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A guide to alternative funeral ideas

Alternative and unique funeral ideas to make your loved one’s final goodbye more personal.

Home » Advice » Alternative Funeral Ideas
Funeral cortege

A funeral procession is also called a funeral cortege. It is a slow, solemn and respectful convoy of vehicles, which conveys the deceased and the mourners from the site of the funeral ceremony to the crematorium or graveside.

The Funeral Cortege

Dressing the deceased

When dressing the deceased any attire that reflects a personal passion, hobby, occasion or achievement is increasingly popular. This might include wedding dresses, football strips, military uniforms, or motorbike leathers. You are also more than welcome to bring in your loved one’s make-up, perfume, or aftershave.

Guide to Dressing the Deceased

Carrying the coffin

A pallbearer is traditionally one of the people who help to carry someone’s coffin from the hearse to the funeral venue and, if they are being buried, to their grave. People who are chosen to do this or who would like to, are usually very close family members and friends.

Guide to carrying the coffin

How to write a eulogy

For many people, close family, friends, and work colleagues, writing and delivering a eulogy is a deeply emotional experience, and though it can be a positive experience for some, it must be remembered that it can be too difficult for others.

Guide to delivering a eulogy

The funeral reception

Sometimes referred to as the wake, the funeral reception held after the funeral service can be a traditional or unique affair. As personalised funerals become more popular, people are choosing to use this time to celebrate the life of their loved one rather than mourn their passing.

Guide to organising a funeral reception

Newspaper notices

When arranging a funeral the newspaper notice or obituary is not only an important opportunity to publicly announce the death and funeral details, but it can also be used to detail where any donations or floral tributes and funeral flowers can be sent.

Guide to writing an obituary

After the funeral

After the funeral, you are not alone. Bennetts Funeral Directors will continue to support you, and all our bereaved families with practical information and a vast network of bereavement support services.

Guide to bereavement support

Bereavement support

Dealing with loss and bereavement can be a very difficult and confusing time for any individual or family and losing someone we love is probably one of the hardest experiences many of us will ever go through. Our local bereavement support groups, courses, and seminars will guide and support you through your healing process. You are not alone!

Bereavement Support Services

To arrange a unique funeral, it’s often the little things that can make a loved one’s final goodbye or celebration more personal.

Allow us to inspire you with some wonderful, unique, and alternative funeral ideas:

  • Invite guests to wear a bright colour or bring a single bright flower
  • Release doves and watch them carry your loved one’s spirit into the heavens above
  • Hold the service in your home or garden, by the sea, in a woodland
  • Arrange unique funeral transport; Bennetts Funeral Directors have a fine selection of alternative funeral hearses available
  • Place something personal on top of the coffin – a favourite hat, scarf, instrument, tool, book or photo
  • Friends and family could bring a photo or item that has a memory attached to display, share, talk about
  • Have a large photo of the deceased central to the event
  • Choose a picture coffin for your loved one, and allow their personality to shine through
  • Show a slide show or home movie of the person’s life during the ceremony or at any gathering afterward
  • Invite friends to join hands at some point of the funeral service to reflect together: it’s simple, supportive, and can be a powerful way of making a physical connection
  • A beautiful and personalised Order of Service creates a wonderful, everlasting keepsake for those attending the funeral
  • It can be cathartic to play a favourite song and sing along
  • Light candles to remember the deceased by
  • Arrange for family and friends to paint or decorate a cardboard or wooden coffin
  • Fingerprint jewellery, is a delicate and everlasting way to commemorate the deceased.
  • Get together to prepare the food: bake bread – perhaps in the shape of a heart or a plait – and break it together
  • Have the after-funeral reception in the village hall, community center, your home, the local pub
  • Organise a barbecue if the funeral is taking place in the summer months
  • Hire a horse-drawn carriage for the final journey
  • Have alternative funeral music such as a jazz band or samba band lead a procession up the street and a party in the local hall
  • Ask everyone to write a message and tie it to a tree, a pebble, or rock
  • Organise a Woodland Burial, Bennetts Funeral Directors can recommend beautiful, peaceful settings in Essex, and can arrange this for you.

Alternative funeral ideas can include reading poetry in a forest, tying messages of love on trees and anyone can do these things.  The important thing is that whatever you choose matters to you, feels right, and best celebrates a unique life and mourns its loss.

If you would like to arrange a unique, alternative funeral, speak to the staff at Bennetts, we have many years experience in planning unique funerals in the Essex area and will support you throughout.

Create your own unique funeral with our funeral directors free funeral planning wish list

The funeral planning wish list allows you to create a detailed plan of what you would like to happen before, during, and after your funeral. Take the stress of arranging a funeral away from your loved ones, after your death, and they will be able to carry out your wishes exactly to the letter.

It’s easy to do, you can download a Bennetts Funerals Funeral Planning Wish List, print it out, record your wishes, and then store it with your Will. Alternatively, you can come into our head office in Brentwood or go straight to the funeral planning wish list page on our website and follow the instructions. Remember this service is completely free and available only at Bennetts Funeral Directors.

Call us on 01277 210104 or 01277 627492, we are here to help.