This is Not Your Grandfather's Funeral

Funerals Evolving into True Celebrations of Life

The next time you attend a funeral, don’t be surprised if it more closely resembles the last wedding you went to than somber farewell you bid your grandfather 20 years ago.

In recent years, funeral services have evolved from a formal or structured service with religious music, scripture, prayers and little or no information regarding the life of the deceased to a true celebration of a life remembered.

The key to turning a funeral into a celebration of the life lived is through personalization. This encourages family, friends and visitors to share memories of the deceased and how he or she relates to the personalized elements of the service or the items on display.

Here’s just a small sampling of some recent funerals that were personalized to suit the life they celebrated:

At a funeral for a well-known concert pianist, the family opted to have a Steinway and Sons piano moved to the gallery of the funeral home. The florist created a huge spray of white flowers cascading from the strings of the piano onto a large carpeting of flowers surrounding the piano.

Another family brought in items related to the deceased’s work as a professional horseman for his visitation. Saddles, boots, numerous square bales of hay, partial fence structures and even a live horse in a make-shift temporary corral transformed much of the décor of the funeral home.

For the funeral of an avid hunter, the florist turned the funeral home chapel altar into a hunting blind, and the deceased’s hunting dogs were nearby in hunting position.

The funeral service for a cycling enthusiast displayed the deceased’s road bike and cycling medals next to the casket. At the cemetery, members from his cycling club escorted the hearse carrying his casket from the cemetery gates to the gravesite.

Other elements can personalize a funeral service in addition to creative décor. For example, music at a funeral service is not limited strictly to religious hymns. It can – and should – include the favorite music of the deceased.

Photographs, too, can easily personalize a service. Today, it is commonplace to feature not only photographs but also video tributes during the visitation. Dignity Memorial funeral homes include the production of an Everlasting Memorial® video tribute with many of their funeral and cremation plans.

Also, receptions at the funeral home, or the family’s home after the service, are more the case today than the exception. Often, these receptions are elaborate catered events with entertainment.

Funeral services are changing to meet the needs of a generation that has different ideas about life – and about death. This is not your grandfather’s funeral. You can expect more and demand more. Dignity Memorial® funeral, cremation and cemetery providers can meet those demands.

By focusing the funeral service on things the deceased enjoyed, as well as the experiences shared throughout his or her life, it encourages the sharing of stories and discussions of the deceased. In some instances, these discussions may allow the family to learn special things about their loved one that otherwise they may have never known.  

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