How to Plan a Celebration of Life

Planning a Celebration of Life Planning a celebration of life, an end-of-life ceremony that honors a person’s life and achievements, is an emotional and often difficult task. In the midst of dealing with grief, it can feel overwhelming to plan and prepare the beautiful memorial event that your loved one deserves. RedWater is here to…

Planning a Celebration of Life

Planning a celebration of life, an end-of-life ceremony that honors a person’s life and achievements, is an emotional and often difficult task. In the midst of dealing with grief, it can feel overwhelming to plan and prepare the beautiful memorial event that your loved one deserves. RedWater is here to help make the process easier by offering a multitude of venues appropriate for such an important occasion.

Celebration of Life vs. Funeral: What Is a Celebration of Life?

Whereas a funeral is traditionally held in a funeral home, and typically a more somber event, a celebration of life is just that—a coming together of friends and family to respectfully celebrate the life one lived. It can be as formal or informal as desired and can feature religious passages and/or ceremonies. A celebration of life can be a unique gathering, designed with the views and wishes of the departed in mind.

Celebration of Life Checklist

If you’re getting ready to plan or already planning a celebration of life, you know there are many details to consider. Make the process of perfecting this meaningful occasion simpler with the following guide.

Gather Loved Ones to Discuss Details

In the wake of losing a friend or family member, finding support in those that were also close to them is vital. Together, you can create an idea of what the celebration of life should include. In this stage, a budget for venue rental, food and drink, and decor should be set.

Creating a Celebration of Life Guest List

The venue you choose to hold the celebration of life is partially dependent on the amount of guests that will be gathering. Are you expecting friends from near and far and distant relatives to come and pay their respects in an open-house style event? Or did the departed value a small group of people, and an intimate setting would be more appropriate? Once this is decided, you can notify those on the guest list through a formal invitation, or create a public event on a social media platform like Facebook to take the stress off of individually reaching out to potential guests.

Finding a Celebration of Life Venue

Once your guest list is solidified, it’s time to select a venue that both fits the expected number of guests and is reflective of the departed.

Each of RedWater’s venues have individual qualities that make them stand out, delivering a unique tone. Throughout them all, you’ll find aesthetically beautiful spaces, audio/visual technology for special slideshows, ample parking space, and access to our incredible catering staff.

RedWater has 9 venues all over West Michigan, from the lakeshore to Grand Rapids, accommodating up to 450 guests. Our locations include:

  • Muskegon Country Club: Located in Muskegon, you’ll find space for up to 175 people and gorgeous views of Muskegon Lake.
  • Thornapple Pointe: Settled in Southern Grand Rapids, Thornapple Pointe’s enclosed pavilion features lots of natural light for up to 250 attendees. 
  • Thousand Oaks: Found in Northern Grand Rapids, Thousand Oaks’ largest room can accommodate 450 guests. The rolling hills of the golf course make for a beautiful backdrop.
  • Watermark: Located in Cascade, Watermark boasts a variety of stunning spaces, with a 450 person maximum capacity. The tall ceilings and expansive windows provide a warm elegance for special, life honoring events.
  • StoneWater: StoneWater, located in Caledonia, features a variety of rooms with unique offerings. For example, Diamond Room A has access to a private outdoor patio.
  • Sunnybrook: Sunnybrook is located in Grandville and can fit up to 350 guests. However, for an event on the smaller side, the Rush Creek Room would be ideal. The intimate space is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows for ample views of the golf course, adding to the relaxing atmosphere.
  • Macatawa: Located in Northern Holland, Macatawa offers two unique rooms for gathering, as well as LiveGolf Studios. If your loved one was an avid golfer, this activity could be the perfect way to celebrate their favorite pastime.
  • Boatwerks: Found in Downtown Holland, Boatwerks offers an eclectic variety of spaces ideal for any size of celebration of life. 
  • Ravines: The gorgeous cottage venue space of Ravines is located in Saugatuck and fits up to 175 people.  

Choosing a Celebration of Life Meal

High-quality, memorable food plays an integral part in creating a positive experience for the guests of a celebration of life. We offer a wide variety of incredible cuisine options, from plated meals to buffets to appetizers, platters, and snacks.

If you’re hosting a more intimate celebration of life with a smaller guest list, a plated lunch or dinner can up the elegance of the event. We offer artisan sandwiches, wraps, and salads for lunch. When it comes to our dinner menu, you’ll find favorites for everyone in attendance: filet mignon, salmon, pesto chicken, pork tenderloin, and potato gnocchi, to name a few.

For larger celebration of life events, a buffet-style lunch may be more cost-effective, as well as allow guests to arrive within a more lax time frame. Choose between sandwiches, pizza, soup and salad, pasta, tacos, or backyard BBQ favorites. Consider determining what dishes are served based on what the departed most enjoyed as a special way to celebrate them.

No matter what food options best fit your event, we guarantee that RedWater will create a meal worthy of your celebration.

Deciding on Celebration of Life Decorations

In addition to the classic flower bouquets guests typically bring in remembrance, the simplest and most meaningful decor at a celebration of life is photos of the departed. These snapshots of their life, as well as mementos showcasing their achievements and hobbies, can be displayed around the venue, creating a touching tribute.

More Celebration of Life Ideas

The celebration of life you’re planning should serve as a reflection of the departed. If they were religious, consider asking an affiliate of their community of practice to perform a ceremony. Opening the floor to the guests to share stories is a beautiful way to relive memories and learn more about the way your loved one lived.

Another way to honor your loved one is by incorporating one of their favorite activities or hobbies into the event—if they were a fan of a certain musical artist or genre, have it playing in the background. If they were a lover of a good poker game, host a few hands.

Creating a simple slideshow of photos or video clips spanning your loved one’s life is another way to celebrate their spirit. All of our venues offer audio/visual equipment to ensure you and your guests can sit back and enjoy the visual walk through memory lane.

Book a Venue for a Celebration of Life Today

Send us a message today to learn more about available dates. RedWater Events is dedicated to providing exceptional experiences for all of life’s moments. Our immaculate venues, hardworking staff, and incredible food offerings will help to make the celebration of life you’re planning as smooth and memorable as possible.

Ready to Book?

Reach out for more information on any of our venues!