Celebrations of Life

Planning a Celebration of Life?

Skunkworks Distillery is a moonshine distillery with the added bonus of having an amazing unique event space in our cocktail room.  The cocktail room / event space is a great spot for private events, corporate gatherings and small parties, wakes, and for a celebration of life event.

We are very open to different kinds of events any hybrid events like celebrations of life, a memorial event or a traditional funeral service.  We are not funeral professionals but we love providing a space where families and friends can come together and pay tribute or celebrate a loved one's memory. 


What should be done at a celebration of life?

A celebration of life is a ceremony where the person who has passed is celebrated and remembered by their friends, family, and other loved ones. Guests can go around and publicly acknowledge the beloved family member and share stories and memories of the person who is being celebrated. It is usually a more relaxed and a loose setting compared to traditional funeral services at a funeral home. 

There may be poems read, prayers said, or other readings done during a ceremony of life. It is more common that the ceremony of life is more casual, though, with stories about happy times or other memories being passed around. Sometimes there will also be photo books, photo boards, or memory boards of that person set up in the room or wherever the ceremony of life is taking place.

Celebration of life service ideas don't have to end there, as it really is a place of permission for the grieving family, the caring friends and the community to come together and express themselves however they want.  A traditional funeral service definitely has it's place and is a great place to also pay tribute, but some funeral service options are limited.  With a celebration you can format it however you want.  

Who should attend a celebration of life?

As mentioned about there are a whole number of celebration of life ideas, and that includes who can attend. It is a ceremony or event that can be attended by those who are invited to the funeral service if there is one, obviously the grieving family, the caring friends and the community around the person would be the right place to start. It could also be close friends, but could also extend to those who are more casual acquaintances of the deceased who still have special memories with them or were a part of their life. This event is one that is supposed to remember and honor the deceased loved one– it is more of a relaxed and joyous occasion, implementing comfort and goodwill. 

It is a way to celebrate and remember how special this person was. Some may want to bring gifts to a celebration of life, though this is not expressly required. Good gifts to bring to a celebration of life include flowers, cards, or plates of food. What is most important, though, is to show up and make the loved ones of the person who has passed feel supported.

A celebration of life is also a great way to invite less connected people who might not attend the funeral service common held in a church or funeral home.  Sometimes these services can be quite private and for the bereaved family only.

What does it mean to celebrate life?

Celebrating life– such as in the case of a celebration of life ceremony– is meant to acknowledge the life of the person who has passed away. It is to take a moment and rejoice in the fact that they have lived such a wonderful life and had such a profound impact on so many. In this way, it is different from a funeral service, which can be a sadder event when a person has passed away. 

The celebration of life is where loved ones gather to share fond memories and take a more positive and happy approach to the situation. Of course, there will be a fair amount of tears when looking back on a loved one who has passed, but to celebrate their life is to applaud that they lived, and how they did so.

Celebrations of life ideas provide freedom for people to experience loss in a less formal atmosphere and caring friends can gather and say their collective goodbyes. 

Is a funeral the same as celebration of life?

No, funerals and celebrations of life are not the same thing. However, they do have a similar function to honor a person who has passed away. Life celebrations are a more casual affair, with less structure to it, it's like your own celebration for the person.   It creates a hybrid event that many families love to share with others. 

Often, a family will throw a celebration of life function in conjunction with a funeral, as a more casual and party-like event. Here, they will be able to mingle and share stories about the deceased, unlike how things would operate during a funeral service. 

Usually, for a funeral (and sometimes a visitation held prior), only a few individuals– usually family members– give a speech and share memories of the loved one who has passed on.

A funeral is directed by most commonly a pastor or a funeral host and it follows a traditional funeral order, where as a celebration provides more room for everyone to start their healing process and share memories.

Celebration of life etiquette

If you are attending a celebration of life, it is important that you are respectful to the other attendees, especially the family of the person who has passed. Be sure to dress well– similar to how you would expect to dress for a funeral– and show up a few minutes early. Some celebrations of life are similar to a wake, where you can show up at any time in a certain window. However, if there is a hard beginning time for the celebration of life, it is bad manners to show up late! Pay your respects to the family, and consider signing the guestbook, too, if the family has one set up. 

What is a wake?

A wake is not the same as a celebration of life, though sometimes they can be similar. A wake is usually a bit more sad and somber than a celebration of life, which is more lighthearted and more of a party. A wake is also known as a funeral reception, though the term wake is more common these days. It is an event where families and friends gather to pay their respect to the deceased and to the immediate family of that person. These days, a wake is usually held after the funeral or memorial service. However, traditionally, the wake was an event that happened before the funeral. 

What is the difference between a wake and memorial?

The key difference between a wake and a memorial is the purpose of the ceremony. A memorial is more of a celebration of life, while the wake is a more serious event where guests pay their respects. They are also different levels of formality! A wake is more formal than a memorial, which can vary in formality depending upon the family, the deceased, and the event. Some families, for instance, will host a more formal memorial service than others might do. Also, a wake happens before a burial or cremation. However, a memorial typically takes place after a burial or cremation occurs. 

Why do they call it a wake?

A wake does have an interesting origin for its moniker. A long time ago, there were unknown and unnamed diseases roaming the countryside– these would cause a person to seem dead. When the family mourned them, they would then awaken! Because of this, the body of the deceased was to be “waked” in the home for at least one night, to ensure that they had truly passed away before they were buried. These days, it has stuck and is the name for the viewing of the body and paying respects prior to the burial or cremation. The wake may also be held after the burial in modern day.

Where is a funeral service commonly held?

A traditional funeral service is commonly held at a funeral home or in a church.  The surviving family engages with a funeral service to manage the individual's physical remains and then also gets them to organize the actual funreal service.

A traditional funeral service is a time-honored way to honor the deceased, providing solace to the bereaved family and celebrating the individual's life. The service often begins with a gathering of the bereaved and surviving family members, along with friends, at a chosen location such as a funeral home or place of worship. This gathering can include a viewing or visitation, allowing attendees a moment with the individual's physical remains to pay their respects.

Central to the service are eulogies and reflections, typically delivered by a family member or close friend. These speeches weave the personal story of the loved one's life, highlighting their unique journey and the impact they had on those around them. The service may also include readings, music, and specific religious or spiritual rituals, reflecting the beliefs and preferences of the deceased and their family.

Following the formal service, a committal service may take place, especially in the case of a burial. This is a moment for the surviving family members to say their final farewells as the loved one's physical remains are laid to rest. The service often concludes with a reception or gathering, providing an opportunity for attendees to share memories and celebrate the loved one's life in a more informal setting. This gathering is also a time for the family to express their gratitude to those who have offered support during this difficult time.

Sometimes people call this after part a celebration of life, but a celebration of life or life celebration can also be the only celebration that happens, it is up to you.  This is where you can tell a very personal story or just toast another family member.