Seven funeral & celebration of life Ideas

- 02/11/21

Until recently, funerals have been all about tradition- a defined set of rites and rituals that must be carried out as we say goodbye to the recently deceased. Now, as our views towards death, and the mysteries of what happens thereafter, change, many of us are starting to reconsider the ways in which we say goodbye to our deceased. We no longer draw the curtains, stop the clocks and cover all the mirrors in the home.

But when you take away the old, what do you replace it with that’s new? Without tradition to guide us it’s normal to feel a bit lost. That’s where we can help. If you’re thinking of adding something different to a funeral, here are seven funeral or Celebration of Life ideas to get you started.

1. Pick meaningful flowers

Flowers say a lot, especially at funerals. In life, flowers are more than just pretty accessories, their presence alone has been shown to have multiple mental health benefits in humans. If someone had a liking for certain flowers in their lifetime, why not incorporate them into the funeral? Feel free to forego traditional wreaths of lilies, carnations and roses in favour of something a bit more personal to the deceased. And with all of the different meanings associated with different flowers, you can give the deceased a beautiful send-off using a personalised flower selection.

2. Skip the mourning clothes

If you knew that the deceased wasn’t the type to encourage people to give in to grief and mourning, consider an alternative dress code for their funeral. Today, only 13% of Brits specifically want their mourners to dress in black mourning attire [1]. You could take the funeral as a chance to say goodbye in style, with bright dress or even a dress theme you know the deceased would have loved to have taken part in. With a direct cremation, many people choose to have a celebration of life separate to the funeral at a later date, meaning you can really let your hair down and celebrate the way the deceased would have wanted – gladrags and all.

3. Incorporate a memory table

Whether you’re having a wake directly after the funeral or a delayed celebration of life following a direct cremation, consider setting up a memory table for guests. If you’ve never come across a memory table before, don’t worry – they’re super easy to set up and enjoy. Think of it as a scrapbook celebrating the life of the deceased. You can add whatever you want to the table; pictures, possessions, letters and more – anything that reminds you of the deceased and the life they led. If the deceased had an active social life, you can even invite other people to bring and add to the table, creating a communal focus point to remember the deceased.

4. Leave a message

Just because the funeral is over, that doesn’t mean the family’s grief has now passed. They’ll still When the funeral is over, the deceased’s loved ones are still left to work through their grief. In these times, the bereaved often turn to old memories for comfort. They look through photographs, watch home videos and read letters, remembering the life of their loved one and the memories they shared together. What can help to give even more comfort in these times is knowing just how much the deceased was loved, and will be missed, by others. Featuring a memory book at the funeral, and inviting attendees to write a message about the deceased, is a wonderful way to bring people together and leave a lasting memorial that the family can treasure for years to come.

5. Play games

Another way that you can come together to celebrate the life of the deceased is to play a round or two of their favourite game in their honour. Whether it’s a couple of old friends playing cards, a darts tournament at the wake or simply a classic board game, games are a great way to bring people together. Especially when it’s being played in memory of a loved one who can no longer participate.

6. Arrive in style

When it comes to funerals, only one type of transportation springs to mind when it comes to the deceased: a hearse. But who says that it has to be a hearse? If the deceased was particularly attached to a type of vehicle during their life, see if you’re able to have them transported to the funeral in one. There’ve been instances where keen bikers arrived by motorcycle or the local milkman arrived on the back of his beloved milk float. As long as the coffin can be safely and secured for the duration of the trip, the only thing holding you back when it comes to the funeral vehicles is your own imagination.

7. Go with a bang

And last but not least, why not make the funeral an event to remember? If you’re having a wake, see if the venue allows guests to host firework displays. Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, but you can bring a bit of fun and frivolity to their send-off with an exciting fireworks display. Get the deceased’s friends and family together for an evening of bright lights and sharing memories.

Choosing to say goodbye and celebrate the life of a loved one with personalised and unique funeral ideas is getting more popular. If you are far from having a traditional funeral, you can also check our list of alternative funeral ideas.


  1. Co-op Funeralcare (2021)

Distinct Cremations is a trading name of Distinct Cremations Limited I Registered in England, No. 13366310 and Distinct Funeral Plans Limited [Prepaid Funeral plan provider] I Registered in England, No. 13366327 | Registered Office Westerleigh Crematorium, Westerleigh Road, Bristol BS37 8QP | Part of the Westerleigh Group |