Celebration of Life Services in Kent

Creating unique celebration of  life and memorial events

Creating your Celebration of Life

A “Celebration of Life” service offers a modern approach to remembering a loved one who has passed away by truly celebrating their life. Of course, there will still be solemn moments, but with the help of the right celebrant, these will be perfectly balanced with many happier moments of cherished memories. 

With over 30 years of experience planning events and celebrations and having conducted hundreds of funeral and celebration of life services – Marc is the perfect choice of celebrant to help celebrate the life of your loved one.

A celebration of life service  sets itself apart from traditional funerals in several meaningful ways:

Celebration of Life Services focus on the Person’s Life:

Rather than dwelling solely on mourning and sorrow, a Celebration of Life service focuses on celebrating the character, achievements, relationships, and unique qualities of the deceased. 

Celebration of Life Services have a more relaxed atmosphere:

Unlike the sombre and formal tone of traditional funerals, a Celebration of Life is more informal and relaxed. People are encouraged to wear casual or colourful clothing, sometimes to a theme, helping create a happier, relaxed environment.

Celebration of Life Services can be at a variety of venues

While traditional funerals are often held in churches, crematoria or funeral homes, Celebrations of Life can take place in all kinds of settings such as parks, beaches, private homes, castles, hotels, clubs or even favourite restaurants – and if the venue has some connection to the deceased, even better!

Celebration of Life Services can be more personal

Celebration of Life services often incorporate personalised elements like slideshows, curated music playlists, live music and entertainment, video tributes, memory tables adorned with photos and keepsakes, and activities that reflect the deceased’s passions and hobbies.

Celebration of Life Services are more flexible on time

Unlike the rigid schedules and “conveyor belt” of traditional funerals, Celebrations of Life can be longer and more flexible, spanning several hours or even a full day. This allows time for sharing memories, stories, and connections with others.

Guided by Funeral Celebrants: While traditional funerals are typically led by religious figures, Celebrations of Life can be officiated by Funeral Celebrants who will honour the life and legacy of the departed in a non-religious or multi-faith manner.

Direct Cremations and Future Celebrations: With the rise in popularity of direct or unattended cremations, some families opt for a simple cremation or pure cremation followed by a separate Celebration of Life event at a later date.

This approach offers flexibility in planning and better accommodates the wishes of the deceased and their loved ones.

However you choose to celebrate the life of your loved one, I can help you plan, create, deliver and lead a truly meaningful and personalised tribute.


Simply get in touch to find out more. 

It is never too late to hold a celebration of life event, even if your loved one was cremated or buried many years ago.

My loved one died several years ago. Can I still hold a celebration of life service?

YES! Many families were unable to fully say goodbye to their loved ones during the pandemic. Now is the time to bring full closure and say goodbye properly by holding a celebration in their honour.

Also, many families who elect for a direct or pure cremation wish to hold a celebration event for their loved one.

Celebrant Marc is here to help you mark the occasion in style.

Celebration of life events and memorial events in Kent led by Celebrant Marc

Funeral Celebrant Marc Lemezma is a member of  the Association of Independent Celebrants and was trained and certified by the Academy of Professional Celebrants.

Celebrant Kent - AOIC and APC Logo

Celebration of Life Gallery

Celebration of life services can be held at all kinds of venues. Some are big, some are small and more intimate. They are all different, just like the people we are there to celebrate!

Here are a few images from Celebrations of Life events I have led. Thanks to all the families who have kindly given me permission to share.


A Celebration of Life Service?

What exactly is a Celebration of Life Service, and how does it differ from a Memorial or Funeral?


History of Celebration of Life Services

Over the past three decades, these terms have somewhat merged in meaning. There is no one definition for each – but that’s fine because each situation is different – and in reality you have the opportunity to plan something that truly reflects the memory of your loved one. 

In years gone by our only option was a traditional funeral service, often held in a church or religious setting. These occasions were typically solemn, following traditional norms, and led by a priest or minister. 95% of what was said was religious, usually taken straight from a service book, leaving space for very few words about the deceased.

Even cremation services were predominantly religious until recent years.

The celebrant movement emerged in Australia during the 1970s and has since spread worldwide. In the UK today, approximately 60-70% of funeral services are overseen by a funeral celebrant. These celebrations focus on uplifting and positive aspects, honouring the life, achievements, friendships, and character of the departed rather than rigid dogma.

The balance of these services is the complete opposite of traditional funerals; there are solemn moments of reflection and goodbye, possibly even a prayer or hymn, but the majority of the service will be tailored to the individual’s story, and reflect their life, values and character.

Celebration of Life Services- How are they different?

Unlike traditional funerals, Celebration of Life services are often marked by a more diverse selection of music, slide shows, and even sound effects. The dress code is usually less formal and sometimes themed. While many celebration of life services take place at a crematorium or graveside, there’s an increasing trend towards holding them in other venues, from the Countryside to Castles, Homes to Hotels – I have even conducted celebration of life services by a lake.

