Unless you're a member of the Addams Family, you probably don't get too excited about the idea of a funeral. In fact, you probably hope pretty regularly that you don't have to attend one anytime soon. At their best, funerals are full of awkward air kisses and reminders of your own mortality while you try to be sad at the passing of an old, distant relative. At their worst, funerals are your last, desperate moments with a loved one before facing the reality that you need to, somehow, carry on living without her. Either option is almost guaranteed to include mental and emotional exhaustion and a mini-existential crisis. No one in her right mind would willing surround herself with funerals.Enter Elizabeth Meyer, who in her early 20s lost her father to cancer. Wanting to give her dead a proper sendoff, she planned a nontraditional funeral for him, forgoing lilies and funeral dirges for her mother's favorite flowers and The Rolling Stones. She was so happy to have planned a funeral she knew her dad would have loved that she decided to get into the funeral business. She began working at Crawford, an elite funeral home for the rich and famous in Manhattan, first as a receptionist and eventually as a funeral planner to the stars.
If there are wedding trends, there’s no reason there shouldn’t be funeral trends. Just as we’ve been celebrating people’s love for centuries, we’ve been honouring people’s death in different ways for ages. While some traditions have remained the same, it makes sense for our modern ideas of what a funeral should be to change. According to Barry Floyd, managing director at funeral plan provider Golden Leaves, there are a bunch of fresh trends that have become popular at funerals in 2018. Barry has noticed that people want a more personalised approach to funerals, dropping traditions that don’t feel fitting in favour of more out-there options. ‘Funerals are still very emotional and sombre occasions but we are seeing that more people have personalised the services and use the occasion as a chance to celebrate their loved one’s life,’ Barry tells us. So, here are the things Barry says are top funeral trends this year.Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk
1. No more blackIt’s long been the view that when you attend a funeral, you wear black. Anything else would be disrespectful. But rather than asking people to wear the traditional colour of mourning, more families are asking guests to choose colours related to celebration of the deceased’s life, rather than the mourning of their death. That might mean wearing a football shirt from the person’s favourite team, wearing a certain colour the person loved, or dressing up for a party rather than anything more sombre.2. TechnologyWe’re getting around long-distances and expensive travel with the use of Skype and live streams. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Rather than having to fit in everyone a family can think to invite, you simply live stream the service so anyone who feels the loss gets a chance to say goodbye. Of course, it’s crucial that involving any technology is used with the immediate family’s approval. Few people will look kindly on you Instagram live-ing someone’s funeral without their permission.3. GiftsThere’s a new trend for people giving small gifts to guests and family at funerals. These aren’t supposed to be extravagant or tacky (no gift cards, please), but small ways to provide comfort and keep the memory of the deceased alive. Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk
4. Alternative burialsWe’re more environmentally conscious these days, and that extends to our funeral planning. New offerings of eco-friendly burials – including burials in woodland, remains being used to grow a tree, make a vinyl, or for a coral reef – are becoming more popular in place of the standard burials. People are even giving more thought to their coffin choices, opting for sustainably sourced wood.Barry notes that it’s important for anyone who has their heart set on a specific burial or cremation method to make that clear to their loved ones. ‘If you have your heart set on a certain type of burial, it is important to communicate these wishes and put a plan in place to be able to afford them,’ he says. ‘It is important to bear in mind that the average UK cremation comes in at just over £3,500. ‘Burials could cost you many thousands of pounds more than a cremation service – and that largely depends on where you live. so make sure you explore your options and understand the cost especially if you want to do something out of the ordinary – you’ll need to make your family aware.’5. Unusual transport optionsRather than a traditional hearse, why not opt for a fleet of motorbikes or a particular type of car the person who passed away loved?6. Themed funeralsAgain, this is all about making a funeral feel more about the person’s life than their death. If they were really into Star Wars, the funeral might be Star Wars themed. If they were musical, music can play a big part in the day.Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk