Whether you’re planning a funeral for your loved one, or thinking about how you want to be remembered when you die, you may be considering a personalised funeral.
Australia has seen a rise of ‘alternative’ or personalised funerals in recent years. These non-traditional funeral services allow the bereaved to choose more unusual elements for their loved one’s funeral, from motorcycle hearses to colourful dress codes.
These creative funeral ideas may inspire you to create a truly memorable service that pays tribute to the personality and life of the person you love. Remember that your chosen funeral director can help you make these ideas a reality, or talk to you about the options that are available.
Choose an alternative coffin
There are many alternatives to the conventional hardwood casket. Personalised or custom coffins are growing in popularity in Australia. They can be custom designed to feature almost any picture you want – movie fans could have one designed like a box of popcorn, golf enthusiasts might choose one resembling a pack of golf balls, or rock ‘n’ roll fans could have a casket adorned with guitars.
Some companies offering personalised caskets can even use your favourite family photos or designs of your choice. The options are endless and a bright, quirky coffin can be a wonderful way to remember someone special. Speak to your chosen funeral home to find out what unusual coffins they can provide.
Pick an unusual hearse
One way people choose to make their loved one’s funeral unique is by making sure they get there in style with a very special hearse.
This could be chosen based on the person’s line of work. Farmers have been known to be transported by tractors, bus drivers in buses and even construction workers on excavators. Golden hearses, hot rods and Harleys are among the alternative funeral transport options available to convey a loved one to their final resting place in their own unique style.
More and more Australians are choosing to have their favourite music played at their funerals and the funerals of their loved ones. While some churches may have restrictions on the type of music that can be played, most of the time you can have whatever kind of music you choose.
Some people also play music at the wake or funeral reception. This can be a great opportunity to play your loved one’s favourite hits and remember what made them special.
Funerals are a time to reflect on the person you have lost and everything they brought to your life. But it can also be a time to share these memories and learn new things about them from other people whose lives they touched.
You can ask mourners to write their favourite memories in a guestbook, or even share photographs. This way you’ll have a permanent token of remembrance that you can look back on for years to come.
Choose a theme
There was a time when wearing anything other than black to a funeral would have been disrespectful. Nowadays, however, some people are choosing to really go out in style with themed funerals.
Some dedicated sci-fi fans have requested Star Wars themed funerals, while others ask mourners to wear superhero costumes. If that’s a bit too wacky for you, themes can be subtler, such as your loved one’s favourite colour, or reflecting one of their hobbies. This could include other personal touches, such as releasing doves or butterflies as a special tribute.
Hand out gifts
Mourners may attend your loved one’s funeral to give thanks for everything they gave to them in life, whether it’s their friendship, love, or a helping hand. One last gift could be the perfect way to say goodbye.
Some people give out seed packets so that mourners can grow flowers in loving memory – forget-me-nots are a popular choice. If your loved one was an avid reader, you might consider handing out the books they read and loved, with a special memorial sticker in the inside front cover to remember them. Another option is repurposing funeral flowers after the service so that each mourner can take home a small posy.
Scatter the ashes in style
If you have chosen cremation for your loved one, there are many things you can do with the ashes afterwards. While some people choose to keep them in an urn at home or in a columbarium, you may want to scatter them.
There are lots of unusual, unique ways to make scattering the ashes a special occasion. Expert pyrotechnicians can incorporate them into fireworks for an incredible display. You could place them inside biodegradable balloons and have a balloon release. You can have them scattered by plane, or cast them into the ocean.