Funeral procession with a coffin with helmet and floral arrangement on a hearse pulled by bicycles

How to give a funeral a truly personal touch

Just as couples are now putting their own spin on wedding ceremonies, funerals are also getting the bespoke treatment.

In fact, a report by Co-op found just 10% of us want a traditional religious funeral, while over a third (36%) said they want friends and family to have a get-together to celebrate their life instead of a full funeral service.

Samantha Tyrer, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare, says, ‘Our funerals represent the unique life an individual has lived. Today, we’re seeing a lot more requests for wonderfully personalised ceremonies, whether that’s on the 18th hole of a golf course or having a pet dog there on the day.’

Apart from the ceremony, what other unique funeral ideas can we organise? Find out what’s involved in our tailored funeral below.

Meaningful flower arrangements

Flowers are a popular part of many funerals, but you can choose something more personal than a wreath or spray. Co-op florist Jane Collingbourne says, ‘We’ve had all sorts of requests over the years: 3D arrangements, a smiley face emoji – and we’ve even created a floral tribute around a vinyl record.’

Other quirky creations include Del Boy’s van from Only Fools and Horses, a family’s beloved lorry and a packet of Werther’s Original! Our report also revealed that sports teams, hobbies and pets are popular choices for bespoke floral arrangements.

Transport of all types

Nearly 50% of our funeral directors have been asked to source a particular vehicle for a funeral. Requests have included a canal boat, a milk float, a motorcycle, and a tractor – with trailer. If your loved one was passionate about an activity, such as cycling, this can also be incorporated into their funeral procession.

If you’d prefer something more traditional, but still with a bespoke touch, arrange a personalised ‘wrap’ – a covering that goes around the hearse. Choose from a set design or you could include a photo of your loved one. We also have a rainbow-coloured hearse available, or one adorned with poppies.

Funeral Director, Manny Badyal on ways to personalise a funeral

"Funerals don’t necessarily have to be traditional or very sombre affairs and we’re definitely seeing families wanting to celebrate the life of their loved one.

"They’re frequently a more colourful and brighter experience where family and friends reminisce from one special memory to another in a very visual way. It’s often about trying to lift spirits on an otherwise sad day by remembering some of the amazing things they’ve achieved in their life.

"It’s a theme or a favourite passion of their loved one. It can be anything from having a colour theme across the proceedings, or applying a design to their coffin or funeral cortege – such as motorbikes, sports cars or a Marvel universe theme. It could even be something really simple like having the coffin as a chalkboard so family and friends can scribe their messages.

"Funerals can be whatever you want them to be."

Manny Badyal, Funeral Director at Co-op Funeralcare

Create a unique coffin

There’s a lot more choice for coffins than the type of wood – or wool or wicker – to consider for your loved one. Were they a singer or a big music fan? A fitting personal tribute could be a coffin decorated with musical notes. A glitter lover? We’ve got that covered, too.

You can also ask for memorable items to be placed beside them. ‘I once conducted a funeral for a very keen fisherman,’ says Kenny Mclachlan, Co-op funeral director. ‘The gentleman was dressed in full fishing gear, including his deerstalker hat and waders, and we placed his fishing rod inside his wicker coffin.’

Music that matters

You can have any music you like, from traditional hymns to chart hits, TV themes or even live music. Popular songs, like Frank Sinatra’s My Way, are firm funeral favourites, as are light-hearted tunes such as Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. What music would you choose?

Find out how we can arrange a tailored funeral service, including unusual locations, colour themes or unique touches like fancy dress.

Looking to plan for the future?

With a pre-paid funeral plan, not only can you pay for your funeral in advance but you can also make the plan as unique as you.

Personalise each and every step, either by recording your special wishes when you buy one of our fixed plans or tailor a plan to create something truly unique.

If you have something special in mind speak to a member of the team either via live chat or if you'd prefer, give your local Co-op funeral director a call.

Our pre-paid funeral plans

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