5 Types of Inspiring Funerals That Are Making A Wave Of Change

Funeral service is changing, that’s for darn sure.

There is a lot of talk about this on the interwebs, but a lot of that talk says that our profession is changing because our customer is changing. This is true. But what if we showed the world that the funeral profession is changing because we WANT to change, to better serve the world?

How do we make the splash that we need to inspire people to start seeing funerals, funeral directors, and funeral homes differently?

That’s the question of the hour, my friends. And my answer, for now, is to make our splash through our actions. Through our level of service, the one thing we know (and do) best.

Here are five types of inspiring funeral services we believe that are going to change the way the world thinks about funeral service… and how you can start offering these services at your funeral home today.

#1: A funeral service that invites healthy grieving

It’s true that less and less people are choosing religious funerals. But this particular widow took that idea to a whole new level. She created a sign for all attendees to read as they entered the service which asked them to refrain from empty statements like “They’re in a better place” or “Things happen for a reason”.

It not only shocked attendees, but it inspired them to spread the word about using empty language and instead choosing to authentically console the grieving. In my opinion, this approach encourages a healthier grieving process that places emphasis on authenticity and stories – two things which every funeral service could do more with.

Image via Patheos

How can you offer this? Use your Life Tributes (or other personalization software) to make a keepsake similar to this for your family. Adding a little humor and life into a loved one’s celebration can certainly make grieving a more integrated process.

Read more: Five Great Pieces of Advice Funeral Directors Can Give AFTER The Funeral


#2: A funeral service that puts the family in the driver’s seat

Schlitzer Allen Pugh Funeral Home uses their tribute video software as an opportunity to give family and friends a bigger role in the planning of a loved one’s funeral. From their experience, this makes the service feel more meaningful to the family. “Usually, we’ll get photos and we can scan them. Or, we can send you a link that you can upload them. So, if you have family all over the country, with the upload link, everybody can participate. It’s really nice that with the technology, everybody can participate, even if they’re not right here,” one funeral director from Schlitzer said.

With so many families who question the value of funeral homes and their services, this approach really puts those questions to rest. In this way, funeral directors are creating a really tangible space for families to truly come together and remember their loved one. Plus, as a funeral director, this touch is a really easy and low cost add-on for families, yet huge in perceived value.

How you can offer this: Create a Google Photos Collaborative Album (see how to do this here) for each of your families so that they can invite their friends and family around the world to co-create their tribute video.

Read more:  5 Memorial Video Hacks That Will Take Your Videos From Simple to STUNNING


#3: A funeral service inspired by a community

Louise Winter, a renowned host of Death Cafes in Europe, recently had an experience where a funeral director touched her shoulder and said “No one wants to talk about death sweetheart”. The next day, she explained, “nearly 100 people came to a Death Cafe I was hosting in Shoreditch.  Every nook and cranny of the cafe was filled with people who were dying to talk about death”.

These Death Cafes have been around for quite a while, and are often filled to the brim with people who want to eat cake, drink tea and talk about everything under the sun pertaining to death.

When Louise’s friend, Jon Underwood passed away unexpectedly, his funeral service was incredibly inspired by all the beautiful ideas shared in his Death Cafes. He even had a “cake therapy” session at his funeral. His funeral, which was super uncanny and community-oriented, is the perfect testament to how inspiring funerals can be.

Jon Underwood inspired so many people with his unique Buddhist funeral service which included uncanny elements such as cake therapy and a rainbow casket.

How to do this: We dare you to start hosting these Death Cafes in your community! They’ll give you an opportunity to use your wisdom and skill set in a community-oriented way. Plus, if your community gets to know you through cake and tea, instead of over a desk at your funeral home, you’ll build a much more meaningful relationship with them, and become the go-to in your community.

Read more: Dr. Jason Troyer Shares Tips For Engaging Families & Community Partners


#4: A funeral service planned by the loved one

One company based in London, Poetic Endings, provides their potential client families with pages and pages of inspiration for their inevitable goodbye. They offer options that range from silent funerals to funeral festivals, and everything in between. Their website has inspired many people to take it upon themselves to make their funeral plans far ahead of time, including this journalist, Susanne, aged only 33, who decided she wants “pizzaz” at her funeral:

“Beautifully scented candles will flicker as I make my grand entrance into the stylish venue. Friends and family, dressed in their best attire, will make heart-warming and hilarious of speeches.

Later, with the Champagne flowing and the DJ playing funky soul, everyone will get trashed and dance until the early hours. You see, I want my big day to play out in a certain way – even if I am lying in my coffin.”

Although Poetic Endings website just focuses on goodbyes, many of the funeral celebrant websites we’ve seen perform all kinds of ceremonies, including naming and wedding ceremonies. Although my research was solely for funerals, I couldn’t help but look at the wedding and naming ceremonies, and can imagine how many other potential client families do the same when making their funeral plans – either for themselves, or a loved one.

How to do this: Talk to your funeral staff and come up with a plan on how to make pre-planning less gloomy, and inspiring. Create a page on your funeral home website that makes making funeral service decisions inspiring and empowering.

Read more: A Cheat Sheet For Exploding Your Pre-Planning Leads


#5: A funeral service and a wedding

Many funeral home are transforming their beautiful facilities as a multi-use space for weddings and other ceremonies. One particular service at Larkin Mortuary touched our hearts. A woman requested to get married at Larkin because her grandfather was buried on the grounds, and she wanted to feel close to him while she celebrated the happiest day of her life.

Thankfully, Larkin has greenhouses and gardens that offer a stunning location for any kind of ceremony, which made the request easy for them to make happen for this particular client family.

Hear the story and check out Larkin’s beautiful multi-functioning facilities on Funeral Cribs.

How to do this: Creating a multi-functioning facility at your funeral home makes some major room for magic. Take a page out of these funeral homes who are doing it well. It doesn’t have to be a grand, million-dollar renovation; you can start however small you’d like. Not only does this make your funeral home a hot spot in your community, but it also offers a way for you to build incredibly close and long-term relationships with families. That way, they know exactly where to go when they need to have any kind of celebration of life.

Read more: 11 Wedding Personalization Ideas To Steal For Funerals

You already have the tools you need to start creating waves of change

These stories are inspiring, but they’re not impossible to re-create at your funeral home. You can start making these changes today. Ever heard the quote “Start where you are”? You can start implementing this change by simply using your Life Tributes software in new and unique ways.

Not using Life Tributes? Try it free by clicking here!


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  1. 5 Types of Inspiring Funerals That Are Making A Wave Of Change – American Funeral Association

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  2. 5 Types of Inspiring Funerals That Are Making A Wave Of Change – Miles Christopher Update

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  3. marcella cox

    we have a funeralOne website but I’m very interested in “Creating a page on our funeral home website that makes making funeral service decisions inspiring and empowering”. Our family business is 113 years old and we are slow to break from tradition. but I am convinced younger people want and need something exciting in a funeral home.

  4. Ian

    This is something different especially the number 5, just a bit weird but interesting…