Celebrating a Life/After the Pandemic.
For some families the need to hold a celebration to say Farewell to their loved one is all encompassing. It isn't a surprise as we know that we need to mourn and hold a ceremony.
The pandemic, and ensuing restrictions, has meant that many, many families have not been able to hold those celebrations in the way they would have liked, and therefore are aiming to have a celebration as soon as the restrictions have lifted.
The first thing to bear in mind is that this will take a lot of organisation. You will need to do some or all of the following....find a venue, organise a guest list, food, drink, music, decorations, photo displays, and a plan for what will happen when.
Your Funeral Director will be happy to help (at a cost) in any way necessary, but you may wish to consider using an event organiser. A Celebrant too will be willing to work with you. This may be in organising the event, or just helping to write and deliver a script on the day.
Using music, poems or part of the script from the funeral service will help to link the two together. Be wary though of repeating everything. This will be a very different type of celebration, you will already have held the more formal event. If you are going to scatter , or bury, the ashes, then a more formal ceremony may well be appropriate, but otherwise a more celebratory vibe would feel far more in keeping.
The most important thing to decide is where to hold your event. It could be the local Pub, a Village Hall, local golf course house, the local park, a hotel where you have enjoyed many family meals, a beach, mountainside, round barrow or even in the middle of a beautiful lavender field. Some of these options will come with an event organiser, certainly the hotel or golf club house, will usually have someone who can help you with all aspects of the planning.
Next, I would suggest you consider whether the ashes will be present. If you decide that they will be a part of the celebration then you can work out how and where, and then create the rest of the plan around this.
For a Funeral Service you would just publish the date and time, and have a guess at the approximate number of attendees (never easy when organising the catering for the wake). For a memorial celebration you will have a better idea of who you would like to attend, and therefore expect rsvp's to enable you to plan properly.
Once you have an idea of attendees then you can organise the food and drink. Maybe a buffet, a picnic, a fish and chip or ice cream van, an afternoon tea, or a full sit down meal. Either an option that you would like, or your loved one's favourite food choice.
If you have other family members, or friends, who offer to help, then please do utilise this. It really helps people who feel involved, and feel that they are able to do something to contribute or support you. This could be baking cakes, organising a photo display, sorting out the music, creating an order of service sheet, the list is endless, but will make your life so much easier too.
Do allow yourself time. Time to get it right, time for you, time to prepare. You have been through a very difficult time, and have already had so much to deal with. Don't pile extra pressure on yourself. Whatever you plan will be perfect, and will be appreciated by all who attend.