Alternative funerals: What is available?

Planning a funeral for a loved one can be quite a daunting prospect. They meant so much to you in life, so you want to make sure that you do them justice by giving them the send-off that they deserve. But, just because the majority of people go for a traditional religious funeral service in a church, that doesn’t mean that you have to do the same. 

Give your loved one a funeral that suits their beliefs and character, knowing that it would have been exactly what they wanted. A free service such as the site Beyond can help you find a funeral director to take care of all the funeral arrangements, but in the meantime, take a look at some alternative funerals available to give you some ideas.

Themed funeral

If you don’t want to stray too far away from what is considered “the norm”, why not consider adding a theme to your traditional funeral? Maybe the person who passed away had a favourite colour or sport, so people can wear something that matches their passion. Maybe they loved reading, in which case you could have a book-themed funeral and even give away one of your loved one’s books to each of the friends and family who attend.

Memorial service

The main difference between a regular funeral and a memorial service is the presence of the deceased’s body. This is perfect if you’d like to have a private cremation or burial with just the immediate family, but you’d like to give others a chance to pay their respects too. You can simply arrange a memorial service at a later date to honour the memory of your loved one, opening the invitation up to everyone.

Committal service

If you don’t want a big, traditional funeral service with lots of people attending, you can opt for a committal service instead. A committal service is a short service, either at the graveside or crematorium, where just a small gathering of immediate family and friends attend.

Direct cremation

Some people decide that they don’t want a funeral or any type of service at all, which is an option that not everyone realises is possible. In this case, the funeral directors take care of everything and your loved one is given a private cremation without any attendees at all, but with the same level of care and respect as you’d get at a regular service. The ashes are then returned to you afterwards. This is also a much cheaper option.

Home funeral

This is the way that funerals always used to be and some people might choose to still do this even today. A home funeral is when the body of the person who passed away is kept at home, rather than at a morgue, so that family and friends are free to pay their respects before the burial or cremation takes place. 

Eco-friendly funeral

With climate change and environmental issues becoming ever more prevalent in today’s society, more and more people are opting for a funeral service that reflects the lifestyle and beliefs that they followed before they passed away. If you’re someone who’s keen to do the best that you can for the planet, then you can opt for an eco-friendly funeral. This can include anything from avoiding the pollutants associated with cremation, to choosing a biodegradable and environmentally-friendly coffin, to planting a tree or flowers in a woodland burial site, as opposed to having a gravestone.

Humanist funeral

These days, more and more people are professing to have no religious beliefs whatsoever. In which case, a humanist funeral might be the right option for them and is ever-increasing in popularity. This type of funeral doesn’t follow any order or service like a religious funeral and, in fact, the writing and conducting of the service can all be done by the friends and family. Most, however, choose to hire the services of a celebrant to help carry this out for them.

Celebration of life

Similar to a themed funeral, a celebration of life is often full of bright colours and encourages people to smile, laugh, be happy and celebrate everything that they loved about the person who’s gone before them. It’s about sharing memories and, often, sharing drinks in order to raise a glass to that person’s life.