A celebration of life – balloons, butterflies and doves

Saying goodbye is difficult, but it can be made more personal, pertinent, and even celebratory, by the release of an emblematic token of life.

Balloons, butterflies and doves are all commonly used for this purpose. Soaring skywards they offer the deeply emotional embodiment of the soul heading to another life. They represent freedom and renewal. Pure and beautiful, they carry with them happy memories of devotion and love. They allow us to say goodbye in the most meaningful of ways.

A celebration of life with doves

The ultimate symbol of peace, the release of a single dove, or more, restores hope and allows mourners’ hearts to soar, matching the bird’s trajectory into the sky.

Accompanied by a personal family reading, a dove release, often performed by a close friend or relative, can both sooth and offer context – a loved-one gone, finally let go, but memories living on, a journey continued.

Doves are specially bred to return home, which means they will often circle above a congregation before heading earthwards. It is a sight both deeply moving and symbolic – the ultimate tribute.

A celebration of life with butterflies

Nothing better represents the setting free of the spirit than the release of butterflies, a tantalisingly beautiful sight which brings happiness instead of sadness, hope replacing loss.

The butterfly itself is a representation of change. Its very nature overlaps our own life cycle. We connect with butterflies in a way that mirrors our soul. It’s why so often when people see a butterfly they will feel the presence of someone departed. There is a comfort emanating from them, a reminder of the beauty in our hearts. Harmony – floating, delicate – is their modus operandi in representing the human soul.

Butterflies can be handed out individually to be released from small boxes, or alternatively allowed to fly free en masse, often from an equally beautiful box. Either way, it is a moving sight – an uplifting representation of the next stage of the journey.

A celebration of life with balloons

They’re more commonly associated with weddings, but balloons, floating up to the heavens, can have equal significance at funerals as well.

Some people hold back on them fearful of environmental damage, but actually if balloons are made of latex, they are 100% biodegradable as latex is a natural product.

Some make the release more meaningful – and with an ‘ever after’ feel – by attaching seed packets that will deliver flowers wherever they land.

Have you ever released balloons, butterflies, or doves at a funeral? Feel free to contribute and let us know.