Can you have a themed funeral? Yes, you can. In fact, these kinds of funerals are becoming more and more popular.
Read on to learn more about themed funerals and get some ideas about the most popular themes.
What is a themed funeral?
A themed funeral is one that’s inspired by a particular thing or idea. This could be a book, a movie or anything else that meant a lot to the person who has died.
Sometimes, the person decides on a theme for their funeral before they die. Other times, family or friends choose a theme as a way to celebrate the person’s life and interests.
What are themed funeral services like?
Themed funerals can take almost any form and follow any structure. They can be similar to traditional funerals, except for a few themed funeral flowers or decorations. Or they can be completely unique, with themed music, readings and even costumes. Sometimes, people choose a venue that reflects the theme too.
Bear in mind that you might not be able to have a themed religious funeral. It all depends on cultural traditions, your choice of venue and whether the person leading the funeral is comfortable with it. It’s best to check before you start planning the funeral so you know what’s allowed.
How popular are themed funerals?
It’s getting more common to see themed funerals in the UK.
In a 2019 survey of its funeral directors, Co-op found that:
- 31% had tailored ceremonies around a person’s hobby.
- 15% said they’d arranged a superhero-themed funeral.
- Requests for non-traditional funeral venues had increased in the previous 5 years.
The survey questioned members of the public too – and discovered that just 10% of people want a traditional religious funeral when they die.
Ideas for funeral themes
If you’re thinking about planning a themed funeral, here are some of the most popular options. Of course, you’re also free to choose whatever you want – the most important thing is that it’s special and meaningful to you.
Movies and TV shows
Did the person who has died have a favourite film or television show? Some of the most popular themes for funerals involve classic movies and TV.
Lots of people have chosen Star Wars-themed funerals, for example – often with guests dressed as Stormtroopers and other characters from the films. There are even companies that specialise in Only Fools and Horses-themed funerals, complete with a hearse that looks like the show’s iconic yellow car.
We often take comfort in listening to a person’s favourite songs after they have died. So if music was important to them, why not theme their funeral around a particular musical genre?
A good thing about this theme is that it can be easy and inexpensive. All you really need to do is put together a themed funeral playlist. You could choose only Motown singles, for instance, or a selection of heavy metal, pop songs or show tunes.
Of course, you can pull out all the stops if you want to. How about an extravagant rock and roll-themed funeral led by an Elvis impersonator? Believe it or not, it’s been done before.
This guide to choosing funeral songs should help you come up with some ideas.
It’s easy to see why hobbies make popular funeral themes. If a person loved doing an activity in life, it feels natural to make it part of their funeral service too.
Motorcycles are a good example. At biker funerals, it’s not unusual to see guests wearing leathers and arriving on their own bikes. They often feature a ‘last ride’ too, where people follow a motorcycle-themed hearse to the burial ground or memorial garden.
So if you’re arranging a themed funeral, think about the person’s hobbies and interests. Would they have liked a railway-themed send-off, where the coffin is transported by steam train? Or how about a funeral themed around a historic time and place, like Ancient Egypt or medieval Britain?
Sport is another common funeral theme in the UK – especially for football fans.
For a football-themed funeral, you could ask people to wear football shirts, decorate the venue with special flower arrangements and play (or sing) team anthems. If you ask permission, you might even be able to hold the funeral or wake at the club’s stadium.
For a child’s funeral, parents sometimes choose to focus on happy themes that remind them of their child’s interests and personality. This could be something as simple as a favourite colour – using only red flowers, for instance, or asking people to wear blue.
Children’s funerals are often themed around popular characters from TV, games and anime (Japanese animation). Disney-themed funerals are quite common – as are themes based on characters like Peppa Pig and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Themed funeral wakes
A wake is a social gathering that happens after a funeral. It gives people a chance to share memories of the person who has died and pass on their respects to the person’s family.
You can customise a wake in the same way as a funeral service. For instance, you could choose a special themed venue, create unique decorations or serve the person’s favourite food.
Planning a themed funeral
Planning a themed funeral allows you to be a bit more creative in how you choose to remember your loved one. Of course, it can take a bit more time to organise everything. But the right funeral director will be able to help you arrange the funeral service you want – most are used to special requests and are experienced in personalising a funeral.
You can find funeral directors near you using our search tool.
More helpful guides
- Uplifting funeral songs and poems
- Non-traditional funerals of the rich and famous
- How to arrange a funeral
Funeral Choice has a search tool that helps you find and compare local funeral directors. We also offer advice for arranging funerals and coping with bereavement. Visit our funeral planning advice centre to get started.