People are increasingly looking for ways to personalize the big, important moments of their lives. Graduations, weddings and baby showers are often viewed as opportunities to show off the things that make us unique individuals. With this in mind, it makes sense that people would want this to continue even after their death.
Here are five ways you could personalize your own funeral:
Customised coffins & urns
At many funerals, the coffin or urn holding the deceased’s remains is often a large focus of the service. This could be an opportunity to let your personality shine through. A customized coffin or urn could be decorated in a way that speaks to your life, passions or hobbies.
There are many options available beyond a standard hardwood coffin. Customized coffins and urns are available in nearly every color. Others can come printed with a pattern or photo, a sport team logo or a favorite poem. It’s really up to you and your imagination.
If you’d like an even more personal touch, see if there’s a coffin club in your area. These informal organisations help people build their own coffins from plain wood, which you can paint yourself before you pass away. You could even leave it bare, and ask your family to do the final decorating as they prepare for the funeral.
Travel in style
Another way to personalize your funeral service is by choosing a non-conventional way to move the body. While a black hearse has become the usual method of moving a person’s remains from the service to the cemetery, it’s not required. There are many inventive ways to do this that could better reflect your life and personality.
A horse-drawn carriage is still sometimes used in funeral services. If you’re a horse owner, you may wish to have your loyal steed be part of the day in this way. Other ideas are to pick a mode of transportation that reflects your career or hobbies. For example, a farmer might choose to be transported by a tractor. You might instead want to be towed behind a fleet of motorcycles, in a boat or by a classic car. If caring for the environment is important to you, then an electric or hybrid vehicle could be a nod towards that passion.
My kind of music
More and more people are having their favorite tunes played at their funeral rather than sticking with religious hymns or classical music. While some places of worship may frown on this, more often than not you can play whatever music you like during the service.
Many people now request upbeat songs to give their service a more celebratory feel. Though their loved ones are grieving, they want them to also remember the good times shared together and celebrate their life. Others may choose music that reflects their personality or passions, such as playing a favorite movie theme. If you’re worried that a song is not appropriate to play in church or graveside, music can also be played at the wake. This can be an incredible chance to play your favorite songs so family and friends can remember you.
Asking others to share
Funerals offer people a chance to think about the person they’ve lost and what they meant to them. It can also be an opportunity to share these memories and learn new things about them from others who have been lucky enough to know the deceased.
To help your family and friends, you could ask mourners at your service to share in many ways. Instead of a traditional sermon, people can share happy stories about your life and time together. You can request that mourners write a favorite memory in the guestbook or bring photos that can be collected into an album for your family. If you’re known for your talents in the kitchen, you may ask that your favorite recipes be shared with others. That way, your family and friends will have something they can look back on for years to come.
Doing good for others
Another way to personalize your funeral is to make it about giving back to the community or helping the wider world. A common way to do this is to ask mourners to donate money to a favorite charity in your name rather than send your family flowers.
You could also ask that people donate their time to a worthy cause, a way of creating lasting memories and further the issues that are important to you. This could be building homes with Habitat for Humanity to help end homelessness, planting trees to help alleviate climate change or mentoring a child in the community.
As you can see, there are many ways to create a funeral service that reflects your unique life and personality. You and your family may decide to do this in any number of ways, including the ones we’ve discussed here. If you’re concerned that your family may have trouble paying for a service that you’d approve of, there are ways to help. Funeral insurance could be an affordable option to help provide the money for your final service, so your family will have one less worry when the time comes.