What’s a Tribute to Someone? Definition + Examples

Updated

Tributes are a special way to honor the life of someone living or deceased. They help those who hear the tribute to recognize the unique contributions the person made to the world around them. These special speeches, songs, and poems also help the person’s legacy to continue by encouraging others to spread the same kind of love, kindness, or generosity that the person displayed.

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If you’re getting ready to create a tribute for someone you love, you’ll be doing them a great honor. Creating a tribute for a deceased loved one certainly isn’t easy, but it will be worth all the time and effort you put into it.

Definition of a Tribute to Someone

A tribute is a special way to remember the life, legacy, memory, and influence of a loved one. No matter what type of tribute, it should speak about their unique personality, how they contributed something special to the world, and the way they impacted the lives of friends, family, and even strangers.

Tributes don’t have to be biographical, but they should highlight what made your loved one so special and contain examples from their life that support your points.


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Why Do People Make Tributes to Other People?

Too often, people aren’t recognized for their contributions to society, their family, and their community. To solve this issue, tributes are created for those who are living or deceased as a way to honor them for their impact on the world. 

While living tributes are usually held for famous members of society, families often memorialize their deceased by offering tributes after they are dead. These tributes occur during funeral, memorial, and celebration-of-life services.

Tributes for a deceased member of your family can be paid no matter the size of impact the person had on the world. If they touched your life, that’s enough of a reason to create a tribute in their honor. Then, through your tribute, they can impact the lives of those in attendance and their legacy will continue.

Different Types of Tributes for a Living or Deceased Person

Whether a tribute is created for a person who is still living or a person who died, the types of tributes are similar. The biggest difference will be in the way that a person is talked about in the tribute. Those who are still living will often be thanked for the contributions they made and continue to make to the world. Those who have died will be thanked for how they made the world a better place.

Here are several types of tributes you might consider creating for someone you love.

Online memorial site

Online memorial sites are growing in popularity and are being used to supplement or in place of a traditionally published obituary. While an obituary published in a newspaper can only be read by those who happen to see the obituary on the day it’s published, an online memorial website can be accessed by all of your friends and relatives as soon as it’s published and onward.

Many online memorial sites allow friends, family, and visitors to the site to interact by posting pictures and videos of the person, signing a digital guestbook, and posting memories they have with the person. 

Other benefits of an online memorial site include indefinite web hosting, allowing you to keep the website up forever, an unlimited photo and video gallery, and donation buttons for friends and family to donate in a person’s honor. Donation buttons are especially popular for families that want to raise money for an important cause such as cancer research in lieu of traditional funeral flowers.

Speech

A tribute speech is usually made during a memorial celebration or a celebration of life gathering, but it can also be spoken during a funeral. This speech often highlights important contributions the person made to their family, their community, or their industry.  

The person you’re thinking of doesn’t need to have revolutionized the world or found a cure for cancer to be the recipient of a tribute speech. Memorializing the impact they had on your life or the life of their family is a stirring tribute to a life well-lived and will demonstrate how they used the time they had for good.

Song

Tribute songs have been written by famous musicians over the years, but this doesn’t mean you can’t write one, as well. The best tribute songs mention the person’s absence, how they made the world a better place, and how you’ll feel now that they’re gone. 

If you aren’t musically inclined, consider choosing a tribute song to play during your loved one’s memorial or celebration-of-life event, instead. Listen through popular options or choose a song that makes you think of their life. The song you play in tribute doesn’t have to be a “tribute song” as long as it pays homage to their personality, talents, passions, or life.  


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Poem

If you’re more linguistically-inclined, you might consider writing a poem in tribute instead of trying to write a song. Your tribute poem doesn’t have to be long or wordy, and even a few lines will do. Just try and keep these things in mind when writing a tribute poem:

  • What do you want the audience to learn about the person from your poem?
  • What would your loved one want you to say?
  • Which of their personality traits can you highlight?
  • How did the person make you feel?
  • How do you want the audience to feel after you read or recite the poem?

Video

Tribute videos can take a long time to put together, so you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time before a memorial, funeral, or celebration-of-life event. These videos usually highlight pictures and clips from various stages of a person’s life, show them growing up, and major life events are included. 

You can add special elements to tribute videos, such as a tribute song that plays in the background, text that explains the pictures or video clips, and audio clips from yourself and members of your family such as narration, short tribute speeches, and lines of poetry. 

When you create a tribute video, you can get the entire family involved by having them provide you with meaningful pictures, video clips, stories, anecdotes, and audio files of themselves paying tribute to your loved one. Compiling all of these elements will take time and patience to do it right, but when you’re finished, you’ll have a tribute video to pass out copies of and pass down through the generations. 

How to Create a Tribute for a Loved One

Are you ready to create a tribute for your loved one? Follow these steps to guide you along your way.

Choose a tribute type

As you saw earlier in this article, there are several types of tributes you can create including online memorial sites, songs, poems, speeches, and videos. The first thing you should do is determine which memorial type will best suit your purposes and be something you can realistically put together.

If time is short, then you might want to choose a poem or speech. If you have plenty of time to work on it, then maybe a video will be the best option. You should also take into consideration your talents and abilities. If you hate getting up in front of people, you probably won’t want to sing a tribute song. If staring at a computer is the bane of your existence, you may not want to commit to hours of video editing.

Review examples

Before you start writing or splicing video clips together, take some time to look at memorial tribute examples for the type of memorial you’re going to create. Gain inspiration from the way others have created videos, written lyrics describing the love of their spouse, or crafted a speech that wove amusing anecdotes into sweeter more sentimental parts of their lives.

Take notes on what you like and what you didn’t like, so you can reference this when you’re ready to start creating your own.

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Gather necessary information

Depending on which type of tribute you plan on creating, you’ll need to gather facts and information about your loved one so you have it on hand to draw from. While poems might require fewer facts like dates and major milestones, you might want to insert some of these things into a speech, and you’ll definitely need them for a video.

Plan out which events you want to include in your tribute and collect all the necessary information. If you’re putting together a video, it could even be helpful to create a timeline of their life to help when compiling pictures, video clips, and audio files.

Ask for help (optional)

You might benefit by asking for help with larger projects like tribute videos. Consider asking relatives to send you pictures of your loved one, recording themselves talking about a special memory and sending you the audio file, or compiling a list of important dates and events they remember. 

This can cut down on the time you spend collecting pictures and creating a timeline for your loved one’s life. Involving other family members will also create a meaningful experience for them by providing them with a way to honor your loved one.

Start your draft

Whether you’re creating a song, poem, speech, or video, all creative projects go through a process, and that process starts with a first draft.

Write down your initial thoughts, create a rough video, pen a few lyrics. Simply start in on whichever type of tribute you plan on creating. You’ll be able to refine your tribute later. Right now, simply let the creative juices flow and start the project.

After you have the first draft, hit the pause button for an hour or two. Then, go back to it and refine it. Look over what you’ve written or the video you’ve created and make some notes on what you want to remove, add, or make better. Now go back over it, refine it, and create a second draft.

Finalize your tribute

Once you have a solid second draft, give it one more look through and finish refining it. This is your last pass-through so be sure it’s just the way you want it. Make adjustments, add a few items or take something away, if needed. This is the tribute that everyone will watch or listen to, so make sure it’s just the way you want it to be.

Honoring a Loved One’s Life 

Paying tribute to the life and memory of a loved one is an especially meaningful way to ensure that their legacy continues. Not only will you create something special in their honor, but those in attendance during your tribute will also benefit from your retelling of what made your loved one special, important, and valued. Creating a tribute is one of the best ways you can honor the life of your loved one.

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