Unconventional Funerals – Why step away from the norm?

Unconventional funerals are gaining traction! Why is it a great idea to ‘step away from the norm’ when you’re planning a funeral?

Here’s a look at some of the reasons to resist choosing a conventional funeral format.

Traditional funerals, both burials and cremations do not always help our increasingly fragile environment. Being buried in a hardwood coffin with metal handles and embellished with brass name plates, for example, can’t be helpful. Our newfound understanding of this and our determination to raise our environmental game is a massive incentive to find different ways of saying farewell to the earthly remains of our loved ones.

unconventional funerals

Since the COVID-19 restrictions started to lift, I have been meeting people who want to have fun when they celebrate the life of someone who is no longer with them. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be slapstick fun, although I have heard of themed funerals such as Star Wars and Disney characters. My families so far seem more keen on hearing amusing anecdotes and relevant music which paint a picture of the deceased. This often means that several people other than myself will take to the lectern to tell a story or recite a poem they have written themselves. All this helps towards the personalising of a ceremony.

We have surely all sat through dull and dreary funerals which lack inspiration and which fail to inspire any feelings other than boredom. Certainly forty years ago, celebrants were relatively unheard of in the UK. Funerals usually took a traditional form, hymns were sung and prayers were said. These can still be used today but in my services at Caroline James Farewells & Funerals, they are very rarely requested. So many wonderful songs have been written which often touch the heart and honour memories in a far more personal way than a generic hymn.

unconventional funerals concert

Cost is always a talking point in the funeral industry and there are now many options available to people to reduce prices. At Caroline James Farewells & Funerals, I personally am a fan of direct cremation although this process still contributes to environmental damage by leaving what is known as a carbon footprint. It certainly is far cheaper an option so that more money is then available to fund a really special farewell celebration of life. However, we have to remember that having a safe space to air our grief and pain is also necessary to help us move forward.

unconventional funerals - natural burial

credit Dale Hill Natural Burial Ground, Derbyshire

There can be little doubt that a natural burial presents the best option for our beloved planet, using a simple biodegradable shroud or a lightweight wicker basket. Only then can we truly return to nature, return from whence we came, without causing further damage. This seems to me to be the future.

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