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Creative funeral ideas for a personalized service

Mourners watch a firework display as part of an alternative funeral

If you’re planning a funeral for your loved one, or thinking about how you want to be remembered when you die, you may want to plan a unique, personalized funeral.

These creative funeral ideas will let you create a truly memorable service that pays tribute to the personality and life of the person you love. Remember that you can always speak to your chosen funeral home about any ideas you have.

Choose an alternative coffin

A green coffin with sparkly butterfly design

Photo courtesy of Colourful Coffins


There are many alternatives to the conventional hardwood casket, and personalized picture coffins are growing in popularity in the U.S. They can be custom designed to feature almost any picture you want – movie fans could have one designed like a box of popcorn, golf enthusiasts might choose one resembling a pack of golf balls, or rock ‘n’ roll fans could have a casket adorned with guitars.

Some companies offering personalized caskets can even use your favorite family photos or designs of your choice. The options are endless and a bright, quirky coffin like this can be a wonderful way to remember someone special. Speak to your chosen funeral home to find out what unusual coffins and caskets they can provide.

Pick an unusual hearse

A black motorcycle hearse

One way people choose to make their loved one’s funeral unique is by making sure they get there in style with a very special hearse.

This could be chosen based on the person’s line of work. Farmers have been known to be transported by tractors, bus drivers in buses and even construction workers on dozers. Roll Royce hearses, pink Cadillac hearses, motorcycles and even tandem bicycle hearses are among the alternative funeral transport options available to convey a loved one to their final resting place in their own unique style.

Play music

A record player

More and more Americans choose to have their favorite music played at their funerals and the funerals of their loved ones, which can tell a story of their life. While some churches may have restrictions on the type of music that can be played, most of the time you can have whatever kind of music you choose, from country music to hip hop.

Some people also play music at the wake or funeral reception. This can be a great opportunity to play your loved one’s favorite hits and remember what made them special.

Share memories

Collage of family photos

Funerals are a time to reflect on the person you have lost and everything they brought to your life. But it can also be a time to share these memories and learn new things about them from other people whose lives they touched.

You can ask mourners to write their favorite memories in a guestbook, or even share photographs. This way you’ll have a permanent token of remembrance that you can look back on for years to come.

Choose a theme

Sci-fi fans dressed as Darth Vader and stormtroopers for a funeral

There was a time when wearing anything other than black to a funeral would have been seen as disrespectful. Nowadays, however, some Americans are choosing to really go out in style with themed funerals.

Some dedicated sci-fi fans have requested Star Wars themed funerals, while others ask mourners to wear superhero costumes. If that’s a bit too wacky for you, themes can be subtler, such as your loved one’s favorite color, or reflecting one of their hobbies. This could include other personal touches, such as releasing doves or butterflies as a special tribute.

Hand out gifts

Pile of wrapped gifts

Mourners may attend your loved one’s funeral to give thanks for everything they gave to them in life, whether it’s their friendship, love, or a helping hand. One last gift could be the perfect way to say goodbye.

Some people give out seed packets so that mourners can grow flowers in loving memory – forget-me-nots are a popular choice. If your loved one was an avid reader, you might consider handing out the books they read and loved, with a special memorial sticker in the inside front cover to remember them. Another option is repurposing funeral flowers after the service so that each mourner can take home a small posy.

Scatter the ashes in style

Mourners watching a fireworks display

If you have chosen cremation for your loved one, there are many things you can do with the ashes afterwards. While some people choose to keep them in an urn at home or in a columbarium, you may want to scatter them.

There are lots of unusual, unique ways to make scattering the ashes a special occasion. Expert pyrotechnicians can incorporate them into fireworks for an incredible display. You could place them inside biodegradable balloons and have a balloon release. You can have them scattered by airplane, or cast them into the ocean.

Read more about arranging a funeral or compare funeral homes to find a local funeral director who can help you arrange the ideal service for your loved one.