How Funerals Have Changed in Recent Years

Films and TV dramas featuring storylines about bereavement tend to paint a very traditional picture of funerals but funerals have changed in recent years. When EastEnders’ legendary pub landlady Peggy Mitchell was laid to rest in 2016, for example, her coffin was carried on a horse-drawn carriage during a sombre funeral procession. The service was held in a church, mourners wore black, and Peggy’s grave was decorated with elaborate flower arrangements.

As Metro newspaper remarked, the funeral was ‘a fitting send-off in classic EastEnders style’. But like so many events in TV soaps, it wasn’t necessarily an accurate reflection of the way things are done. Some funerals these days are conducted along traditional lines, but many others take a less formal approach. The way people say goodbye to loved ones has changed a great deal in recent years. Keep reading to find out how much funerals have changed.

Personalised, Creative Ceremonies

Funeral trends research published by Co-op Funeralcare suggests mourners are ‘turning towards more personalised ways of celebrating the lives of their loved ones’ than conventional ceremonies offer. Indeed, 86% of the funeral directors surveyed said bereaved families are now more likely to consider including personal touches and creative elements (such as unusual venues or distinctive dress codes) in the funeral order of service than was the case several years ago. Naturally, people still want to commemorate those who’ve passed away, but increasingly they want to celebrate them too – and smile through the tears.

There are many ways to ensure a funeral reflects the personality of the deceased. If you’re organising a funeral for someone who didn’t want a traditional service, you might like to consider the following options.

Imaginative Setting

Funeral services don’t have to be held in places of worship or crematoriums. Alternative funeral venues include stately homes, beaches, golf courses, sports stadiums, woodland burial sites and gardens.

An inspiring example is Omved Gardens in London. This tranquil venue, featuring a restored glasshouse, hosts funerals and wakes. It helps ‘people to reconnect with nature’, which can bring comfort when you’re grieving.

Leading the Service Yourself

Did you know that religious leaders and celebrants aren’t the only people able to conduct funeral services? As points out, ‘anyone can conduct a funeral, including you or another family member or friend. As long as you have a plan for the order of service and are comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, you should be able to lead the service.’

Another option is to share the responsibility with a few loved ones. This will ensure the deceased’s nearest and dearest feel closely connected to proceedings.

Favourite Music

If a relative or friend is musical, why not ask them to perform the deceased’s favourite song at the funeral?

There’s certainly still a place for hymns in the funeral order of service. But don’t hesitate to include modern music if it makes you feel closer to your lost loved one.

Clothing with Special Significance

Perhaps the person you’ve lost was known for being cheerful, vibrant or gregarious. You might feel that asking the congregation to wear black would create a mood that’s at odds with the deceased’s personality.

You could instead ask mourners to wear clothing that either has special significance (for example, football shirts associated with the team your loved one supported) or is in the deceased’s favourite colour.

Some families go further: they give the funeral a theme reflecting one of the deceased’s passions. This could be anything from hiking to comic book superheroes, and influences not only the dress code but also music, décor and floral tributes.

Customised Coffin

If your loved one endeavoured to look after the environment, an eco-friendly coffin made of wicker, bamboo or cardboard would be a fitting choice.

The latter can be personalised with printed pictures (classic cars, say) reminiscent of the deceased’s interests.

Distinctive Hearse

Another way to personalise a funeral is to use more imaginative modes of transport than funeral cars. The coffin of a boating enthusiast could be transported by canal boat. Tractors and trailers are sometimes seen at farmers’ funerals. Funeral directors have even taken congregations to funerals by helicopter.

Fully Customisable Funeral Stationery

Whether you’re planning a traditional or modern send-off, you’ll find our superb UK funeral stationery templates help you to create a deeply personal, beautiful tribute that has lasting significance.

Take our templates for funeral order of service booklets, for example. There’s a wide range of covers and photo pages to choose from. The wording and appearance of the text is fully customisable. Plus, all booklets are printed to the highest standards.

For funeral stationery that’s as unique as your loved one, try Funeral Stationery 4U’s exclusive templates today.