Unique tribute of a coffin being carried by mourners wearing colourful clothing and rainbow confetti being thrown.

Alternative funeral ideas for a personal celebration

New research shows more than a third of Brits feel funerals are too sombre but personalising a funeral can help turn it into a real celebration.

‘It’s increasingly clear that the traditional funeral does not appeal to the majority of us,’ says Sam Tyrer, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare. ‘Coupled with a rise in demand for more uplifting celebrations, we’re also seeing greater personalisation of funerals than ever before.’

So, how do you personalise a funeral? You can have whatever you want – your wishes, your way. Discover some alternative funeral ideas below and help create a truly personal send-off.

Instead of a church…

… go for the great outdoors. Our latest report found nearly 70% of Brits say it’s not important for their funeral to be in a religious setting, but not many of us know you can choose a different location for a final farewell.

You can hold a funeral in many non-religious locations, such as a favourite beauty spot in the countryside, at the zoo, or even a McDonald’s Drive Thru! Ask our advice when making funeral arrangements, as there may be a cost to hire some alternative venues.

Instead of dressing in black...

… make it fancy dress! Our report discovered only 13% of us want a dark dress code at our funeral, while 22% want friends and family to wear bright colours. Fancy dress is also becoming more popular; it’s not unusual to see superheroes, video game figures or comic book characters at a funeral today.

If you do want a different dress code at your funeral, discuss your wishes with friends and family so they know exactly what you want for your send-off. Even if that’s the entire DC Universe…

Instead of traditional flower displays…

… try these unique ideas for funeral flowers. While conventional ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ arrangements can be comforting, why not express their personality with a display that commemorates their favourite hobby – like a dartboard or a guitar – a family pet, or even an arrangement in their team’s colours?

Your choice of flowers could also have a hidden meaning, such as red roses for grief and sorrow, or chrysanthemums for friendship and loyalty. Talk to your florist or funeral home about creating a bespoke funeral flower display.

Instead of a hearse…

… choose a motorbike with sidecar, a campervan, or how about a sailing boat for a burial at sea? The transport for your final journey can also be personalised, as perfectly demonstrated by the Duke of Edinburgh who chose a modified Land Rover for his funeral.

Even the route to the funeral can be tailored to reflect a life – perhaps there’s a special place you want to pass by, like a football ground or a viewpoint where a loved one proposed. Talk to your funeral director so they can make sure nothing is overlooked on the day.

Instead of a wooden coffin…

… create something that’s totally you. These days, you can pick a chalkboard coffin, so family and friends can write their own goodbyes, add pictures or logos that have a significant meaning (we’ve dealt with requests for Disney princesses and the Superman emblem) or create a truly personalised coffin.

We’ll work with you to create a coffin that reflects a career or lifelong hobbies; in the past, we’ve helped arrange unique caskets to look like boats, ballet shoes and even the Tardis. Whatever you want, we can help make it happen.

Instead of religious readings…

… pick a poem or passages from a favourite book. The funeral service itself can also be an individual celebration – rather than hymns or Bible tales, choose poems or ask guests to recite some favourite song lyrics. There are no rules when it comes to arranging a personalised funeral; everything is bespoke, from the setting to the songs.

• If you’d like a truly personal send-off, talk to us about arranging a tailored funeral.