Posted on

Memory Gardens & Celebration of Life Ideas

Virginia Ash Burial Service

Our experiences through Rest Ashured illustrate how much people need a personal way to say goodbye. Often, we hear that our clients plan their own ceremony, complete with readings and music that honor the life of their loved ones. They may hold it in a religious building, an informal venue, or even in a location that their loved one adored. After their special ceremony, they appreciate our simple and respectful process — where we scatter cremation ashes in our scattering garden in an unattended ceremony. From the actual memorial ceremony to the final goodbye when they send us their loved one’s ashes, our clients appreciate the personal touch offered by a memory garden.

Table of Contents

Differences from a Funeral Service
Planning a Celebration of Life
The Final Goodbye

Over time, people have begun to favor Celebration of Life ceremonies over traditional funerals. These memorial services are intimate, and often less formal, than mourning rituals of the past. Memory gardens, in particular, allow people a beautiful place to lay their loved ones to rest following their celebration of life ceremony. The verdant setting illustrates the hope of life after death.

Differences from a Funeral Service

Celebration of life ceremonies differ from funeral services in several ways. First, celebrations of life are generally more intimate and may take place in an informal setting. For example, you might choose to hold the ceremony in the loved one’s place of worship or a location of special meaning to them. This changes the tone from a funeral home service to one limited to family and close friends. 

Second, celebrations of life have no particular order of service. Often, they are planned around personalized readings, music, or activities. By contrast, most funeral directors will guide services through specific stages, such as a prelude, introduction, prayers or readings, and a eulogy. If you are planning a celebration of life, you can organize the proceedings around a few intimate moments that reflect on your loved one’s memory.

Finally, celebrations of life have no particular send-off for your loved one’s remains. Traditional funerals typically end with a formal transition where a coffin or urn is carried out. Then, the most intimate members of the funeral party immediately follow the remains to their resting place. 

If you’re organizing a celebration of life, you’ll need to plan how you are laying your loved one to rest. For a cremation funeral, you may even choose to keep the ashes on display for some time. For our clients, we find people appreciate this flexible timeline. They can keep the ashes until they are ready to lay them to rest. Then, they send the ashes to us for a final goodbye.

Planning a Celebration of Life

When you’re planning a celebration of life, a theme creates a focus for the event. Many times, people choose a song, special location, or a quote to center the ceremony. If you are planning to have your loved one’s ashes scattered in our memory garden, you can make the memory garden a focus of your celebration of life ceremony. 

If you choose our scattering garden, you can explain to the attendees where your loved one’s remains will be put to rest after the ceremony: on a lush mountaintop among the beauty of nature. Weave that peaceful, life-bringing image into your mourning process. 

As you’re planning a celebration of life, you’ll also need to make provisions for the following areas.

The Invitations

Start by considering who will be invited to the celebration of life. Collect the appropriate contact information and keep the list available for anyone coordinating invites. This will make it easier to confirm who is attending.

The Ceremony

For the actual celebration of life ceremony, you can plan around what works best for your group. Some considerations include:

  • Where and when will the event take place?
  • Who will conduct the ceremony?
  • Who will speak during the ceremony? 
  • What music would you like to include?
  • How will you decorate for the ceremony?
  • Will there be food or beverages afterward?

Each of these questions will help you plan a personal, yet organized event.

The Activities

Many people enjoy a group activity during a celebration of life. This may be as simple as signing a keepsake, reciting a reading together, or participating in a symbolic moment. From lighting candles to singing a song, guests enjoy memory-making moments. 

Memory Gardens

For those looking for a place to put their loved ones to rest, we offer an unattended ash scattering ceremony. Our serene scattering garden overlooks the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and portions of the James River. It’s a glorious garden of memories — celebrating the unique lives of people who have passed.

Whether you want to send your ashes immediately after the celebration of life ceremony or wait for some time, we’re here to support you. 

After you confirm your selection, we ship you a special package with the appropriate containers. You can place it in the mail through your local post office. If you prefer, we offer a personal pickup service for an additional fee. 

Upon receiving your loved one’s ashes, we scatter them reverently on our mountaintop garden. We also place an engraved memorial stone at the site. Finally, we send you a Certificate of Release. This keepsake notes the date and location of the scattering. 

We’re here to provide comfort and relief to you during your time of loss. If you are interested in our scatter garden, please get in touch with us by calling 434-534-4007 or emailing us at