Funeral services are very personal experiences that should reflect the preferences of the person who has passed. Many people prefer a traditional funeral ceremony held at their place of worship. However, it is increasingly common when thinking about how to prepare for funeral services to consider hosting a non-traditional funeral.
Choosing to take that approach frees family members to celebrate the life of their loved one in creative ways that highlight the person’s personality and interests. Did they enjoy cooking? Were they a nature lover? Did they have a love of boating? Were they an artist? A non-traditional funeral ceremony can showcase the person’s passions and encourage people to focus less on the loss and more on the joy that their loved one experienced in life and shared with others.
Coordinating a Personalized Funeral Service
The list of ideas for a non-traditional funeral service is virtually limitless. However, below are 10 suggestions for consideration. Each enables family members to coordinate a truly unique celebration of the person’s life.
- Host a home funeral. It’s common in many cultures and religious traditions to gather in the home of someone who has passed or that of another family member to offer condolences. Some people choose to go further and host a funeral service there. This is particularly fitting for a deceased loved one who enjoyed some of their happiest times at home. An added benefit is that the funeral ceremony can be scheduled whenever it is convenient for family members.
- Plan a memorial concert. For a music lover, what could be better than having their favorite tunes played live at their funeral service? Anywhere that musicians can gather can be the perfect venue for a memorial concert—at a park, at the beach, or wherever the person would have enjoyed attending a musical performance in life.
- Plant a tree. If your loved one was a nature lover, consider coordinating their funeral ceremony around the planting of a tree. There is tremendous symbolism in continuing the “circle of life” in this way. Plus, checking on the tree’s progress through the years will serve as a wonderful reminder of your loved one.
- Commission and reveal a painting or other work of art. Whether it is a portrait of your loved one, a landscape painting of a place or type of scene they would appreciate, a sculpture representing their interests or some other item symbolic of their life, a work of art is a lasting memorial that can be handed down from generation to generation. And, making its unveiling the focus of a funeral service will bring a smile to the face of everyone in attendance.
- Host a meal at the person’s favorite restaurant. It is common to have refreshments or a meal after a traditional funeral service. But you can conduct the service as part of a gathering at the person’s favorite restaurant. Sharing a meal has a way of relaxing people and strengthening the bonds between them, which is something your loved one would surely approve of.
- Coordinate a movie night. Many people have a movie that they feel truly encapsulates life for them. If that is true of your loved one, you can host a showing of that film in your home and talk before or after the movie about why your loved one found it so meaningful. Some movie theaters will rent their space when it is not being used, allowing you to show the movie on a big screen.
- Dedicate a small shrine in your home. One of the things that can concern both a person who is in their final days and their loved ones is that memories of the person will quickly fade after they pass. That concern can be addressed by creating a small, tasteful “shrine” in your home. Adorned with photos, artworks created by or for the person and other mementos, the space can be a wonderful reminder of all the person meant to the people who knew them.
- Create a group-sourced memorial book. A memorial book is a portable “shrine” of sorts, and you can build your funeral ceremony around people providing material for the book. This material could be photos of the person, handwritten notes about fond memories of time spent together, etc. Seeing those items collected for inclusion in the memorial book can help family members and others in attendance understand and appreciate the impact the person had on those around them.
- Scatter the person's ashes in a favorite location. Cremation is an increasingly popular choice for the disposition of a deceased loved one’s physical remains. Once the cremation has been performed, family and friends can participate in scattering the ashes in a location that the person loved—into a body of water, along a hiking trail, on a mountain peak or other elevated location where they watched sunsets, etc. The scattering of ashes may be prohibited in some places, so you should do some research before the event takes place.
- Have a private service. It is traditional to invite family and friends to attend a funeral. However, you are not obligated to do so. You may choose to have only immediate family at the funeral service and encourage others to celebrate the life of your loved one in a way of their choosing. If the thought of hosting a public funeral service is very stressful for you and your family, an intimate event can alleviate that stress and allow you to mourn your loss and celebrate the person’s life without that complication.
Arrange a Funeral Ceremony Your Loved One Would Approve Of
Some people who attend your loved one’s funeral ceremony might not choose the type of non-traditional service you have arranged. But what matters is what your loved one would think of the ceremony.
It is important that you respect their wishes, whatever those wishes are. If a festive Hawaiian luau or a lively dance party, rather than a somber church funeral, would put a smile on their face, then that’s exactly the type of service you should coordinate.
About Greenwood & Myers Mortuary
We know there are other funeral homes in the area to choose from. But we also know that families who turn to us during a time of loss, or for pre-arrangement services experience our very high standards of service. We offer professional guidance and personal and specialized attention before, during and after the loss of a loved one. Our reputation for honesty and integrity is very well-known, and it is our most valuable asset. https://www.greenwoodmyersfuneral.com/
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