Although a traditional funeral is still the most popular way to honor the life of a loved one, there are many options available that don’t involve the dreary visitation or tear-jerking service.

If you’re looking for an uplifting way to celebrate a loved one’s life, we’ve narrowed it down to four of our favorite funeral alternatives.

Plan a Living Wake

This one takes some planning and a bit of knowing what’s to come in the near future, but a living wake is a great alternative for a loved one who wants to be celebrated while they are still alive.

Friends and family can share their stories, express gratitude, and enjoy the company of their loved one while they are physically around to experience it all. A living wake creates a lasting and beautiful memory of their loved one before they pass. It’s also a great opportunity for loved ones who may not be there at the passing to say goodbye.

Add to the occasion with a special Guest Book created just for your loved one. Using Stories & Notes pages, guests can fill the book with memories and stories. It’s a keepsake that both the guest of honor and their family will cherish.

stories notes pages for tessera guest book

Throw a Celebration of Life Party

A celebration of life skips the somber funeral service and focuses on gathering to share positive stories and accomplishments of the deceased’s life. A celebration of life tends to be held at a banquet hall, a loved one’s home, or another place of gathering rather than a funeral home.

As the name suggests, a “celebration” of life is an uplifting and positive event. A welcome alternative to a traditional funeral!

To capture the stories, signatures, addresses, or guest notes from this event, a Memorial Guest Book is the perfect addition. If holding the celebration as a banquet or similar gathering, the guest pages can be removed and spread to various tables. No one likes to wait in line, and this option allows guests to take their time while signing.

After the celebration, easily add the filled out pages back to the book. Blank pages can be left out so your book looks and feels complete.

Blue silver silk cover memorial guest book shown stacked on brown leather guest book with flower prop

Create a Literary Tribute

This is a unique funeral alternative to celebrate a loved one that has family in many locations, as it can be done via email or Google Drive.

First, think of what your loved one appreciated during their lifetime. Did they have a favorite song, a poem, or a cherished book?

Then, keeping these in mind, have close family and friends share their favorite poems or songs in remembrance. Loved ones can also share their stories or write letters in memory of the deceased.

Once received, print and compile into a book. Tessera’s 84 page (42 individual sheets) Blank or Lined Book is a wonderful way to hold these prints. Add in photos and other ephemera for a completed keepsake.

memorial guest book

Hold a Tree Planting Ceremony

Planting a tree in memory of your loved one is a lasting and symbolic way to honor their life. Because this ceremony is typically done on a smaller scale, it’s a simple and budget friendly alternative to a traditional funeral. Friends and family can all participate in the planting ceremony. Plus it’s a great way to give back to the earth!

Some popular tree choices and their meanings:

  • Olive tree: symbolizes peace, wisdom, and tranquility
  • Fairy Magnolia tree: symbolizes perseverance and purity, brings a sense of hope when in bloom
  • Blue Spruce tree- symbolizes resilience, strength, and everlasting life
  • Enduring Oak tree – symbolizes strength, morale, and resistance. Enduring Oak is also the national tree of the United States, a great choice for a loved one that served in the military

Regardless of why you’re looking for alternatives to a traditional funeral, we know that whatever you choose will honor your loved one in a way that is beautiful and true to their wishes.


  • the best baby memory book blog post cover photo featuring mom holding her baby

The Best Baby Memory Book

December 15th, 2023|0 Comments

A modern twist on a classic tradition, our best-selling Baby Memory Book is better than ever! We’ve always recognized that all family structures deserve to be celebrated, and now our Baby Book works for single parents, two moms, or two dads without having to purchase additional replacement pages.