25 People Tell Us How They Want Their Life To Be Celebrated

Lately, it seems like everyone is talking about putting the “fun back in funerals”.

And because of that,  many Baby Boomers and millennials are becoming increasingly interested in planning their end-of-life celebrations. Just do a search on Google, Twitter or Reddit and you’ll find hundreds of articles, threads, and tweets about how people envision their own funeral.

We spent hours scouring the web reading those articles, and the results were incredibly interesting, to the say the least. This is how 25 Baby Boomers and Millennials said they wanted to celebrate their life, so keep reading to find out how you can help them:

#1: A tractor lover’s funeral

[My Grandfather] was a vintage tractor/car collector, collecting them then restoring them. This [Power Horse] was his prized possession with only 17 running worldwide (he owns 3 of them). When he passed away on Thursday, we took him to his grave in none other than that Power Horse.

–  snooperking via Reddit

#2: A Mardi Gras party

“My [mother] has requested in her will (and has money set aside) for the local high school to do a Mardi Gras-like parade when she passes. I love it! Why not celebrate and turn the traditional burial into a reminder. A reminder that though we may be small and insignificant in the universe, individually we ARE capable of being significant to one another.”

FNNIMMO via Reddit

#3: An open bar to remember

“I’ve decided that when I die I want an open bar and a DJ. Maybe a petting zoo for kids. There would be games, prizes, and all kinds of fun stuff. I want people doing shots from ice luges, shotgunning beers, and maybe even riding an elephant. The whole point is that at my funeral I’d like people to celebrate life as opposed to mourning death. I wonder if a lot of other people feel the same way.”

MrTwistx via Reddit

#4: Throw the biggest bash of the year

“A few years ago, my friend Tom died of cancer. Toward the end, the doctors told him he had two more months to live, but only two weeks if he went home. He decided to go home. A week later, he threw one of the biggest parties I’ve ever been to. Booze galore, live bands, huge firepit. He said he wanted to attend his own wake. Three days later, he passed. Per his wishes, he was cremated, and his wife threw another big party in his name. I’ve never been to a party where so many people were in tears, and still had a great time.”

KryptKat via Reddit

#5: Even Joan Rivers wanted a fun funeral

“I die (and yes, Melissa, that day will come; and yes, Melissa, everything’s in your name), I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action . . . . I want craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don’t want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I don’t want a eulogy; I want Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing “Mr. Lonely.” I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyoncé’s.”

-Joan Rivers

(Read this article to learn about how her wishes were fulfilled.)

#6: One year later

“I’ve always hated funerals. I want [my funeral] to be a year after I actually die. No crying. Just happy memories. I’ve noticed people can usually remember good stuff around a year later so it can be more of a celebration. As for my ashes, I haven’t decided what I want done with those yet.”

OneWhoHenpecksGiants via Reddit

#7: Lights, gold and helicopters

“My grandfather passed away last week and after his burial my cousin [who is only 16] came up to me and said: ‘ I want you to make sure my funeral is crazy. I want to be in a solid gold coffin, encrusted with jewels, and to fly in on a helicopter. I want there to be lights, smoke and a DJ. You better start saving up now.’ It made the day a lot better!”

wowweimbored via Reddit

#8: Give out goody bags

“I’ve decided [at my funeral] we would give out goody bags at the end and have all my favorite foods out, too.”

1jq512 via Reddit

#9: A good laugh

#10 An epic rock ballad

“I’m a musician and when I get older, I’m going to record a DVD album, in which I’ll say goodbye, tell them not to mourn me too long, and end with an uplifting rock ballad. I will then seal it and leave instructions to have it played at my funeral.”

Codemarshank via Reddit

#11: The journey of a lifetime

“I’m going to stipulate in my will that I want my children to follow in my footsteps when I traveled around America, Europe, Africa, scattering some of my ashes at points of interest that I want them to see. A sum of money would of course be set aside for them to accomplish this.”

– Leet

#12: A way to make the grieving laugh

“I want to have an open casket. The only difference is I want there to be a panel under my back that springs up. That way, when people walk by, I spring up and scare the crap out of them.”

– Erad

#13: A flash drive compilation

“I would like my funeral to not take place in a church. Somewhere with an awesome view would be ideal. I have a few spots in mind (including the top of Table Mountain, in my home town, Cape Town). I wish to be cremated. My remains are to be turned into pencils, which shall be handed out at the funeral to friends and family. I would ask that all those who attend the funeral bring a flash drive/cd with any forms of media in which I  am featured. I would like these to be compiled and given to the spouse I leave behind. I would also like a copy to be sent to my best mates, and those who request it.”

– Lacy

#14: A beach funeral

“I want my funeral to be at a beach. There should be lots of colorful flowers. I want to be cremated and then my ashes should be carried out to the ocean, where everyone there should put some of them in the water. There should be butterflies which will fly out at the same time. And then I’d like a small part of my ashes buried in a nice place at a lake or in the forest and have a tree and a wild flower planted on top of it. And no black clothes. Colorful. No shoes. And the song “Schutzängel” should be playing. And there shouldn’t be much talking. Keep it to a minimum. I think that’s it.”

swiss_queen_bee via Reddit

#15: Gone fishin’

“[There is a place] where I grew up fishing. It is a place that has meaning to me. That would be a good place to plant me if it was available. I would be happy there any day of my life or any day not in my life. I have good memories fishing in that spot. I have good memories of my grandfather in that spot. Lots of good things there. I always want to get back to that spot. So it must have a powerful draw.”

