Emerging Funeral Trend

I noticed this when my father died a few years back and the funeral director suggested we have a funeral service that reflected my dad’s life and story rather than a generic one-size-fits-all funeral service. To be honest, I was a little taken back. Especially when he told me stories of recent funerals that were quite creative and personal. Which is kind of what we did for my dad.

There really IS a trend here and other people are noticing also. A article published yesterday entitled “Emerging Funeral Trend: Its Not Your Grandfather’s Funeral Anymore” discusses this trend among baby boomers to have designer funerals that are tailored rather than off-the-shelf.

“Celebrants help grieving families by working with family members to plan original funeral services that truly reflect someone‚Äôs personality and lifestyle and help begin the healing process.”

Some might say its a part of our individualistic culture, and there might be truth in that. But the other side is that funeral and memorial services are not designed to keep the funeral home staff happy or to keep tradition for the sake of tradition but rather for those who have come to remember.

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Melody says:

    This was an interesting article. What surprised me though, was that every funeral I’ve ever been to for a born-again believer (and there have been many – both old and young) has been exactly as these ‘celebration’ funerals have been described. At my Dad’s service, a letter was read that he had written to me when I was in college. It was so funny; and so like him; the whole place broke into laughter. For those of us who know we will see our loved ones again in heaven, how can we help but celebrate? “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – The Apostle Paul

  • Nicholas says:

    I didn’t know this was new. We have been doing them like this down south for as long as I have known. Not everyone does them, but they are around. Slideshows and the like.

  • Phil Wyman says:

    I’m not sure how new this is either. I’ve been pastoring for 22 years – first in California, now in Salem, MA, and I’ve never done it any other way. Could it be the funeral homes are noticing that people are now expecting it to be this way, instead of being surprised when it being presented as an option?
    I suppose I see the difference is that families now expect to be a part of the service development more often than they did 22 years ago.

  • Pam Vetter says:

    I’m so glad you’re willing to talk about this funeral issue – it’s important. I only came into being a Celebrant when my sister had planned her own funeral in 2004 (when dying from cancer) and then her pastor of 15 yrs. denied her plan because it was personal. My elderly parents sobbed because it was her plan. While there are pastors who are open and understand the need of the family to be involved and personalize it, I do not believe it’s part of seminary training. I believe Mr. Wyman is a rare gift, but more clergy are taking the Celebrant training because they do want to help the family. I hope the tide is turning. I live in LA – and most of our funerals here are not true celebrations – instead, with so many people who do not belong to organized religion, names are often inserted into readings. Who is serving non-members or people who believe in God, but don’t attend organized religion? Families getting involved helps the healing process. Thank you for letting me know pastors and families are taking part elsewhere in the world. I feel encouraged by your comments!

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