If you’ve ever wondered if more unique, non-traditional funeral ideas might suit you or your loved ones more than a typical service, you’re not alone. More and more people are asking about their options for a funeral service that better reflects their loved one.
We mean no disrespect to traditions and rituals that are so often associated with death and commemorating a loved one. If there are traditions you hold dear or rituals that matter to you, you should absolutely focus on those. But for people who are interested in something more personalized, there are a growing number of options.
This list isn’t inclusive. There are far too many ways to personalize a funeral. Please know that we’ve been helping people add special, personal touches to services for more than 40 years, and we’d be honored to help you make your services as traditional or as unique as you’d like. This post is simply meant to inspire some ideas so that if you are curious about non-traditional and unique funeral ideas, you have a starting point.
Non-Traditional Funeral Ideas: Pre-Planning
Perhaps the easiest way to plan a non-traditional funeral is to plan ahead. If you’ve not yet talked to your family about what kind of service you’d like, it’s a good idea to start now. Explain why you’re thinking of a particular type of service. Maybe music has always been an integral part of your life and you’re never happier than when you’re at a concert. Or maybe you value time spent as a family, sharing a common hobby or interest.
No matter your particular interests, communicating your wishes to your family before they have to plan a service on their own will help ensure the type of funeral you want. We’re happy to help you with those details, but here’s a good place to start.
Unique Funeral Ideas: Think Outside the Funeral Home
That’s right! We’re a unique funeral home telling you it’s ok to think past our walls when you’re planning a unique or non-traditional funeral.
You don’t have to stray far; in fact, you can plan a service in our parking lot, for instance. If that sounds a little odd, just hear us out: while funerals honor someone who has died, they are really held for those who survive. A funeral is a place to gather with those who loved the deceased and those who want to remember them and commemorate their life.
It’s also a place and time for people to grieve together. This might mean telling stories about their loved one. Those stories might certainly make you cry, but chances are they’ll also make you smile and laugh. It might also mean making a toast to their memory, or sharing a meal you know they loved.
The elements of this aren’t unlike other gatherings: there are people and there’s food and people talk and connect. Yes, there’s grief, because you’re all there to mourn and we are in no way diminishing the sadness and grief that death brings.
However, it’s more than acceptable to plan a funeral that’s different from other funerals. Here are a few unique funeral ideas:
- A BBQ in our parking lot
- A live musical performance or poetry reading, also in our parking lot
- A tailgate in our parking lot
- A service at a special park or place in nature
- A shared meal at a favorite restaurant or bar
- A day of charity in your loved one’s honor
Unique Ideas for a More Traditional Funeral
There are countless ways to personalize a funeral when you’re not interested in straying too far from tradition. This practice can give you the best of both scenarios: you can make the service serve you or your loved one’s unique interests while still honoring the traditions or rituals that matter to you.
Here are a few ideas to give your more traditional service a little bit more flair:
Hold to a theme. Did your loved one love Downton Abbey or Lonesome Dove? Ask family and friends to dress appropriately.
Create a memory spot. Set up a corner with items that were dear to your loved one. Include photos, hand-written correspondence, things from their work desk, a favorite plant. Anything goes, really, as long as it reminds you of them. Encourage those in attendance to bring something to add.
Give gifts. Yes, give those in attendance a gift for attending. Maybe your beloved adored birds and was an avid naturalist, for instance. Consider giving packets of birdseed to mourners as they leave the service. You could also give family and friends a special flower, a copy of a treasured recipe, or a small collection of photographs.
Let something go. Balloons, maybe. Or, if you’re near water, you could write thoughts on floating lanterns and share time sitting by the shore, watching the float away.
The choice is yours, and funeral services can be as unique or as traditional as you wish. It’s our jog–and our privilege–to carry out your wishes, no matter what they are. We’d be honored to talk with you more.