Traditional Funeral or Celebration of Life Service


In recent years there has been an increasing interest in holding Celebration of Life services in place of a traditional funeral service – but what is the difference? This article will look at both celebration of life and traditional funeral services, identify the differences and similarities, helping you to decide which is more appropriate. Whether you are forward planning for your own ceremony or planning the service of a loved one the information provided will help guide you to arrange the service that most suits the individual. 

Traditionally, in the UK, funerals have been held in a church or chapel and follow a standard procedure in which family and friends gather to mourn the loss of their loved one. However, recently there has been a trend toward focusing on celebrating the life of the person that has died during the funeral as opposed to mourning their loss. Neither type of service is right or wrong, and which you choose is entirely dependent on the individual that has died and what they would have wanted. 

Traditional Funeral Service

Traditionally funerals are held in either a religious building or the chapel of a crematoria. Religious services usually follow a more standardised format closely linked to the traditions of the religion and its funeral practices. Services held at a chapel are more fluid, however, a standard format is often proffered by the officiant taking the service. A traditional order of service would generally follow the below format:

Funeral chapel
  • Music
  • Introduction
  • Singing of hymns or verse recital
  • Funeral readings
  • Tribute to the person that has died
  • Time for reflection
  • Funeral prayers or comforting words
  • Singing of hymns or verse
  • Words of commendation
  • Word or music during the committal
  • Closing words
  • Music to leave

In either venue religious content can and is, often used within a traditional funeral service. Many people opt for well-known hymns and prayers, other people step away from religion but stick to a traditional format again using popular songs and verse. Traditional services pay respect to the person that has died, there often is an element of celebrating their life but the focus is more skewed to mourning the loss of life. A talented celebrant such as Steve can blend a traditional ceremony with a celebratory tone, you can find out more about Steve here.

Celebration of Life

Increasingly frequently people are choosing to have a Celebration of Life as opposed to a traditional funeral. This type of service can and often does follow a similar order to a traditional service, however, the focus and tone of the service is vastly shifted toward one of celebration. This type of service often most successfully delivered by a talented officiant such as Celebrant Steve. 

Outdoor funeral

Steve takes the time to speak with each family that he works with to gather information about the person that has died enabling him to deliver a fitting celebration of life. Reviews for Steve often comment that it was like he actually knew the deceased. Using stories, anecdotes, favourite music, and photographic or video tributes this type of service is planned to uplift the congregation, to help stimulate memories of happy times and reflection on a full life, and how the person that has died positively touched each and every person there. 

Celebration of Life services are frequently held in chapels of crematoriums. However, as there are no rules and restrictions in the UK regarding where a funeral can be held, people are increasingly opting to have such ceremonies in unique locations that have a personal connection to the person that has died. 

Which Type of Service is Best?

There is no right or wrong, whether you opt for a traditional funeral or celebration of life service is completely down to individual preference. Some personalities lean more strongly toward one type of service or the other, and obviously those with strong religious beliefs are likely to opt for a ceremony that is traditional within their religion. 

Whether you have a strong preference for a particular type of service or are completely unsure what best suits your requirements, Steve can help guide you through the process of organising the funeral service. You can contact Celebrant Steve directly, he will take the time to listen to you and your family and help you to create the funeral service that most fits the requirements, life, and personality of your loved one. 

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