Alternative funerals are becoming increasingly popular
When it comes to alternative funerals the baby boomers have done it again. The generation known for its defiance and unconventional fashion statements are saying goodbye to traditional funeral arrangements and opting for more imaginative alternatives or humanist or non-religious funerals instead.
Alternative funerals often celebrate life
Where once funeral guests were only found wearing black and looking sombre, these days they may well be wearing colour, releasing balloons, toe-tapping to a live band or marveling at a fabulous firework display in celebration of a life well lived.
Add funeral notices being tweeted, online memorials and live funeral broadcasts and you can safely say that funeral arrangements have changed.
Celebrity farewells have led the way in creating headline-hitting alternative funerals reflecting the characters they were. Malcolm Mclaren, Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers have all proved to be as big personalities in death as they were in life.
I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive
Knowing the person’s funeral wishes is key to making fitting funeral arrangements. Joan Rivers talked about dying and what she wanted while very much alive. And what was her last request? “…a big showbiz affair with lights, camera, action”.
True to her flamboyant personality her funeral had to be: “Hollywood all the way” and as alternative funerals go Joan’s funeral was a corker. A full-blown A-list affair with the paps’ bulbs popping, readings by famous pals and Hugh Jackman belting out one of her favourite songs.
Too fast to live, too young to die
For the artist, designer and manager of the Sex Pistols’ Malcolm McLaren’s funeral arrangements they used the same shock tactics he’d deployed in his hey day, flying the flag for radically different alternative funerals everywhere.
He was carried in a black coffin spray painted with the slogan “Too fast to live, too young to die” and a 1968 bus emblazoned with slogans followed the funeral procession blaring out punk anthems so loudly the windows of the neighbouring cars shook to the beat.
An eco funeral for an eco warrior
Anita Roddick, founder of the BodyShop and dubbed the 'Queen of Green', remained true to her environmental beliefs until the end. Her coffin was made from biodegradable shrubs and carried to her green funeral in a vintage VW camper van. Eco funerals have been growing in popularity ever since.
Transport to make a statement
It’s becoming more common for people to want to make a statement at their funeral with the transport they’re carried in.
In 2011, haulage supremo Eddie Stobart’s funeral had a convoy of trucks following the funeral procession. Now we see alternative funerals with builders being carried on trucks, farmers on tractors and even the odd milk float doing its final round.
Say goodbye with social media
Today, technology is also forging new trends in funeral arrangements. Trends the youth of the 1960s couldn’t have even dreamed of.
Funeral notices are tweeted, some funeral directors offer memorial videos, can host live broadcasts for relatives overseas and create DVDs for the family to take away and keep.
Changing trends. Changing prices
But just as funeral arrangements have changed so has the cost of a funeral. Our latest Cost of Dying report shows the average cost of a funeral has increased for the 15th year in a row, with the average funeral now costing £4,271.
Be prepared — plan ahead
If you want a funeral with a paparazzi‑worthy party or firework finale, it can pay to plan ahead and document your funeral wishes. After all, without discussing our funeral arrangements and considering the cost of it all, who knows what send off we might get.
All figures — SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2018.