Appropriate Attire for a "Celebration of Life"

As detailed in this post, one of my closest friends passed away on May 1st.

It both was and wasn’t a surprise. He didn’t have any terminal illness, but we all figured his lifestyle and choices would take him to an early grave. He even joked that he wouldn’t live past 35. (He would’ve turned 36 later this year)

He was a really nice and friendly guy, and fairly vehemently atheist.

Tomorrow is the memorial service, which is being held at his mother’s house (where he lived and essentially became brain dead). It’s being billed as a “Celebration of Life,” as opposed to a funeral or something more somber. I’m very close with his mom and sister, and the sister’s husband has told me that I’m practically family. The event is in the evening, and it sounds to be a fairly informal thing, where you can come and go as you please.

Problem is, I don’t know what to wear. I feel like wearing a black suit might be overly formal and morose, but I worry that going in anything less might seem callous. I know I could reach out and ask the mom, but something about that makes me feel uneasy.

For those of you’ve who’ve attended something similar, what did you wear?

I attended one of those. I wore a black suit, but had a brightly colored vest on with it to reflect my friend’s joyous approach to so many things.

It may sound silly but the truth is “wear whatever others will likely be wearing”. Unless your friend knew a lot of bikers, in which case don’t dress like that. :slight_smile:

I guess, more accurately, dress like yourself but try to make an approximate match with what you expect others’ level of formality to be.

To a celebration of life event, I would wear something festive. Apparently the family doesn’t want the event to be somber otherwise they wouldn’t have described it like they did.

I thought about doing something darker with a pop of color, but (and this will probably sound crummy) it’s going to be 100+ degrees and I’d love to avoid layering if possible.

I’ve sent feelers out to friends who I thought would be going, but due to family emergencies, financial obligations, etc., outside of family, I really don’t know others who will be attending. He kinda alienated people towards the end.

When you say festive, exactly what do you mean? I don’t think my light blue / hot pink “Miami Vice-style” shirt that says “Abraham Drinkin’”, with the 16th President wearing shades would be appropriate (especially considering we all feel his alcoholism is what did him in). And no, I don’t think that’s what you meant. Just wondering if you mean a plain colored t-shirt, a polo, or something else.

Like I said, I know I’m over-analyzing this, but his mom is like a second mother to me, and so I really don’t want to over / undershoot this.

Maybe dark, dressy slacks and a dress shirt? Maybe a dress shirt in some color other than white. That would feel not casual without being incredibly formal.

That’s exactly what I would go for, if I had no idea otherwise.

Yes, you’re over-analyzing. Wear a dress shirt not white, and nice pants.

They vary too much to make any blanket statement about attire. Check with the host and/or wear slacks and a nice shirt.

“Celebration of life” has become a generic term, and no longer has a special significance one way or the other as to mood. That’s just what these things are often called now. I guess it could be used in distinction to the strict definition of funeral (i.e. whatever people regard as the strict definition of funeral, this isn’t one).

Definitely don’t wear a blanket. :slight_smile:

At my late wife’s Celebration of Life, worrying about what people were wearing was really the last thing on my mind. One woman did wear all black (black dress, black hose, etc) and looked a little out of place. Most people just wore nice but casual clothes, like what you’d wear to a nice but not formal dinner. A few people just came in jeans and tee-shirts, which didn’t bother me a bit.

Hawaiian shirt, shorts, sandals, and a six-pack! But make sure you have a suit in the car.

I say wear something that had some significance for your friend. I was at one celebration of life where the pallbearers all wore plaid flannel shirts, a favorite of the deceased. Aside from drugs/alcohol/whatever led to his early demise, what was your friend into? What was his favorite color? Favorite band?

And I know you posted the details in another thread, but I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.

At the most memorable Celebration of Life I’ve been to, the choir wore orange or orange-ish shirts and mostly black or dark pants or skirts.

The rest of the mourners wore predominately black, sometimes with white accents, mostly quite formal, often in a horse-y fashion. (That’s expensive racehorse owner fashion, not cowboy fashion).

Says something about the man we were there to mourn.

Since you are most concerned about his mother, were there any special occasions that the three of you spent together? If so, could you wear something that would tie back to that? If not, just ask her what she thinks would be appropriate.

Condolences on the loss of your friend.

The funerals I’ve been to lately whether they were called funerals or celebrations, there were very few if any people dressed in all black. Most just wore nice dress clothes. Nothing formal.

Wear what you would wear for Casual Friday at work. It’s a Celebration of Life, not a Funeral.

I’ve been to a few, and several actually specified preferred dress. Usually something like: Wear Hawaiian shirts. No one wanted folks dressed in black.

Follow-up: I wore a button-up dark shirt and jeans. I fit in, if not erred a little on the “morose” side. One of the family members was wearing a floral top, and there didn’t seem to be a real “tone” to the dress code.

Appropriate I guess, because while a slideshow of pictures of my friend was playing on the tvs, there was beer, wine, a huge spread of food, etc.

Also, his mom gave me a game that she said he’d always wanted to play with me (Think Cards Against Humanity, but with a Shakespeare twist), and I told her that we’d get together and play it when one of our other mutual friends is in town in two weeks.