Ideas for a Celebration of Life Party

DIY Ideas for a Celebration of Life Party and Memorial

My father-in-law passed away recently. It was a very tough time for our family. One thing that helped bring us together was having a party to celebrate his life. That is what he would have wanted us to do. My mother-in-law asked for my help and I came up with these ideas for a Celebration of Life party.

Memory Photo Tree Idea

Gather Old Photos

Photos can be made into so many things for a memorial service including ornaments, decorations, and memory cards. Here are a few ways to easily gather photos from the family.

Scour Facebook

  1. Go to the honoree’s Facebook page.
  2. Click “Photos”.
  3. Click “Photos of <name>”. Here you will see all the photos the person was tagged in.
  4. Choose the photo you would like to use, right click it, then “save image as…”
  5. Save the photos onto a folder in your computer. From here you can resize them as needed.

This is a simple way to retrieve any photos from the honoree’s friends and family even if you are not “friends” with them on Facebook.

Turn Printed Photos into Digital Photos

Another simple way to gather photos is to take pictures of old photos in albums with your camera phone. We did this with my in-law’s wedding album. You can crop and resize them on your computer.

Note: Be mindful of the guest list. I did my best to find photos of all the guests who attended the party.

Ideas for a Celebration of Life

Framed Photo Centerpieces

One of the first things I did was order frames on Amazon. In this article, I will link to the items we bought. Some of them will be affiliate links. I ordered:

We also reused frames we already had. I printed out pictures and set out frames in various sizes all over the house and party tables. We also put out votive candles on clothed tables and turned them on at night.

Celebration of Life Memory Tree

We gathered branches from the yard and inserted them into vases to make this photo memory tree. Here is how I made the photo ornaments. It was very inexpensive to make.


  • Black Card Stock
  • Photo Paper
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Paper Cutter
  • Hot Glue


I made a quick Instagram Reel on how I made these.

  1. Resize the photos to 2 X 2 and your computer and print and cut them out.
  2. Cut out 2.5” X 2.5” black (or any other color or pattern) squares from the card stock or scrapbook paper.
  3. Loop the ribbon and place it on the black square. Put a dab of hot glue and place the photo on top in the center.

They dry quickly and guests can take them home. We ended up making three trees and placed them in different areas of the house. It made a great conversation starter for the wonderful memories we had with my father-in-law.

Memorial Ideas - Celebration Tree

Celebration of Life Memorial Party Ideas

Celebration of Life Party Ideas

DIY Memorial Video Montage

I made a video montage to play during the celebration of life party. Here are a few tips.

  1. Use the same photos you gathered from Facebook and photo albums.
  2. Download the honoree’s favorite songs to use as the music in the video.
  3. Use a user-friendly software like, Filmora to create your video.
  4. Upload your video to YouTube. This way, if you have a Smart TV, you can play it directly on the TV during the party.

How to Play Your Video on a Loop Using YouTube

This took me a while to figure out, but here is a hack on playing the video on repeat.

  1. Create a Playlist and add the video to it. It will be the only video on the list.
  2. Click the “replay/repeat” icon.
  3. Stream the video from your phone onto the TV.

Keep in mind that you will need a good internet connection to do this, otherwise you may experience buffering.

Buy or Make a Keepsake Box

I gave my mother-in-law a wooden keepsake box to fill with memory cards, speeches, and photos. You can also make one out of a shoebox or shipping box. It is also something the kids could do together at the party.

Share a Memory Cards for Memorial

In Loving Memory Cards for Memorial

In Loving Memory Cards and Share a Memory Cards

My mother-in-law ordered these cards on Etsy. We had each guest fill out a memory. Encourage them to fill out more than one. We placed them inside the wooden box for my mother-in-law to keep and read at her leisure. You can also read the memories out loud when they are all filled out.

Celebration of Life Family Speeches

Another thing we did was had the grandchildren write a letter to their grandfather. If they were comfortable with it, we had them read it out loud to the family. It was a beautiful moment. We also placed the speeches inside the memory box.

Memorial Favors - Photo Ornament

Photo Ornament Party Favors

Lastly, I made photo ornaments for each guest to take home. Inside I placed my father-in-law’s army photo. Guests can hang them in their home or keep it for their Christmas tree. These are similar ornaments I used for the party.

I hope you liked these ideas for a Celebration of Life party. We had a great time laughing, crying, and sharing memories together.

Here are a few more DIY Ideas to display photos at a memorial party


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