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What to Wear: Celebration of Life Memorial Service

Hey everyone.

Thank you all for your kind words and for understanding my absence last week. It was a truly emotional week and I was so happy to be surrounded by so many old friends. My friend that passed away was one of the most incredible people. He touched so many lives that his memorial service topped 500 people. It was impressive. Because my friend was so young, it was decided that we celebrate his life "his style" and the service was really just a big, fun party. There were tears, but there were more laughs and smiles - just as he would have wanted it.

Unfortunately I have been to two funerals this year, both for young men taken way too soon. I have definitely seen a trend in these memorial services; instead of a serious, dark funeral, there is a party - a celebration honoring the deceased. More fun, less tears.

So what does one wear to a memorial service, celebration of life, or funeral? Here are a few suggestions based on what I've seen & what I wore...

**Black is always safe, but if the invitation calls for colors, you should wear them! In fact, if they are encouraging colors, you should definitely honor their request. That was the case for the service I went to. I went with this maxi dress by Tart. It was perfect! (And the pattern hid the fact that it was 95 degrees outside and I was sweating like crazy!)

However, if black is recommended, a classic shift or tank dress is always good. I like wearing navy too. I feel like it's a little less harsh than black but is still appropriate. 

**Wear weather/location appropriate clothing. Is the service inside or outside? Is it in a church or at a park? Make sure to keep this in mind and choose something that works for the venue. Definitely do not wear stillettos or thin heels if you will be walking in grass.

**Speaking of shoes... Wear comfortable shoes - it's not a fashion show. Sure your new Louboutins are totally fab, but the focus won't be on your shoes at this event. And if you are walking or standing a lot, it's much better to be focused on the people speaking then on how bad your feet hurt! 

**Wear a conservative cut dress, top or skirt and/or bring a wrap/cardigan to cover up. Strapless, halter and spaghetti strap dresses are fine and sometimes encouraged, but it's always best to bring something to cover up in the case you feel you might be exposing too much. And of course, it's there if you get cold! Also, I think maxi dresses are perfect for these events. They are comfortable, classy - and you don't have to worry about shaving your legs or fake-tanning them!

Bring a smaller purse but make sure it can fit tissue, sunglasses and extra mascara.
You will need these things...trust me! And you will not want to lug around a big bag - trust me again!

Sunnies are recommended; for sun and for covering tears. Sunnies are accepted in these type of events so make sure you have them on hand. The bigger and darker, the better - but I think that in every day life anyway!

Based on these simple rules, my own outfit and some of the best dressed people at the event last week, I think the following look is the perfect outfit for a summer celebration of life.

Summer Memorial Service Attire Options
Vintage Chanel // Steve Madden Wedges // Travel Sized Kleenex

I truly hope that none of you have to have to attend one of these events but if you do, hopefully these tips will help you dress for the occasion. 

See you all tomorrow!



  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I do love the idea of celebrating life. I think it forces people to look back on the good times :)

    1. Totally agree Niki! It was like a "love fest" as my husband likes to call it. We all realized how important it was to have each other! :)

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss, Jill. That's wonderful that you were able to celebrate his life in the way that he would've wanted.

    The Tiny Heart
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    1. Thanks Sharon. For sure...we did it his way and he would have been proud! :)

  3. I'm sorry for your loss! I do love the outfits you put together though :)

    i'm your newest follower from the GFC hop!
    followme@ www.studentswife.com

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I am following you now, as well! :)

  4. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. It's nice when the focus is on celebrating that person's life. I love how versatile maxi dresses are and the ones you have pictured are really cute. I'm newly following from the blog hop. When you have time stop in, visit me and say hi :).

    1. Thanks! I will definitely hop on over and check out your blog too! :)

  5. So sorry to hear about your friend. I think it's wonderful the way so many more memorial services are about celebrating the life of the one who has passed. It really helps.

    Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for an award :-) You can check it out here:


    1. I totally agree! :)
      Thanks for the nomination...you are so sweet to think of me!

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If you take the time to leave a comment, I will take the time to respond back! Be sure to leave your blog URLs so I can check out your posts too!

xo, jill

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