A guide to personalising a funeral
Some funerals are sullen in their reflective melancholy, while others are designed as celebrations of life. Some follow traditions and a religious direction; others are inoffensive and irreverent to both. Ultimately, no funeral is the same, just as no person is.
If there is one similarity, though, it’s that all funerals are organised in the darkest hours of those closest to the deceased. It’s never easy – that’s for sure – but we find strength in the memories and the love we have for the person we’re saying goodbye to.
That love drives us to organise a funeral that’s special and unique; a beautiful ceremony constructed with care, personalised through and through. Here we’ve put together a guide to show you the different ways you could personalise a funeral, to help you in this difficult time.
Whether the funeral takes place in a church, a cemetery, a crematorium or another venue, guests need places they can visit and reflect before and after the service. Add a unique element to the funeral by erecting a photo wall, containing as many images as possible of the deceased with family, friends and anyone else of note. This encourages guests to reminisce and think about the happy times they shared. You may also want to set up a display of crafts appropriate to a hobby or passion that the deceased had. You can then have a permanent memorial created which truly reflects their personality.
Many people insist during their lives that when they pass away they want their funerals to be uplifting affairs, and a common request is to forego the traditional black attire in favour or colourful clothing. If this is what your loved one would have wanted, then it’s a wonderful tribute to their personality and spirit.
Personalising a funeral is all about tailoring it towards the personality and style of the deceased. Therefore, if religious readings weren’t in their interests and you think another reading would be more appropriate, you might be able to arrange for this with your venue and the person officiating the service. It could be a poem, a passage from the deceased’s favourite book, or even the lyrics from a song.
The same goes for the music played at the funeral; if hymns would be inappropriate, you can bring along music that was loved by the deceased, and have particular songs playing as the coffin enters the service and when it leaves. Choice of music is one of the most commonly personalised elements of a funerals, so it should be no trouble to arrange this for you.
A hearse is the traditional method of transport at funerals, but some people were so individual and unique in their lives that going against tradition sometimes feels like the way to go. Hearses can be morbid and upsetting, so perhaps there’s a mode of transport more fitting? A 4×4 or a camper van for example? If it makes people smile and reminds them of the deceased, it could be a wonderful way to celebrate their life.
After the service, the wake gives you free reign to personalise with far less restrictions than the funeral service itself. It could be in your home, at your loved one’s local pub, or a function room at a hotel; wherever you are, as long as people are together sharing stories and helping each other get through these tough times, the wake will be an important part of the service and grieving process.
Surround the wake with photos, create a playlist of all of the deceased’s favourites tunes, maybe hire a much-loved local band – whatever you decide to do to personalise a funeral, we hope everything runs smoothly.