Liquor? Holograms? 5 Funeral Trends To Watch Out For In 2016

funeral trends

2016 is here. And with a new year comes a new wealth of new possibilities, change, and insight for the funeral profession. Whether you’re ready for them or not, there are a lot of new trends popping up in our profession.

Check them out below and let us know which ones you think will prevail… or fail.

Trend #1: Liquor licenses transform funeral homes into event centers

What’s a celebration without good food and drinks? Kolssak Funeral Home’s families have taken this statement to another level, requesting that their local funeral home offer liquor and catering packages for their life celebrations. “It’s all about giving families more options, from being able to have hors d’oeuvres and refreshments during funeral and memorial services, to having a luncheon afterward,” said Jessica Koth of NFDA  in the Chicago Tribune.

“The nature of funerals and memorial services is changing … families are planning services that are very different than what has been done in the past,” Koth explained. With more and more funeral homes creating multi-functional event spaces in their funeral homes, this progression only seems natural, and in 2016 we predict that it will explode more than ever before.  If we compare funerals to weddings, it doesn’t seem so inappropriate. And, culturally, around the world, alcohol is a big part of celebrating someone’s life. We think this one will prevail, what do you think?

Trend #2: Holographic eulogies let your families speak at their own funeral

We’ve all seen it in the movies – that one last emotional “goodbye” that a person delivers to their loved ones as they prepare to leave this world. But in reality, this meaningful monologue just doesn’t work logistically. These days, finding the time to gather an entire family for a final goodbye is hard to do – people are more separated, busy, and more career-focused than ever before. But what if a person could pre-record a holographic eulogy to be played for their loved ones at their own memorial service? That’s what AIM Holographics aims (no pun intended) to help Baby Boomers do.

Sure, at first glance it might seem a little morbid, but it gives Baby Boomers a chance to take the stage one last time. Plus, it will open the floor to sharing stories and memories of the loved one. And isn’t that what a celebration of life is all about, anyways? Is the curiosity killing you? Watch a sample holographic eulogy from AIM here.

Trend #3: 3D Printing meets personalized urns

Sometimes the selection of urns for a loved one’s cremated remains can seem a bit grim. Thanks to a startup called Foreverence, instead of choosing, your families (or your funeral business) can now design personalized urns, and just press “print”. Foreverence uses 3D printing to take celebrating life to a whole new level. Imagine being able to have your ashes placed in a personalized rocket ship, the Eiffel Tower, or even a 3D model of your face.

funeral trends


The urns are designed uniquely for the loved one, so the family or the loved one can choose their own final resting masterpiece. While the price of their urns is a bit steep ($2,500), the idea is catchy and could spark some interest from all the tech junkies out there. Do you think this idea will prevail or fail?

Trend #4: Less products, more connection

There’s been an interesting business model trending in the business world AND the funeral industry in the last few years. And in 2016, we predict it will finally take center stage.

Basically, this business model is focused more on connecting with customers and building relationships, rather than selling products and building assets.

Think of Uber, Facebook, or AirBnB for example. They’ve all become the largest (and most successful) media, accommodation and rideshare companies in their industries, yet they don’t have or create any content, vehicles or real estate. Rather, they are focused more on creating value that will survive much longer than any product or content can offer. Less assets, more connection. Make that your mantra of 2016. This year we predict the most successful funeral businesses will partner with other local businesses to create a small marketplace for client families, or by letting go of their funeral home all together and fulfilling this next trend…

Trend #5: Bringing the funeral back home

We’ve been hearing about the slow (but definitely present) rise of home funerals for years now. Maybe you’ve turned a blind eye to them, or maybe you’ve somehow embraced them at your firm… or on your own. It doesn’t really matter how you slice it – home funerals are on the rise, and in 2016 we predict this trend to gain even more momentum than it already has.

Advocates of home funerals and green burials are popping up sporadically in the media, and we suspect Caitlin Doughty, a funeral director and founder of The Order Of the Good Death, was on to something in her recent spotlight in the New Yorker,  when she said, “Maybe we need to look and say, ‘Wow, let’s look at this beautiful, natural corpse.’”

While the idea of reinventing your funeral business might make your chest tight with anxiety, it’s worth thinking about the fact that one day your business may be mobile or multifunctional. And if you’re smart, both.

Which trends shall prevail?

We want to hear from you. As a funeral professional living and breathing your business 24/7, which ideas and inventions will stick? Which will fade away as many have throughout the decades?

Tell us in the comments below, and if you have your eye on another trend, product or invention out there, mention that, too!

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  1. Peter Billingham

    Hi Rochelle – fascinating post! While some of these things may seem strange now, in a very short time they will become normal. The worrying thing is that many traditional funeral firm are hiding their heads in the sand and pretending it will all go away. They will be out of business in the future. Thanks for the post.

  2. Mike Hepburn

    Rochelle, I wanted to add to your comment about 3D Urns and whether they will fail or be a new trend. Our company, Eturnal Memorials (Urn pricing from $495.00 to $1,695.00) has been experiencing a lot of attraction with our 3D Urns. We find that we can take any photo and create an exact replica of that item as long term keepsake for the family.

    While my comments are a little bias, I believe that you are going to see a growing trend with 3D Urns because of the level of personalization… For example, we are printing a Golf Bag for a family… But not just any golf bag, the exact golf bag the gentleman used. That brings a whole new level of personalization options to funeral homes when offering Cremation Urns to families.

  3. Dianne DeOliveira

    HI Rochelle! Interesting blog…I am doing a story about funeral trends for Townsquare Media News. We own several radio stations in New Jersey. Are you available for 5-10 minutes this morning for a taped, phone interview about some of the trends listed in your blog? My direct news line number is 848-221-8100. I am working on a deadline…so, if possible between 9 and 10 am would be ideal. I would have been in contact sooner, but I just came across your blog this morning. Thank you! Dianne

  4. Rilee Chastain

    Hi Dianne, thanks so much for the comment. We are sorry we did not see it in time for your deadline. If you still have questions, please feel free to reach out to our Content Marketing Manager directly – [email protected]. Thanks!! 🙂

  5. Lee

    Great read, would be brilliant if they were able to to a 3D head of your beloved animal.They also do cremation cufflinks and bracelets now that I’ve found on

  6. Mike Hummell

    Thanks, admin your site and blog is very impressive and good to see. And also thanks for sharing this informative related to Funeral Trends. Keep it up!!