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Alternative Funeral Ideas

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Published 19/07/2021
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Alternative funerals are becoming more popular in the UK over the years. As fewer people are having traditional religious funerals, more people are looking into a unique way of saying goodbye to their loved ones. In this blog, we will have some inspiration and ideas if you’re thinking about having an alternative funeral.

What is an alternative funeral?

It is a funeral that doesn’t follow the traditions of a ‘normal’ funeral. These can include simple changes such as:
  • A direct cremation
  • A ceremony without a minister
  • Alternative burial such as a woodland or sea burial

Types of alternative funerals

There are many different types of alternative funerals you can have. Here we’ll go through them to give you a few ideas.

Non-religious funeral
This type of funeral celebrates the life of the deceased but doesn’t have any of the religious traditions, beliefs or rituals. They can also be called humanist or atheist funerals. Instead of hymns or readings from the Bible they can be readings from loved ones and music. Rather than focusing on the afterlife, these funerals tend to talk about the deceased’s life and memories shared. The funeral can also be held at any venue that is happy to accommodate them, so some people like to relate it to the deceased.

DIY funeral
A DIY funeral is in the name – do it yourself funeral without having a funeral director. They can be a few different reasons families tend to not have a funeral director:
  • Cost – doing it yourself tends to be cheaper, especially if the person who passed doesn’t have a funeral plan.
  • Less formal – Over time funerals have become less of a sad/formal event and more of a celebration of the deceased’s life. A conventional funeral tends to happen more with funeral directors.
  • Involvement – Some people believe doing it themselves is doing one last thing for their loved one which can provide them with a sense of closure.
Before you decide, think it through and get advice. Planning a funeral is time-consuming and stressful which you may find difficult whilst grieving.

Alternative burials

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Woodland, Green, Eco Burials
These types of burials have become a popular eco-friendly option. Environmentally conscious people choose to be buried either in a biodegradable coffin, biodegradable urn, tree pod, or burial shroud. This way it avoids polluting Earth with man-made chemicals and these types of funerals tend to be cheaper as well. There are many woodland burial sites across the country. These types of burials tend to have no headstone so it’s hard to know specifically where the deceased is buried, instead the whole woodland itself is considered a memorial place.

Burial at sea
These burials are rare today but some families still do it if the deceased was deeply connected to the sea. You do need to apply for a licence and meet official requirements. They are also only a few places in the UK where you can do this:
  • Off The Needles, Isle of Wight
  • Off Tynemouth, North Tyneside
  • Between Hastings and Newhaven
Families tend to have the deceased cremated and then scatter the ashes at the sea to avoid these legal requirements.

As people move away from the traditions that follow funerals with more personal ways to celebrate their loved ones’ lives, alternative funerals are becoming less alternative. We hope this gives you some clarity on different types of funerals and helps you make your decision on what service you’d like to have.

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