– Lee

#16: A funeral just like a wedding

“I want people to mistake my funeral for my wedding. I want ice cream cake, music, dancing to all my favorite songs. I want to plan my own funeral, from the music to the food to the attire. I don’t want crying, I want laughing. I don’t want funeral directors, I want life celebrators!”

– Kristen

#17: A fun playlist

#18: A pre-paid party?

“My grandmother has instructed us to take the money that would otherwise go to a funeral and have a huge party.”

Slavaa via Reddit

#19: The Price Is Right

When I die, my funeral will be a big game of The Price is Right and my belongings will be the prizes. There will also be lots of alcohol and chips, salsa, queso, and guacamole. And maybe pizza and fried chicken. And crying will be forbidden. These instructions will be in my will. Maybe if I have kids or something of the like I’ll let them pick a few things they really really want, but everything else will go towards the big game. And it will be awesome.”

SlightlyAmused via Reddit

#20: Skip the eulogy

“I don’t a eulogy, I want a campfire at night where people go around in a circle and exchange stories about my life. I want my thoughts, beliefs and memories to be remembered and honored. That’s what a funeral should be all about.”

– Mark

#21: An event the deceased would want to attend

“I don’t want my funeral to be an event I wouldn’t want to attend: a bunch of crying people sitting in a smelly, poorly decorated room, in chairs, while they all sob over my corpse. That sounds absolutely awful. That’s not how I want to be remembered. I want to go out in colors, fireworks, laughing and fun. Why mourn the one day that I died, when you can celebrate the 90 years that I lived?”

rhifooshwah via Reddit

#22: A collection of meaningful possessions

“When [my friend] died his wife asked us to come and celebrate his life by sitting in a room [with] the possessions that had a lot of meaning for him. His fly rod, his tobacco pouch, his pipe, flies that he tied, his fishing vest were all on the table and we talked about Jim in a circle. His kids were there, his dog was there. I read a poem that I dedicated to him. So we celebrated his life rather than marked his death.”

– Lee

#23: Anything but black

“The end-of-life service I went to, it said no black is to be worn. The family was like a rainbow in front of the room because they all had on bright colors. They handed out balloons and inside there were coins with a favorite saying or scripture. Her sister [was in] this orange suit, and there [was] a teal and blue and green and even red [suit]. But they did it for a reason. She did not want to be mourned. And I don’t want to be mourned. I want to be celebrated.”

– Mary

#24: A Beatles-themed funeral

“We definitely have to have some Beatles music. I want some music that’s not funeral music. The Beatles symbolize the era I grew up in. It personalizes [my funeral].”

– Marilyn

#25: Diamonds and trivia

“ I want to host my funeral at my house, in my backyard, and hire a funeral director who can help out with planning it. I want there to be a BBQ, and a trivia game show where my closest family and friends remember the best things about me in a fun way. I also want my ashes to be turned into small diamonds so my children can wear them. That would be amazing to me.”

– Janessa

What’s the best end-of-life request you’ve ever received? Tell us in the comments below!

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  1. Paul Hayes

    I was visiting with a couple about pre-arranging who said they wanted to be cremated. Inquiring if they had thought about what they want to be done with their cremains, the woman immediately said she knew what she wanted if her time came before her husbands. She continued that she had already given her best friend a key to the house and enough money to go to Walmart and buy a gallon of white ceiling paint, a roller, roller tray, and drop cloth, and her friend has promised to mix her ashes in the paint and repaint the master bedroom ceiling.

  2. Dave Savage

    On our website and upcoming book we include lots of ways to add meaning and heart to a memorial or funeral service or even a small ceremony. Adding a bit of honoring ceremony before a party begins also is valuable as an emotional bridge.

    When family gathers for caregiving and remembrance is also a wonderful time to bring our a video camera and share stories, family history, talents and wisdom as a generational legacy.. Our website also includes videos and lists of questions and advice to encourage you to do this. Check out our site and send us an email to be added to our book launch announcement list.

    For the funeral industry, we will also be offering private label – custom content editions to use for client gifts and staff training.
    And we’re looking for relevant articles from others to add to our website.

    Dave Savage in Atlanta – HeartfeltMemorialServices.com

  3. Dally Messenger III

    As a celebrant, 2000 funerals on my CV – death is dreadful business – I have tried all the above (well not quite all).
    Gimmicks a good funeral doth not make.
    And if a person is truly loved we need to grieve. We mourn for the dead.
    Home they brought her warrior dead
    She nor swooned
    Nor uttered cry
    All her maidens watching said
    She must weep
    Or she will die

    This very week an acquaintance of mine died leaving instructions – “no funeral”. You can feel the frustration in the guts.
    And what does make a funeral wherein people are really consoled and helped to grieve.
    A tribute well prepared – many many hours of hard work.
    There is no such thing as a short cut to a funeral that works.
    And if you want someone to do it well (a funeral celebrant) you must separate the arrangement from the Funeral Director and pay them reasonably by the hour.
    This is not a “fun” business as everyone who has experienced the death of someone truly loved, knows.

  4. Funeral Blog. The official blog for the funeral & cemetery professions. » Blog Archive 5 Amazing Funeral Personalization Ideas From Around The World

    […] as a funeral home employee, we know you’re always looking for different and unique ways to help your families celebrate life. So why not broaden your horizons and learn about the ways other cultures celebrate their loved […]