What to wear to a Celebration of Life?

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Celebration of life ceremonies is a new form of paying respect to the departed soul. A celebration of life is a light-hearted and joyous event where friends, family gather to remember and reminisce the life of the person who has passed.

Want to know more about the celebration of life ceremony?
What is a celebration of life ceremony? will help you understand this event.

Even if the celebration of life event is light-hearted, there are still some etiquettes and norms that one should follow while attending one of these events. Some unwritten rules can be difficult to navigate, especially if it is your first time attending one of these events.

 

Few things to consider beforehand:

Unlike traditional funerals, there is no strict rule that all attendees need to wear black. Celebration of life ceremony allows and appreciates wearing colour. We still have to be aware of a few things we need to keep in mind.

Where will the event take place? A celebration of life ceremony does not have a fixed location. It can be at a funeral home, beach, park, a particular venue; the options are endless. Dress appropriately for the location.

What type of event is it? A celebration of life event can either be very informal, like a gathering or a formal black-tie event that adheres to a particular dress code. If needed, it is best to consult the event organisers regarding the type of event.

They might specify a particular colour for the event. Although the celebration of life ceremonies does not require everyone to wear black, the event could have a particular theme where they might expect you to wear a certain colour.

What type of activities will the event comprise? A celebration of life event could comprise various activities to honour the deceased. Activities like gardening, story-telling are common practices.

Do’s for a Celebration of Life event

What can you wear? It can seem confusing depending on the vague words. Even if the celebrations are casual, we need to keep in mind that we are being respectful to the families and friends organising this event.

A celebration of life ceremony is usually lively in spirit. It is best to steer away from black unless the family has specifically requested it. It is also safer to dress more conservatively to be cautious and also be respectful to the family. 

What can women wear: 

  • Denim (Although denim may be a safe choice, be sure to adhere to the style of the event. Do not wear denim to a formal event.)
  • Skirt and blouse are a simple choice. Even if it is colourful, this option is best for a celebration of life setting.
  • A respectful dress is also a safe choice that can work for all types of events. 
  • Heels, boots and sneakers – According to the venue, all of them are great choices. Be careful to not wear any exaggerated style. 

What can men wear:

  • Denim and slacks 
  • Shirts (Button-down, Polo)
  • T-shirt: This is appropriate only if the event is more casual)
  • Sneakers or dress shoes 

Don'ts for a Celebration of Life events

While the dress code in a celebration of life events is lax, there are still a few things that we should keep in mind. Even if colour is allowed in the celebration of life events it is best to wear subdued tones and solid patterns. Do not wear neon or sparkly outfits and accessories. Over the top bright colours might look distracting and take the focus away from the actual event.

Wear close-toed shoes. Unless the location is the beach, close-toed shoes are deemed to be appropriate. Do not wear slip-on or sandals at every event.

Do not wear graphic tees, most celebration of life follows a semi-formal route. Even if the setting is casual, wearing a graphic tee might not be the best choice.

Exceptions:

To respect the deceased, the celebration of life events can have a specific theme. You might have to adhere to a certain theme set forth by the organisers.


A celebration of life event is where people who have been affected by the passing of their loved ones come together and heal as a community. This day is not only about the deceased. It is also about their family and the people around them. Whatever you choose to wear, be considerate of the people around you. If they have a specified theme, try to abide by that. If not, follow our tips given above to figure out the perfect outfit.