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What is an Alternative Funeral?

When a loved one or family member passes away, it can be difficult to plan a traditional service in a funeral home. This is especially true if the deceased was not religious, did not pre-plan a funeral, or lived an unconventional life. 

Sometimes, the deceased may prepare instructions regarding end-of-life plans or celebrations that specify that they do not want a funeral service, but a different or non-traditional way of remembering their life instead. Read on to find out more about alternative funerals  and learn some ways you can celebrate someone who has recently passed without a traditional funeral.

Alternative or Non-Traditional Funerals

An alternative or non-traditional funeral is an act, service, or ceremony that remembers the deceased, but can be unconventional in nature. Sometimes, unlike a typical funeral or memorial service, alternative funerals do not have a religious aspect. Their structure can be more accommodating than traditional funeral services. They can also take place almost anywhere, including restaurants, beaches, homes, parks, or other locations the deceased loved to visit or spend time in during their life. 

Family members and loved ones can share memories and celebrate the life of the person who has passed away, similar to typical funeral services. However, the structure of a non-traditional funeral is often more accomodating and ideal for small, intimate groups who wish to commemorate the life of their loved one. 

Alternative Funeral Ideas

Plant a tree

Planting a tree in honor of a loved one is a touching way to remember them. A tree continues to grow and live on for many years, serving as a reminder to those who are able to watch it become larger. Planting a tree an especially meaningful for those who loved nature of enjoy being outdoors. 

Visit a favorite bar or restaurant

If your loved one had a specific bar or restaurant they enjoyed visiting, holding a meal or cocktail hour is a lovely way to remember them. These types of non-traditional memorial services are often open invitation. This means that anyone who would like to pay tribute can stop in and share memories and stories to reflect on the memory of their loved one.

Open house

For some, the best option for an alternative funeral service is to hold an open house at the family home. This creates an intimate environment for attendees. Gathering only with very close family and friends allows those in mourning to grieve openly in the privacy of a home. It also allows people to pay their respects in a location that is meaningful to both the deceased and their loved ones.

Final Thoughts

Funerals are not one size fits all; they can look very different depending on the person’s life and experiences. Although traditional or religious funerals are common to plan after a loved one passes away, not all funerals need to follow the same design. If you are in the midst of planning funeral options, an alternative service may be right for your loved one. Contact us today to speak with an experienced funeral director who can guide you through the planning process.