More and more Brits are opting for a celebration of life in lieu of a traditional funeral ceremony, which instead of mourning the individual’s death, guests celebrate the joy he or she brought into everyday living.
As a personalised funeral is a reflection of the individual’s passions and interests, it’s not surprising to see that an ongoing survey by the Metro currently stands at 76% wanting their send-off to be a celebration of their lives and interests.
In some cases, these celebrations of life ceremonies include themed funerals. Many elements can be incorporated into a themed funeral – and in most cases, the only limit is your imagination. Here are eight of our favourite themed funerals to date:
1. Festival-themed funeral for Glastonbury fan
When music-fanatic Lorna died in November 2011, her loved one’s honoured her final wish of having a Glastonbury inspired funeral. The 39-year-old festival-goer’s pink coffin was transported in a custom-stretched VW Beetle camper van, with ribbon attached, to the crematorium where hundreds of mourners waited to pay their respects wearing wellington boots as a fitting tribute. As requested, the congregation sang Why Does it Always Rain on Me by Travis.
2. A funeral fit for a superhero
At just 18 years old, Arthur killed himself after years of bullying and mental health problems. Arthur always found solace in the superhero world which inspired his mother, Jacqueline, to organise a themed funeral in recognition of her son’s passion. Mourners donned capes, masks and plastic props as they dressed as superheroes. The coffin was adorned with the Superman logo and an image of Arthur wearing the Superman costume. The service featured an extract from Iron Giant, Arthur’s favourite film.
3. A funeral with a force
When Andrew from Airdrie sadly passed in July 2016, his family paid tribute to the Star Wars fanatic by holding a themed send-off. Darth Vader and Stormtroopers lead the funeral procession to the crematorium, while music from the film’s soundtrack was played at the venue. His loved ones also wore Star Wars t-shirts for the occasion, His partner Sylvia said: “This is a thing Andrew would have loved in life, and I’m sure he would have loved it in death.”
4. Only fools and hearses
71-year-old Only Fools and Horses megafan got his final wish when his coffin was driven to his funeral in Del Boy’s ironic yellow three-wheeler when he died in September 2016. David from Farnworth loved the comedy so much that his daughters thought a specially-designed hearse made from two converted Reliant Regal vans was the best way to send him off. More than 100 mourners gathered to say farewell, spilling out of the church into the grounds. His daughters agreed that it was “great” to see smiles on faces.
5. Leopard-print funeral for lively 21-year-old
Amy, who was diagnosed with a chronic disease as a baby, was put to rest in a leopard-print coffin with the words “Breathing a little more… since 1994” impressed on the side, in Croydon in May 2016. All who attended the 21-year-old’s funeral wore at least one item of clothing in leopard-print – Amy’s final wish. After the ceremony, mourners released leopard-print balloons into the sky in her memory while I’m on My Way by Phil Collins played.
6. Mourners wear all-in-ones to onesie lover’s funeral
Jamie loved wearing onesies so much, he often wore it down at his local pub and even for Christmas dinner. So when the 20-year-old died suddenly in January 2013, it was only right for him to be buried in his favourite blue onesie. At the ceremony, over 500 people gathered at a packed church in York donning the all-in-one jumpsuit as a tribute to the onesie-fan. Many of the guests had the number 7 printed on their onesies as Jamie was an avid football player who always insisted on sporting this number.
7. Football-themed funeral for HMFC fan
When Edinburgh-born Gary was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2009 and given 5 years to live, the Hearts fan planned every aspect of his football-themed funeral. As requested, loved ones attended Gary’s funeral in April 2013 wearing football shirts. A matchday program replaced the order of series encouraging mourners to chant his football club’s anthems in replace of hymns. The service, which was broadcasted to family and friends that couldn’t attend on Scotland Online, lasted 90 minutes and ended with a final whistle. As a final tribute, his family was given special permission for his ashes to be scattered on the pitch at Tynecastle.
8. Mourners dress in costume for spooktacular funeral
When 56-year-old Lorna died in July 2015, family and friends dressed in scary attire to celebrate her life with a Halloween-themed funeral. The late grandmother loved Halloween, regularly hosting parties, dressing up and decorating the house so her son said a Halloween funeral was “what she would have wanted.” Witches, Beetlejuice and the Tasmanian Devil were among the 100 guests remembering Lorna at a service conducted by Darth Vadar. Later the mourners went on to a party.
What are your thoughts on themed funerals? Would you consider having a themed funeral? Leave your thoughts below, or learn more about preplanning your [themed] funeral here.