The Venue you choose makes all the difference in how you and your guests will experience a Celebration of Life or Memorial. In Colorado, we are so fortunate to have over 300 days of sunshine per year. During Fall and Winter months, it is a smart idea to select a Venue that has an indoor/outdoor option. If the weather happens to be too cold or snowy then the Ceremony & Reception may be held indoors.
There is definitely a different tone or feel with outdoor services. I notice how there is a feeling of peace being in nature. It is common for birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, dragon flies, bunnies or chipmunks to appear. The scent of pine trees or flowers in the air, birds singing and a bright blue sky create an uplifting sense of hope and serenity. Although our hearts may feel heavy with grief, the beauty of nature may lift us up.
Do you believe in signs? At a Celebration of Life this past summer, two beautiful butterflies danced behind my head while I was speaking. After the service, her niece asked me if I believed in signs? I said, “I sure do!” She then told me about the butterflies and how she knew in that moment that her Aunt was with us. How special is that?
Was your Mother or Brother accustomed to fine dining with a champagne toast? Did your Sister or Uncle like comfort food and a glass of wine? Maybe Dad or Auntie liked BBQ with an ice-cold beer? Thinking about some of these questions will help guide you in choosing a Venue and Caterer. At one sentimental service for a teenage girl, her favorite food group was dessert. Yes, that is a food group! The buffet featured all kinds of desserts – brownies, cookies, parfaits and s’mores! The Venue was light, open and airy filled with lively music.
Celebrations of Life and Memorials in 2020 have been complicated by COVID. Every Venue has different protocols and the circumstances are ever-changing. Face coverings, social distancing and antiseptic wipes are typical right now. Caterers must abide by rules and restrictions. It is all different from what we were used to before our world turned upside down with the Corona Virus. We are all adapting and learning to navigate through unprecedented grief and uncertainty.
The 2020 Celebrations of Life and Memorials I have officiated this year have been primarily outdoors, private homes and backyards, country clubs, ash scatterings in the mountains, and the beautiful Botanic Gardens. There have been more requests for alternative venues this year. Partly due to COVID and also because there are more cremations vs. traditional burials. Cremation allows families more time to plan and have the service at a later date if they wish.
In case you didn’t know, YOU can choose the location of a Celebration of Life or Memorial. YOU can also choose who will officiate the Ceremony. YOU know your loved one better than anyone else!
Although we may be physically distanced and wearing face coverings, we are not emotionally distanced. It’s important to remember, celebrate and honor the life of your loved one in whatever way feels right to you. It is common to have Celebrations of Life live-streamed or videoed for family or friends who are unable to travel, guests who feel unsafe being in a gathering of this type or maybe they are in a high-risk group. As of this writing, we don’t know when or if there is a light at the end of this tunnel. It’s hard to plan and know what to do now or later. Trust your gut, know that whatever decision you make, it is the right one for right now.
Here is the official link for COVID-19 gatherings and Colorado Guidelines for Outdoor Events
Would you like to discover some really cool alternative Venues for Colorado Celebrations of Life? Here are a couple of resources for you: Eventective and Peerspace Every time I look through these I find some I didn’t know existed.
- Anita Larson is a Ceremony Leader and Officiant who blogs about her experiences with Celebrations of Life. Providing uncommon ideas and encouraging her readers to “Think Outside the Coffin®” when planning a Fabulous Farewell.