Why Choose a Celebration of Life?

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Funerals do not have to be solemn affairs. Here are some ideas on how you can personalise a funeral to celebrate the life of a loved one.

We all have different personalities, things that make us who we are and help us stand out from the crowd, so it’s only natural that our funerals should be an equally individual affair.  

There are so many factors when it comes to tailoring a funeral to suit the life of the deceased. Funerals do not have to be solemn affairs steeped in unnecessary tradition. It’s actually becoming more popular for funerals and celebrations of life to reflect the interests and hobbies of the deceased, or to highlight their cultural nuances.

Adding personalised, tailored touches to a funeral service not only helps those left behind with the grieving process but also creates a more memorable and truly personalised event. It can be a beautiful way to commemorate your loved one exactly how they would like to be remembered. 

Themed Funeral Service

It may seem strange to organise a themed funeral, but they can add a real splash of personality to the proceedings; they can even be chosen by your loved one before they pass away. Themes can be planned around a personal passion, a special achievement, a much-loved place or anything else which your loved one gave importance to in their lifetime. More common funeral themes include a favourite sports team, restaurant, movie franchise or genre of music. 

The Co-op has recently seen a rise in personalised funerals, with research stating that 41% of Brits would like their funerals to be a celebration of life rather than a sad occasion. The British funeral care provider has conducted some unique funerals over the years, including a magician’s theme, Only Fools and Horses, a fancy dress funeral and Christmas in July, where attendees remembered the deceased’s love of Christmas by wearing Christmas jumpers and having Santa, his reindeer and elves in attendance during the summer ceremony. 

Personalised Items

Incorporating personalised items is a wonderful way to tailor your loved one’s funeral to suit their unique personality. Choosing a specific casket or urn that has a certain colour, design, or pattern is an easy way to accomplish this. Of course, nowadays, all these elements can be personalised and even inscribed with names and dates, meaningful quotes or family photographs, adding that extra touch.

Floral spreads are another easy way to individually commemorate your loved one. Choosing a specific flower they loved or a certain colour that was their favourite is a lovely way to remember them. 

Of course, music is another fitting way to remember someone you love, as it can invoke powerful memories and emotions. Songs can be incorporated into the service, either as music while people arrive or having a song performed by friends or family. The music does not have to be solemn or sombre; instead, use it as a way to celebrate your loved one’s life. Many people have favourite songs or bands that they loved. So, take some time to sit down and get a list of songs together. Playing them while you’re doing this can bring great comfort too. 

Alternative Vehicles

Instead of choosing a traditional funeral fleet, you may want to use an alternative vehicle or mode of transportation to reflect your loved one’s personality. This could include a whole variety of vehicles, including a horse-drawn hearse in different colours, a range of motorcycles as a procession, a land rover or Volkswagen campervan hearse, a limousine, or even a lorry. 

A survey of over 200 funeral directors has found that a milk float is among the top 10 most unusual funeral vehicles requested by friends and relatives of the deceased. Other unusual vehicles included a military tank, fire engine, and Scooby-Doo coloured van!

There are so many options out there, so if you have a specific vehicle in mind, don’t worry. Judging by the examples we listed above, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to find a funeral home that can accommodate your wishes.

Participating Attendees

Asking friends and family of the deceased to participate by wearing a certain colour or flower is a lovely way to get everyone involved. This can be as simple as asking the attendees to wear dark blue instead of black or something more fun and vibrant, like wearing the deceased’s favourite football team’s shirt. Everyone joining in and participating allows friends and family to feel a part of the moment. 

This past January, a mega Star Wars fan had his funeral attended by a procession of Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and an imperial officer. In this case, the funeral was pre-planned by the deceased and was the send-off he had asked for while battling motor neurone disease. 

These sort of fancy dress funerals may be untraditional, but they can bring a lot of joy to the deceased loved ones and family, especially if it fits their personality well. 

In summary, the sad, sombre funeral arrangements of the past do not need to be part of your future planning. Seeing a funeral as a ‘celebration of life’ instead can change the atmosphere completely and help you remember and treasure your loved ones in a more positive light. It also opens up the door for people to plan their own funerals in advance, giving them additional comfort in their final days that those they treasure will be acting upon their wishes when the time comes in a way which perfectly matches their personality, interests and passions.

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