What To Wear (And Not To Wear) To A Celebration of Life Ceremony

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Read my disclaimer for more info.

Are you going to celebrate the life of a loved one who’s passed on? If so, check out this comprehensive guide on what to wear to a celebration of life.

A funeral service is typically a somber occasion, with many people in dark colors. However, in a celebration of life ceremony (which has gotten increasingly popular in recent years), people are encouraged to wear bright colors and to drink and celebrate a life well lived of someone who has recently passed.

What would you wear to a celebration of life? What is the difference between a typical funeral service and a celebration of life service? What should you NOT wear? We made you this guide to help you choose the best outfit for you.

 

First And Foremost,  What Is A Celebration Of Life?

 

A celebration of life event is not your typical memorial service. It is most often a luncheon or a dinner party where close family members, close friends, and guests come together to celebrate and talk about fond memories of a late beloved. It is usually held instead of, or after the traditional funeral service or the cremation service of the deceased.

So while a funeral service is typically gloomy and somber, a celebration of life is filled with lighter and vibrant colors, with laughter and drinking all around, which makes this the main difference between the two.

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life Ceremony

 

So, what should you wear to a celebration of life? Keep in mind that celebration of life attire is highly different from traditional funeral attire, so if you want to err on the side of caution, we recommend a business casual attire. It’s also an important thing to note the location of the service to determine the kind of outfit you’re going to wear.

In different cultures, a religious ceremony might happen before the main event. Here are some things we recommend on what to wear to a celebration of life:

 

1. Wear bright colors!

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Blush jumpsuit

 

Get this jumpsuit at Hello Molly

 

A celebration of life party typically has brighter colors and is a wonderful way to celebrate the life of the deceased, so it’s only fitting that your outfit reflects this. If anything, dark colors might be inappropriate in such an atmosphere. So if you’re uncomfortable wearing light or bright colors (or just don’t own any), then at least bring out the color in your accessories like scarves, necklaces, shoes – whatever works best for you.

Avoid anything black (black dresses, black suits, and black clothing in general) because while it may seem easier than choosing another color on a spectrum, it would definitely make others feel awkward around you when they know how much fun everyone is having. 

 

2. Go For Smart Casual Looks

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Soft pink ruffled dress with sleeves

Get this dress at Lulus

 

For informal gatherings such as dinner parties, we recommend showing up in a semi-casual but stylish dress or a jumpsuit. You can also pair a flowy blouse with a nice sleek pair of pants.

As for men, a white shirt (preferably button-down) or dress shirt paired with a nice pair of slacks would be a safe choice. A good rule of thumb would be: if it’s good enough to wear to a job interview, then it’s good enough to wear to a dinner party.

For an outdoor gathering like a garden party or a picnic, you can show up in a nice flowy dress, or day dress. Make sure to bring a cardigan with you in case it gets breezy. Some jeans are perfectly fine, but it also depends on the fit and the formality of the party. If it’s at a bar or a garden party, go for straight-leg pants or wide-leg pants, and pair it with a nice blouse and high heels.

For men, chinos or sleek linen pants paired with a nice top and light-colored loafers would be fitting for a happy event.

There will be instances when the grieving family of the deceased will want everyone to follow a certain theme (example: the deceased’s favorite color). Respect the wishes of the family and their special requests, and everyone will have a good time!

 

What NOT To Wear To A Celebration Of Life Party

 

1. Stay Clear Of Dark Colors

The general rule is to stay away from dark colors such as black, dark blue, burgundy, etc! As mentioned earlier, dark colors take away from the light atmosphere and might be inappropriate in such an event where everyone is getting together just to have fun and celebrate someone they love who has passed away. If you insist on wearing a dark dress, emerald green or tan would be an appropriate option.

2. Stay Classy

Avoid dresses or outfits that are too sexy or revealing. While the dress code is more lenient than the typical somber funeral service, keep in mind that this is still an event to honor the dead, so make sure to show in a decent yet stylish outfit.

It’s also a good idea to wear a dainty piece of jewelry to complement your outfit, but nothing too flashy or obnoxious. This means no showing up in a bright neon dress or a blouse with very loud prints.

3. Don’t Dress Too Casual

Avoid outfits that are TOO casual. We’re talking about flip flops, short shorts, ripped jeans, skinny jeans, tank tops, crop tops, t-shirts, or t-shirt dresses. Unless the family asks you to wear these for a specific theme, it’s best to steer clear away from these types of casual wear.

Below, we’ve featured some outfit ideas that are great to wear to a celebration of life. Browse them and get inspired yourself!

 

15 Celebration Of Life Outfit Ideas For Women

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Puff sleeve midi dress

 

Get this dress at Lulus

 

Floral ruffled sleeve blouse

 

Get this blouse at Magnolia Boutique

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Satin long sleeved dress

 

Get this dress at Hello Molly

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Ruffled maxi dress with sleeves

 

Get this dress at Lulus

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Emerald green dress

 

Get this dress at Hello Molly

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Simple white bodycon dress

 

Get this dress at Lulus

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Ruffled blush jumpsuit

 

Get this jumpsuit at Hello Molly

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Printed jumpsuit

 

Get this jumpsuit at Hello Molly

 

Beige floral maxi dress

 

Get this dress at Lulus

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: White dress

 

Get this dress at Hello Molly

 

White flowy A-line dress

 

Get this dress at Lulus

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Tan midi dress

 

Get this dress at Hello Molly

 

Floral maxi dress

 

Get this dress at Lulus

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Floral lace dress

 

Get this dress at Hello Molly

 

What To Wear To A Celebration Of Life: Yellow puff sleeve maxi dress

 

Get this dress at Lulus

 

We hope you drew inspiration from this style guide! A celebration of life is truly a unique type of ceremony, a gathering of friends and family members to comfort each other in this difficult time. 

If you’re still looking for more fashion inspiration and style guides, check the posts down below.

 

Get More Fashion Inspiration

What to Wear and What Not To Wear: Your Guide to Memorial Services

45 Chic Light Academia Outfits To Get You Ready For Fall

Planning Your Sweet 16 Party Look? Here’s The Best Dresses Under $100

Browse All Fashion Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.