Discover beautiful and unique ideas for a funeral that will inspire you to plan the perfect final farewell.
Planning a funeral can be stressful at an already difficult time. Making important choices about the type of funeral, what kind of music to have, where to have the wake – always wondering if it’s what they would have wanted.
Whether you’re trying to arrange a fitting tribute for someone special or thinking ahead to what you’d like your own funeral to be like, check out these 20 funeral ideas for inspiration.
1. Play their favourite songs
Don’t be afraid to choose non-traditional music for a funeral. Many churches and places of worship will now let you play pop songs instead of religious music. You could also create a playlist to play at the wake. Or why not create your ultimate playlist that you want played at your own funeral?
2. Re-use funeral flowers
Floral tributes are a beautiful funeral tradition, but in the days after the funeral these flowers will eventually be thrown away. Press flowers instead to preserve them and display them in a picture frame for a lasting memento.
3. Share their favourite books
If your loved one was a book lover, sharing copies of their favourite books could be a fitting tribute. Add a memorial bookplate in the inside front cover in honour of your loved one.
4. Ask everyone to dress in their team’s colours
Avid sport fans will always be remembered for their passion and dedication to their favourite team. Themed football funerals are rising in popularity, with guests dressing in team colours and coordinated funeral flowers.
5. Make the order of service special
Order of service booklets are given out to everyone at a funeral and outline what is going to happen during the service. Usually an order of service includes at least one photo, but why not make it a collage of all your favourite photos? Mourners can then keep the order of service booklet as a precious memento.
6. Say goodbye with fireworks
If you want a celebration of life, a firework display is an uplifting tribute to someone special. Specialist companies even offer ash scattering fireworks. The cremation ashes are incorporated into the firework itself, so that when it explodes the ashes are scattered to the winds in truly spectacular style.
7. Create a memory tree
Memory trees are a great way to get mourners to share their best memories of the person who has died. Simply place branches in a large vase and provide colourful labels and pens. Ask guests to write down their memories or thoughts and hang each one on the tree.
By the end of the funeral or wake, you’ll have a tree full of memories which others can read and enjoy. You can also save the labels in a photo album or memory box.
8. Choose a unique hearse
Though hearses only come in black? Think again. In recent years there’s been huge demand for alternative hearses, from motorbikes to VW Camper Vans. Some funeral directors even offer pink or rainbow-coloured hearses. Or, you can keep it traditional, with a classic horse-drawn funeral carriage.
9. Personalise the food
If you’re serving food at the wake, choosing your loved one’s favourite dishes is a great way to remember them. At some funerals, people hand out their loved one’s favourite sweets or chocolate bars.
10. Have a party instead of a wake
Celebration of life funerals are quickly becoming a popular choice for those who’d rather remember the good times and celebrate a life well-lived. Increasingly, people are choosing to play music, dance and even sing karaoke at wakes, as a way of remembering someone who loved to have fun.
11. Host an open mic session
Eulogies are a formal speech given during the funeral service, but there’s usually not time for everyone to say their piece. At the wake you could give everyone a chance to be heard. It’s a great way to share memories.
12. Give memorial candles as a gift
Sharing a memorial candle with each mourner will help them pay tribute in the days and weeks after the funeral. You can have candles personalised with the person’s name or photograph for a special touch.
13. Make a tribute video
Make a video compilation of your favourite photos and video clips. It’s a perfect way to show memories at the wake, or to play during the funeral service.
14. Plant a tree in their honour
A tree is a living memorial to someone special that continues to grow year after year. Particularly appropriate if your loved one was a keen gardener, you can even have a small memorial ceremony when planting the tree.
15. Release balloons with a special message
Balloon releases are an uplifting and colourful way to say goodbye. Ask mourners to attach messages with specific memories or wishes to each balloon. Remember to choose biodegradable balloons to minimise the impact on wildlife.
16. Give out seed packets
A growing trend is to give mourners seed packets. They can then grow flowers or plants in that person’s memory for a lasting memorial in their own back garden. Forget-me-nots are a popular choice.
17. Include four-legged friends
Man’s best friend deserves a place at a funeral too. While some churches and crematoriums might not allow dogs, it might be appropriate to bring a beloved family pet to the wake.
18. Stage a dove release
Doves are symbols of peace and love in many religions. Specialist companies offer beautiful dove releases for funerals as part of the ceremony.
19. Incorporate hobbies into the decorations
You can incorporate small items like fishing lures, golf balls or miniature flags into flower arrangements and decorations. If your loved one had a hobby they loved, try to represent it in the decorations.
20. Ask mourners to make a donation
People often ask mourners to make a donation to charity instead of sending flowers. Choose a cause that was close to your loved one’s heart for a personal legacy that will make a difference.
Find out more about planning your funeral in advance with Avalon Funeral Plans.
About the author
With a Masters from the University of Bristol, Jessica Hanson has worked in the funeral sector for several years, following the latest industry trends and writing about end of life planning. Jessica has previously written as a blogger for the Huffington Post, covering topics such as death positivity, understanding grief and how funerals are changing. You can find Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.