08 January 2020

Looking for a cheap funeral? Here’s how to make it a great send-off

10 min read

 

Share

Today, more and more people are taking an active role in planning their own funeral. If you want your final farewell to be a true celebration of your life and a reflection of your personality, here are some special tips and small touches to get you started.

The changing face of funerals

Until recently, funerals in the UK followed a fairly consistent formula: a traditional 40-minute ceremony followed by a cremation or burial. But a growing number of people are choosing to take control of their own send-off.

Small touches for a great goodbye

Taking the time to plan and personalise your funeral can make it a positive and enriching experience for your loved ones. Besides reducing the financial burden, organising and planning your funeral gives you the chance to really think about personalising the event, and make it special, unique and poignant. The growing trend to blend traditional customs with new and celebratory elements can help bring about a more meaningful goodbye – one that the ones you leave behind will certainly cherish.

With that in mind, here are a few inexpensive ideas to make even the simplest service special.

Write your own eulogy

Writing your own eulogy – your farewell - is an increasingly popular break with tradition. It gives you the chance to highlight the most important things in your life, in whichever creative format you choose. You could write a poem about a cause you are passionate about or a heartfelt letter to your loved ones, filling it with wise words and inside jokes.

Get colourful

The age-old ritual of wearing black to a funeral can be traced back to Elizabethan times. The habit reached a peak during the Victorian era, when it became customary for mourners to wear black for a number of years. These days, it’s common to ask funeral-goers to ditch dark clothing in favour of bright ones. You can even ask that they wear your favourite colour.

Forget the flowers

Funeral flowers were created, alongside candles, to mask unpleasant smells which are now avoided thanks to advanced mortuary care. While the tradition of buying funeral flowers is still deeply ingrained, you may wish to ask mourners to skip the white lilies (a symbol of purity and sympathy) and donate the money to a charity of your choice instead.

Create a digital memorial

After someone dies, it’s tradition that their family organises an obituary to be published in the local paper, notifying local residents of the death. A more modern – albeit less formal – alternative is to do so on social media. If you have a Facebook page, for example, the network will allow a named person of your choice to take control of your profile after you die, so it can be turned into a public memorial space, where your family and friends can share stories about your time together.

Personalise your coffin

Plenty of people are choosing to swap costly wooden coffins with eco-friendly cardboard options. This type of coffin also brings the benefit of being completely customisable. The companies that provide them often offer personalisation services. You can add photos, illustrations or simple messages such as your name and the dates of birth and death added into the design.

A green goodbye

If you are keen on the idea of an eco-friendly funeral, it pays to keep it green. You could choose to be buried in a biodegradable coffin in a meadow or woodland, or swap your gravestone in favour of a newly planted tree. The world of natural burials is quite varied, so take a look at the Association of Natural Burial Grounds for more information.