Trend towards bespoke funerals continues to grow

Data from a recent survey shows the rising popularity of personalised funeral ceremonies without the traditional formalities.

A recent study by Co-Op Funeralcare reveals that only one in ten people want a traditional funeral whilst 41% want their farewell to be a celebratory affair rather than a solemn occasion.

The survey, which was based on feedback from funeral directors who have conducted more than 500,000 ceremonies in the past five years together with the views of 4,000 Britons, emphasised the growing trend towards bespoke ceremonies which ditch the formal trappings.

This shift towards personalisation has seen an increase in people opting for more unusual send-offs, incorporating alternative locations away from churches such as the 18th hole of a golf club, on a bus, at a zoo and even a McDonalds drivethrough.

More than half of the undertakers participating in the survey had received requests for pets to be present at the funeral, with some even leading the hearse. Three quarters had arranged unusual floral tributes including a packet of Werther’s Originals and a three-dimensional lion’s head, whilst coffins have been adorned with football team badges and rainbow colours. 

The study found the use of formal pallbearers to carry coffins had declined in the past five years. Funeral dress codes are also changing with some people opting for casual wear, bright colours and even fancy dress. 

The rise in alternative funerals reflects a steady cultural shift in the way we think about death. More people are actively putting thought into what kind of farewell they want, talking openly with family and friends about what was previously considered to be a taboo subject. This is something that is welcomed by Dying Matters, the coalition set up by the National Council for Palliative Care to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life. In a study conducted by Dying Matters 71% of participants agreed that our end of life wishes would be met if we were more open and comfortable with discussing dying. 

At WR Bettelley we passionately believe that funerals should be tailored to you and your family. Whether planning a funeral for a relative or friend whose death is imminent, or your own farewell, it is important to think about what kind of ceremony will best reflect you or your loved one. Whether you want a more traditional format, or you would like to break with convention and do something different, we’re here to help create a funeral that commemorates life in a unique way.   

For more information please call us on 01782 313542 or email

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