Ways to Personalise a Funeral

Amanda-Louise Funeral Services
December 27, 2023

How Can a Funeral Be More Personal?

When someone dies, we often remember the traits that made them the person they were in life. Such as their likes, character, interests, clubs they followed for example. These are all things that many families when planning their loved one's funeral want to showcase the very spirit of them, so that those attending can have a lasting memory of them from the funeral service.

Whether you wish for a religious or non religious funeral, the first thing to remember is to ditch worrying about what a funeral should look and feel like. After all, there isnt any rule book on funerals; its just been the 'norm' over years that a traditional funeral is a somber formal occasion

We recognise that in life we are all unique, so its comforting to know that funerals can be too, and it doesnt mean it is any less dignified. As an independent lady funeral director. I know that ensuring all the details are meticulously thought through and planned from the big things down to the little touches is important. So I sit with the family hearing all about that person, and discuss various ways how they can personalise their farewell during the funeral.

Ideas To Get You Thinking

Religious or non religious - consider what beliefs the person had. Then the service can follow the religious or belief customs such as scripture readings, psalms, hymns, blessings, vigils, rites, sermons, ceremonies, reciting verses and chanting for example.

Venue - consider which church, cemetery, woodland burial ground or crematorium you wish to use, or you could have the ceremony held in an alternative venue. For some opting for a hotel, village hall or even at the funeral home seems less clinical and less restrictive on time allowances.

Ceremony Leader - who is going to lead the funeral ceremony? This could be a religious minister, a professional celebrant (secular or non religious) or even a family member. Alternatively here at our funeral directors, I offer to officiate the ceremony as Im also a trained public speaker and celebrant.

Ceremony content - this will set the tone and style of what the attendees will see and here. For example, who will provide the eulogy in tribute and what is said - will it be funny, serious or their achievements in life.

Its a good idea that the tribute isnt written like a cv!

Music doesnt have to be somber, it can be pieces that the person loved. Then visual tributes can make it heartfelt such as photo slideshow showcasing their life memories to be displayed on a large screen for all to see during the reflection part of the ceremony. Then there are items that you can place on top of the coffin. Popular items include photos, medals, their hobbies such as aircraft to model railways, football scarves - these do not have to 'go' with the coffin as the funeral director can remove these.

Type of funeral director - again this will set the tone you desire. As every funeral can be different so are funeral directors, so its worth finding one you resonate with.

Ceremony accessories - there are numerous ways you can create those little nods to their life. Such an having an order of service booklet printed with photos and message, which not only provide a structured programme to follow during the ceremony but a keepsake afterwards. Some families like to have small touches of 'remember me' from handing out seed packets to each attendee so they can grow them in remembrance, to bottles of bubbles that everyone can blow as a farewell gesture, having a memorial table at the funeral reception with a candle and condolences or memory book inviting everyone to write their memories. We even have attendance cards printed if our families want us to hand these out while family and friends gather before the funeral asking everyone to write down their names who attended, so we can give them to the next of kin - it helps them afterwards to remember who attended should they wish to drop them a thank you note.

Say it with flowers - having flowers at a funeral often brings comfort, especially when they were chosen of the person's favourite colour or choice of flowers for example. Alternatively having the flowers from their own garden is a personal touch.

Say it with kindness - gifting to the person's charity is a fitting tribute to honour their life.

Planting a tree - this is becoming more popular, especially as more and more of us want to protect the environment we live in, and we can do it in their memory

Coffin choice - there are so many different materials to consider from wood effect, wood products, to fully or semi solid woods, and the eco-friendly ranges from cardboard, pine, wicker, seagrass, and so on. And they vary in shapes too from traditional to the softer curved ends. Colour too is something to consider, as many coffins can come in a variety of colours and even glitter! Or you might like the idea of having a picture imprinted onto the coffin itself, or a simple design such as a woodland scene. In fact, choosing the coffin is likely to be one of the most difficult choices, so take your time. They come in a variety of sizes and budgets to suit all tastes. Then you may wish to discuss how the coffin will be lined, or what you wish to pop in the coffin with your loved one.

If you opt for a cardboard or plain coffin, then you could write messages onto the coffin itself.

Deciding What To Wear - if your loved one was a gregarious sort of person, then maybe everyone wearing black doesn't seem quite right. Some families have worn something of their favourite colour, or have said 'no black at all'.

How to Arrive - do you want the coffin to arrive in a traditional black hearse or one that has a union jack on it for example? Or a horse and carriage or motorcycle hearse? For some, they rather have a more discreet transport so opt for the funeral directors private vehicle.

Associations - as many people belong to 'clubs' or 'associations' so these can be reflected in their funeral too. For example an avid enthusiastic of trains could have a model train on top of their coffin. Ive had a funeral where the person was part of a Hells Angels Group, and was amazing to see an array of motorbikes escort us to the funeral

Ex-service personnel - whether serving or veteran, all are entitled to have military honours at their funeral. These can include the flag draped over the coffin, and many also opt to have a bulger play the last post.

Funeral hospitality - this is an ideal time to acknowledge the person. For example having food items the person adored or serving everyone the favourite tipple in their memory, or hear their favourite music.

Its heartfelt to hear friends turn to the family after the funeral and say 'she would have liked that' hope the above provides you with inspiration.

Whatever their likes and interests, there are so many ways to personalise a funeral. A good funeral director will take the time to listen and guide offering suggestions for you to consider.

Amanda-Louise Funeral Directors supporting families to have a personal funeral representing the person we are commemorating

But Remember Its Okay Not To Personalise

Whilst it can be an immense healing process for the family having a funeral showcasing all the attributes of their loved one, it is okay NOT to have anything personal throughout. For some, its too stressful and unbearable, or quite simply not appropriate to do so. Having had the opportunity to support many families I know that whether they want a gentle to a flamboyant funeral, the important factor is everyone has a choice without judgement or rule books to follow, so that every funeral will be as fitting as the next.

What Funeral 'Rules' Have to Be Followed

Whilst you do not have to have a coffin, it is the law that the person who has died is 'not exposed' in anyway, so a shroud would suffice. Some crematoriums do insist that there is a coffin used, or a board is used to support them.

If you would like to find out more about funeral choices or if you are thinking about leaving wishes for your own funeral, you can contact Amanda-Louise on Telephone 07879-220046 or at

Amanda-Louise Funeral Services
Amanda-Louise Funeral Directors 3 Blenheim Road, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5PY (by appointment only)
‍Blog Disclaimer - the article is opinion based by the author only, the content is for information purposes only, and as such is not guaranteed. Whilst is intended to be accurate there may be some unintentional errors, mistakes or omissions and therefore may be subject of updating. In accordance with advice articles should the reader wish to rely on this information, they do so at their own risk. Any prices quoted are accurate at time of writing content.

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