well-worn fishing hat. And when they played Arthur’s footy team’s song, they all stood up and sang with gusto.

Clearly, Arthur’s funeral wasn’t a sombre affair, but a fitting celebration of his life. One which will leave a lasting memory of what made Arthur who he was.

So, what can you do to give your loved one a memorable tribute? Here are a few ideas to help you commemorate their life:

Photographic tribute

What were some of the things from which your loved one took immense joy? Was it travelling to exotic places, cooking up a storm in the kitchen or pottering in the garden? Something else? Whether at the funeral or any post funeral gatherings, displaying photos of them doing what they loved will do wonders to highlight their personality for all to recall. Childhood photos with other loved ones also add a special touch.

Also, how would you like to display the photos? Using audio-visual presentations, where a series of photos are rotated on a screen to background music, is becoming very popular. The electronic nature also makes it easy to send the file to family and close friends who could not be with you at the time. Of course, you could go the traditional route and have a physical album. No matter what you choose, it will make a wonderful keepsake for the family to show future generations.

Using technology

Nowadays, technology is becoming more and more useful for honouring the deceased’s life. For example, one can to link to a video or broadcast the funeral for relatives and friends who can't make the event.


Was it it jazz, classical, the blues, country music or a mix of genres? Playing their favourite music at the funeral can add to the celebratory ambience. Another consideration is whether you’d like to hire musicians – such as a band, pianist or organist – or play electronic (MP3) music files.

Order of service booklet

This booklet is another opportunity to add some happy photos of your loved one. Don’t be shy to add colour either. What was your loved one’s favourite hue? If it works, why not make it the page or font colour?

Involve the young ones

Gone are the days of children not being seen and heard at funerals. The deceased’s children or grandchildren can make the funeral come alive with funny anecdotes and recalling a side of the deceased which others may not have experienced. So if they wish, let the little ones get involved.

Funeral procession route

Arthur’s procession went past his footy team’s ground. Did your loved one have a favourite place which could be included in the procession route? Think favourite clubs, cafes or restaurants, grandchildren’s homes, etc.

Other things to consider are cultural and family traditions, any mementos to put on the coffin and dress code. What you choose can add to the celebratory tone. Why not take a look this resource for further ideas on commemorating your loved one’s life?

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