Well the short answer is, there are very few. Aside from the legalities and official paperwork, a funeral can be anything and everything you want it to be. Personalizing your loved one’s funeral will ensure a meaningful and memorable experience that honours the life they lived. The size of the venue and number of people attending don’t need to influence how personal you make the service. Anything from a huge venue like Eden Park to something more intimate in your own home can be tailored to represent your loved ones life.
What sorts of things can I personalise?
What sorts of things can’t you personalise is the real question! If you have it at a funeral, chances are there’s a way to personalise it. Let’s look at a few of the more common things in detail.
- The Casket – There are a huge range of caskets available now. From the traditional Mahogany with finely detailed handles to an all natural wool or flax version, there is certainly something for everyone. You can opt to have a simple casket painted in a certain colour or hand painted with a design or picture of your choice. Increasingly popular is a plain casket that all your guests can write messages on before the final burial or cremation.
- Flowers and Decorations – Traditionally the casket is adorned with a casket spray of the deceased’s favourite type or colour of flowers. However, this does not mean you can’t use something different instead of or as well as. Avid vegetable gardeners have had a bouquet of veggies rather than flowers. A grandad renowned for showing the grandkids his false teeth had a giant pair of dentures made of flowers atop his casket. Another great idea is to use something other than petals for guests to place on the casket. A favourite lolly or chocolate, shells for the beach lover, poker chips for the gambler, woodchips for the woodwork fanatic, anything is possible really!
- Transport – There are some beautiful modern hearses around nowadays that are sleek and sporty and will get your loved one to their final resting place in style. There are also some incredibly well kept 50s and 60s hearses that make a real impression as they purr along the road. But, if you think your loved one would have preferred something a little different, there is no shortage of options! Motorcycle hearses are gaining popularity amongst the biking community. Farmers have arrived at and departed from their funerals on tractors, horse drawn carriages are an extremely traditional option that some people still choose to use. There really is something for everybody.
- Service Sheets – At most funerals you’ll be handed a service sheet upon arrival. They typically have a photo on the front, the order of service and the words to a song or prayer inside and then a couple of photos on the back. These can be quite easily personalised with colours, flowers, themes and of course photos. You can take them a step further though. There have been secret recipes finally shared, the words to a song or poem written by the deceased included, a picture they drew or painted showcased, a favourite saying memorialised in print, even a message to everyone attending that the deceased may have left. Apart from memories, service sheets are the only thing guests end up with after the service so it can be a nice reminder for them just how special your loved one was.
I know what I want but I don’t know how to get it
A good funeral director will have the contacts to put in place anything you can dream up and if they don’t they will certainly be able find them. You can discuss your ideas with them when they come to arrange the funeral with you and if you think of something else after that they’re always available to help right up until the day itself.