However, it’s important to distinguish Celebration of Life services from memorial services, which are typically arranged after a funeral, sometimes months or even years later. These memorial services, often held in more formal settings, involve multiple speakers representing families, leaders, and communities. As a celebrant I am able to help create and lead memorial services too.

Celebration of Life Services – What’s driving the change?

In the 2020s, there’s been a notable shift due to the rise in the popularity of unattended cremations * or direct cremations, particularly during the pandemic. These can leave a family with no opportunity to reflect on the life of their loved one, meaning the grieving process takes all the longer.

Many forward thinking celebrants and funeral directors have encouraged families to explore the idea of a separate celebration of life service.  This allows families to have a simple cremation soon after the passing, leaving them with the opportunity to plan a more elaborate Celebration of Life event later on.

These celebration of life services can be held in any of the venues mentioned earlier, allowing for a longer and more meaningful gathering. With a funeral celebrant at the helm, attendees can expect a heartfelt ceremony filled with music, live entertainment, memory tables, takeaway gifts, toasts, and refreshments. These events can last all morning or afternoon, providing ample time for sharing memories and connecting with others.

Planning a Celebration of Life? Consider the expertise of a qualified funeral celebrant to help you create a memorable and meaningful tribute. Contact Marc to learn how a celebrant can help plan your upcoming event and celebrate the life of your loved one in a truly special way.

*Direct cremations, more properly called unattended cremations are usually a simpler, cheaper option for a funeral, where the deceased is cremated with no representation from family. These are often incorrectly referred to as pure cremations. Pure Cremations is a company that provides such a service where your love one will be transported to a central crematorium, potentially hundreds of miles from their home or place of death. 

Planning a Celebration of Life Service

Remember, Marc has over 30 years of experience creating events, and is here to help you – simply get in touch to discuss options and costs. 

Before proceeding with the planning of the celebration of life service

consider the timing in relation to the cremation or burial of your loved one. Decide whether you wish for the celebration to take place before the cremation, with or without the presence of the coffin, or after the cremation.

If you choose to have the celebration before the cremation, you may need the assistance of a funeral director to coordinate logistics and ensure the presence of the coffin if desired. Alternatively, if the celebration is to take place after the cremation, you can consider incorporating the ashes as a focal point of memory and reflection during the event.

Taking this early consideration into account will help you establish the appropriate timeline for planning the celebration of life service and ensure that it aligns with your wishes and preferences for honoring your loved one’s memory.

Guide to Planning a Celebration of Life Service

Step 1: Consider the Style and Feel of the Event Think about what your loved one would have liked and how they would want to be remembered. Consider their personality, interests, and preferences. Reflect on what would make a meaningful and memorable celebration for them.

Step 2: Budget Considerations Determine a realistic budget for the celebration. Consider expenses such as venue rental, catering, decorations, and any special elements you want to include. Prioritise what is most important and feasible within your budget constraints.

Step 3: Choose a Celebrant Select a celebrant to lead the service. You can search online for professionals in your area or consider someone you know who can fulfil this role with sensitivity and empathy.

Step 4: Decide on Time Frame and Location Choose a suitable time and location for the celebration. Ensure that the venue is accessible for all attendees and consider weekends for convenience. If there’s a favourite location, venue, or restaurant that holds significance for your loved one, it can be a fitting choice.

Step 5: Theme and Decorations Brainstorm themes that reflect your loved one’s personality and interests. Consider dress codes, decorations, and special touches such as memory tables, memory books, photo walls, or slide shows. You could also explore unique entertainment options like fireworks or dove releases to add a special touch.

Step 6: Plan Timings and Refreshments Consider the flow of the event and plan timings accordingly. Arrange for refreshments that suit the tone of the celebration, whether it’s a formal sit-down meal or a more casual gathering with finger foods and drinks.

Step 7: Collaborate with the Celebrant Work closely with your chosen celebrant to develop a programme for the celebration. Incorporate elements such as music, photo displays, or slide shows that honour and celebrate your loved one’s life.

Step 8: Additional Considerations Think about additional elements that could enhance the celebration, such as live music performances or giveaways like seeds or lapel badges. Setting up a memory table with photos and objects from your loved one’s life can also provide a meaningful focal point for attendees.

Step 9: Enjoy the Celebration On the day of the event, take the time to savour the moments and celebrate the life of your loved one surrounded by friends and family. Embrace the opportunity to reminisce, share stories, and honour their memory in a way that feels fitting and heartfelt

Memory table ready for a Celebration of Life Service at Orida Hotel Maidstone

Contact Marc

Please do get in touch to discuss planning a funeral service, a celebration of life service, or memorial service, or if you have any questions concerning a funeral I am working on for you or your family. I usually aim to respond within half a day during normal working hours.  To email Marc please use the form below or message directly at marc@lemezma.com


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