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Question: What do I wear to a Celebration of Life Ceremony?

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    Question: What do I wear to a Celebration of Life Ceremony?

    So my cousin's wife recently passed from breast cancer after 10 years of battling the disease. She's being cremated, so instead of a funeral they are having a Celebration of Life ceremony. There will be a meal and then the short, 30-minute ceremony which will include some video content and will be a general acknowledgement that she was an amazing person and the world is better for having had her in it.

    My question: what do I wear? The ceremony is outside, in Nashville, in three weeks. It will be at 7PM.

    It isn't a wake, and I don't even own a black suit so that option is out the window. My initial thought was go conservative and wear a navy blue suit with a subdued tie. Then I thought perhaps I could liven it up a bit and wear khaki slacks, brown double monks, white OBCD, blue seersucker jacket and no tie. Is that too close to summer wedding attire? I'm tying myself in knots here.

    Thoughts?

    #2
    Interesting conundrum. It's telling to me that this is being presented as a celebration of life. Of course, I don't know your family, but that sounds like they want to be positive, even in the midst of tragedy. Maybe you do wear a navy suit but, as a nod to the "color" of breast cancer research, maybe wear a pink pocket square. That would be a bit more festive, if that's the appropriate word, while still being respectful of the occasion. Or, if you know there was something she was fond of, work that into your outfit... maybe a favorite flower that you can wear on your lapel or some other way to acknowledge her.

    Above all, don't tie yourself in knots too much. WE here on this forum care about clothes a lot... very few other people do or will even notice. The important thing is to be there for your family and remember your cousin's wife. Maybe ask other people in your family what they'll wear. Again, don't expect them to have put a ton of thought into this, but at least it will give you some frame of reference.

    I'm sorry for your family's loss.

    Comment


      #3
      My condolences to your family. With all due respect to people who mean well, this is one of the problems with breaking social conventions. But, such as it is, if I was in your position, I would subtly inquire what other attendees plan to wear and not try to stand out. Actually, I think the wedding attire comparison is pretty apt. I mean, you want to look good to respect the deceased and the family, but not look like you're trying to out-shine them or be the center of attention.

      Comment


        #4
        Another wedding attire parallel is that the event doesn't really tell you anything about the formality expected, except that you wouldn't wear the traditional mourning garb of a black suit and tie with white shirt.

        So don't be afraid to expose your uncertainty. People are rarely offended by a question asked for their benefit (you're trying to accommodate their wishes), and they may not have realized that the invitation was so vague from your perspective.

        You won't be the only one wondering this, so perhaps suggest to the organizers to send out a supplementary email explaining the expected level of dress. You could even offer to send it yourself to save them the effort if you have the guests' contact information.

        Comment


          #5
          I'll add another tally in the "ask them" column. Personally, I'd lean more conservative, for the same reasons that have been mentioned, but maybe she was a wild bohemian artsy type and they'd love having people glam it up in her honor.

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            #6
            I think these things are contextual. I know some people put more emphasis are wearing black and others on dressing nice. I agree with what has been said, and just want to add that a dark suit with a conservative tie is something that will offend no one.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ryn View Post
              ...a dark suit with a conservative tie is something that will offend no one.
              Well said. If asking isn't an option this is what I'd go with. I also though the idea mentioned earlier about somehow incorporating a tiny bit off pink as a show of support has some merit as wel.

              Comment


                #8
                I'd also go for navy and a conservative tie. When in doubt, don't stick out.

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                  #9
                  If you just wear a dark suit with tie to all of these types of events, you don't have to sit around overthinking it. People will likely show up dressed in various levels of formality; including some with chinos/button down shirts/no jacket. You'll probably be one of the best dressed people there, and that's OK.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Alex.C View Post

                    Well said. If asking isn't an option this is what I'd go with. I also though the idea mentioned earlier about somehow incorporating a tiny bit off pink as a show of support has some merit as wel.
                    That only works if you have such a pocket square or other accessory.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by ryn View Post

                      That only works if you have such a pocket square or other accessory.
                      No argument here. I'm sure such a piece would be easy enough to obtain, but I doubt I would go out of my way to pick one up.

                      Dark suit, white/light blue shirt and dark tie would be completely appropriate.
                      Last edited by Alex.C; May 10, 2021, 12:50 PM. Reason: Argument, not agreement. That's literally the opposite of what I wanted to communicate

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                        #12
                        Thank you for all the responses. Based on feedback from my family members, this seems to be somewhat casual. So, I am thinking about going with a dark suit, light pink shirt and no tie. I am searching for a good pink lapel flower that I could double with a white/blue shirt instead of a pink shirt but haven't been able to find yet. Any suggestions?

                        Alternatively, I could always go with the small loop of pink ribbon pinned to the lapel.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jcbennett View Post
                          I am searching for a good pink lapel flower that I could double with a white/blue shirt instead of a pink shirt but haven't been able to find yet. Any suggestions?

                          Alternatively, I could always go with the small loop of pink ribbon pinned to the lapel.
                          The classic lapel flower would be a rosebud, and pink rosebuds are common enough that one shouldn't be a problem to find at most florists.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Well, thank you. This solidifies my decision--I told my wife that I don't want any kind of "celebration of life" thing when I die. I want people to grieve my death--lots of crying and wailing.

                            And my mourners won't be confused about what to wear. Lots of black.

                            As far as what you, the OP, should wear, I think I agree with what appears to be the majority; that is, you can't go wrong with a dark suit. Based on your last post that's what you're doing. I also agree that not wearing a tie is a good choice.
                            WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              "I was invited to a grief of death ceremony. Now, I know black is the standard, but it's indoors, so should I wear my midnight blue suit, which is blacker than black?"

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