Ideas for Planning an Alternative Funeral

Posted: 14/11/2017

For some, particularly the non-religious, a ‘traditional’ funeral just doesn’t feel like the right fit. Funerals are, after all, supposed to be a celebration of life, and ideally we’d all like to orchestrate funerals in the most fitting way possible to the person being celebrated. Funerals can be markedly uncomfortable experiences, but this is by no means inevitable. Alternative funeral practices may help to ease the tensions inherent in the subject of death and grief, and encourage mourners to better connect with one another in celebration of a friend or family-member. If you are not following the customs of religion when planning a funeral, and you are stuck for ways in which to memorialize a loved one (or, indeed, yourself), read on for some ideas for hosting a funeral that truly breaks the mould.

The Creative Funeral


  • Home-made service booklets
  • Flower-wreath workshops
  • Paper flower-wreaths
  • Paint a mural

There are many ways in which one can personalise a funeral by getting creative with the fine details. This option is perfect for the artier among us, and it can really inject some fun into what is usually a very hard process. Get creative on your invites and order of service booklets; if you have the time try making them by hand; or get them printed containing illustrations or design elements that you have sourced or created personally. Consider an alternative to traditional funeral flowers; have your guests bring leafy plants instead, or go down the super-skilful route of making your own flower wreaths. You might even host a flower-making workshop on the morning of the day or the night before with a handful of guests to then have their creations included in the service. Paper-flower wreaths are also a beautiful and alternative option to traditional flower arrangements. Another activity to make the day really special is a mural-painting session; all you need is a white sheet of fabric, some paint, and some encouragement to get the guests painting in memory of the deceased. The mural can then be photographed and distributed in a postcard-form (physical or digital) to all of those who want to share in the memorabilia.


The Eco-Friendly Funeral


  • Cardboard or wicker coffins
  • Resomation (biocremation)
  • Travel by bike or foot
  • Horse-powered or man-powered transportation
  • Plant-a-flower gift bags




As we become increasingly environmentally-minded, more and more people are opting for eco-friendly funeral services. Personalised cardboard coffins may replace traditional wooden and metal coffins for a biodegradable option. The benefits of using ‘clean coffins’ are considerable, not to mention they are far easier to carry! If cardboard isn’t your preference, wicker coffins are a really beautiful alternative you might consider. In terms of bodily disposition; resomation (or biocremation) is a good alternative to standard cremation if you want to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of a funeral. Resomation is the process of disposition by alkaline hydrolysis to reduce the body to ash, rather than flame cremation. Resomation can reportedly reduce funeral emissions up to 35%. Transportation is another area in which a funeral can be made more eco-friendly. Have guests travel from the service to the reception by bike or by walking together if the distance isn’t too great. Horse-drawn carriages are a sufficiently clean way of transporting the coffin, and certainly have the ability to inject some grandeur into the day! If that isn’t quite within range of budget, complete the life-cycle by having the coffins or casket transported by tricycle. Consider gifting each guest a packet of seeds in their service booklet or gift bag; allowing them to plant new life in honour of one passed is a really lovely and environmentally-conscious gesture.

The Luxury Funeral


  • Fly to a luxury destination
  • Travel by luxury cars
  • Gold-plated coffins and caskets
  • Mobile funerals (by boat, plane, helicopter, etc.)




The scope of the luxury funeral, by its very definition, has no bounds. If you are planning a funeral with a large budget, there are plenty of ways in which to make the event particularly memorable. Perhaps you’ll do this by flying your guests to another country for the reception, or treating them to a fleet of Bentley’s or Rolls Royce’s for transport to and from venues. You can have a bespoke coffin made with the finest finishes (silver or gold handles; velvet lining, to name a few), or even follow in the footsteps of Michael Jackson and James Brown by buying a gold-plated coffin (the famous ‘Promethean’).

Catering is fundamental in funeral-planning; source the finest food and drink for the reception, focusing on foodstuffs that the deceased was particularly fond of. Distribute either as a sit-down meal with set courses, or opt for a more casual setting with a premium buffet and an open bar. When it comes to décor, bountiful flowers will be the key feature.

Perhaps take inspiration from the wall of roses gifted to Kim Kardashian by husband Kanye West for Mother’s Day; when you have the means, why not create a floral wonderland? If the deceased was something of a voyager, why not host their funeral on a yacht? Mobile funerals of this sort are a clear deviation from the traditional stationary services in places of worship or community-centres, and are a brilliantly different way to celebrate the life of a person well-lived.

Funeral services do not have to be uniform or traditional. Alternative funerals are a great way of bringing the personal back into a process that can be largely painful and somewhat procedural-feeling. One of the most common complaints about traditional funerals is that they can feel impersonal. Funerals should feel like a bespoke celebration, not a necessary ritual. Whilst traditional funeral-styles might be the most fitting for certain situations, it is important to remember that there are hundreds of funeral service providers out there who are willing to cater for whatever your vision may be. Be it a quiet, homely affair; a big party-style celebration; an artistic exploration or a ‘green’ funeral that you are looking for, the right help with regards to putting it together is out there. Visit us here to find the perfect funeral provider for you.