Celebration of life trends

How to Tastefully Infuse Trends into a Funeral Service

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Shannon Burberry

Shannon Burberry


Losing a loved one is difficult. But for those tasked with planning an end of life service, the experience can be overwhelming. Deciding on music, flowers, catering, who might wish to provide a eulogy, the options are abundant.

As society evolves, so too do the ways in which we choose to express our grief and plan events to honour deceased loved ones (or yourself, for anyone pre-planning).

Over the course of my career as a funeral director, I have witnessed the changing landscape of funeral services, including new trends. That said, not all trends are approved by everyone and there is a delicate balance between honouring the deceased by infusing trends and being respectful to their loved ones.

Here are a few of the most tasteful trends I’ve seen, along with tips on how you can infused them into your own life celebrations.

Themed Funerals

There are a lot of characteristics that make someone unique. Some of them may be their love of hockey, their collection of action figures, or even a favourite pastime activity.

When a birthday party is planned, it’s common to infuse some of these unique characteristics into the event. So when honouring a loved one who has passed, why not also include some of those elements that helped shape the person they were?

One of my colleagues was helping a family say goodbye to a loved one that enjoyed poker nights with the guys. They knew that in his final send-off, incorporating this card game would be a nice sentiment for him and his closest buddies. So, we made it happen in the funeral home. With beverages, snacks, tables, and music - this gentleman was given a send-off that honoured a passion and provided closure to family and friends who wanted a last game.

Colour Themed

Though in Western culture black is recognized as the colour of mourning, it’s not the same for every culture. It also isn’t necessarily reflective of the personality of the person who has passed.

If you or a loved one have a favourite colour scheme or design - pink polka dots, red plaid, or even denim (who doesn’t love the Canadian Tuxedo!) - consider incorporating these into the dress code of attendees.

Offer a Keepsake

Over the last couple years, I have seen an increase the number of requests for unique keepsakes to offer to guests. From embossed golf balls, wood carved butterflies and even a favourite type of wine/beer there has been a slight shift away from the standard program or prayer card.

There are also options to create a DNA memorial which is a permanent record of your genetics for both ancestry or predisposition to illness/disease. Keepsakes such as fingerprint jewelry, a lock of hair or roses from the casket spray. If you choose to be cremated, there are a variety of keepsakes such as jewelry or glass work pendants that can be created for those who wish to keep their loved one close.

Whether you are pre-planning your own end of life celebration or making arrangements for a loved one, remember there is no right or wrong way. Do what feels best for you and the family of the deceased. If you are interested in incorporating a special theme, trend or memento, speak to your funeral director as they can help guide you in the right direction. 

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