Unique Celebration of Life Program Tips & Templates

Published January 21, 2021
Family toast

Celebration of life services are designed to move the memorial for a loved one away from the sad and somber presentation of a traditional service to a more positive and upbeat celebration of a life that has touched many people. Celebration of life programs help guests know what they should experience during the service. Here are some tips and templates that can guide building a program for the event.

Celebration of Life Program Tips

Just like a celebration of life invitation, a celebration of life program is provided for the guests at the service so they can know what to expect. Mentally preparing for the activities of a service helps people adapt to non-traditional funeral practices while focusing on the life and memories of the deceased. Here are some tips remember when preparing the program.

Program Layout

A program can be one side of the piece of paper or can use both sides. When using a two-sided presentation, choose between using the front and back of the paper, or by folding the paper, thus creating four separate pages. The front and back of the folded paper typically include information from the front of a non-folded paper. The two inner pages communicate the order of service which is normally from the back of a non-folded paper.

Information to Include

The program typically includes two types of information for the guest. The first type of information is biographical for the deceased. The second type lists the events of the service. Programs may include the words to hymns or songs if the entire group is expected to sing. Likewise, the listing of the events tells not only what will take place, but who will be leading that portion of the service. The program communicates who will deliver a eulogy, who will perform readings, and who will sing or play particular music.

Celebration of Life Activities Worded for the Program

Many families decide to have a celebration of life service because they would like a little more informal nature to the memorial. In these types of services, an explanation of the activities may be appropriate to help acclimate guests to a format that replaces the more well-known funeral service. Here are a few examples of the activities that might be included and the wording that could be used in the program.

Time of Gathering and Celebration

Welcome to the Celebration of Life service for John Smith. There are seats available at tables throughout the room. Tables that have been reserved for the immediate family members are located near the patio door. We will not be having a full meal, but beverages and desserts will be brought to your table. Enjoy meeting with friends and family of John.

Toast and Shared Memories

Following our time of celebration, John's brother Tom will be leading a toast to the life and memories of his brother. Please enjoy a glass of wine that will be available at each table, or choose the non-alcoholic juice instead. During the time following Tom's toast, the microphone will be open for friends to share their memories when a memorial will be offered.

Memorial Activity

Pastor Tim Jones will be offering a few thoughts about John, preceded by a Scripture reading from John's cousin, Ernie Smith. Pastor Jones' will close his remarks with a prayer.

Celebratory Activity

We invite everyone in attendance of the celebration to join us in the front yard for a ceremonial farewell to our beloved John Smith. Each table has a paper lantern which we would ask that someone at your table bring the lantern to the celebration. We will let go balloons while John's niece, Jane Smith, plays her own special composition on the violin.

Closing Comments

Pastor Tim Jones will offer a closing benediction after the balloons have been released. Following his prayer, you will be dismissed. The family of John Smith thanks you in advance for the special role you played in John's life and for your attendance today.

Celebration of Life Templates

The following templates will show how to design a program with just one side on the paper used, with both sides used, and with the paper folded showing four distinct pages. If you need help downloading, please use the Guide for Adobe Printables. The order of the celebration of life service is flexible by design. The template will show several activities for the service. If not including a particular activity, simply delete the item from the listing, or change it to reflect your particular service. After customizing the program, print the program on stationary paper.

Program Using One Side of a Paper

The top half of the page should include a title of "Celebration of Life" along with a picture of the deceased loved one. The name of the loved one, along with the dates of their birth and death should be connected to the picture. There should also be lines indicating the time and place of the service. An obituary of the loved one may optionally follow. The bottom half of the page should include the order of the service.

Celebration of life program using one side of a paper

Program Using Two Sides of a Paper

The same structure can be used for a program that uses the front and back of a piece of paper. Put the personal information about the deceased loved one on the front of the paper. The picture of the loved one can be a little larger than a one-sided program. The obituary information can be more detailed. The order of service again can be enlarged and spaced nicely over the page. The words to music can be added more easily in this setting.

Celebration of life program using two sides of a paper

Program Using a Folded Piece of Paper

When using a folded piece of paper, the events of the service are spread out between the two inner pages. The name of the deceased, the picture of the loved one and a listing of the time and place of the service are included on the front cover. The back cover traditionally contains the obituary information.

Celebration of life program using a folded piece of paper

Guiding a Memorial to Honor Your Loved One

A celebration of life service provides comfort to friends and family members during a time of mourning as they grieve the life of a loved one who has passed away. The celebration of life program helps guide the people attending a service so they can know what to expect. The program also gives a tangible memory of the event and their loved one.

Unique Celebration of Life Program Tips & Templates