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Alternative Funeral Ideas to Make the Day Personal & Memorable

Modern & Contemporary Alternatives to traditional Funerals

Depending on your beliefs, a funeral ceremony can take many different formats.

There are no legal requirements for the form a funeral/memorial ceremony must take, and so once the death certificate and registration have taken place, it’s up to you to decide how to mark the committal and where.

The majority of people in the UK still use a religious minister to conduct the funeral at the crematorium or burial ground, but increasingly so, families are coming up with modern and alternative ways to celebrate a life.


The slightly awkward question of what to do with your body when it’s no longer needed by you, usually leads people down the traditional route – church/cemetery burial, or cremation, via the local undertakers.

You may have lived a splendid life and are thinking of what will happen after you bid the world goodbye. Burial and cremation are the most popular ways in which the bodies of the dead are disposed of. However, there are endless alternatives to burial and traditional cremation which are still splendid funeral ideas.

Alternative Funeral Ideas

Humanist Funeral


Celebration Of Life

Direct Cremation

A cheaper alternative to a traditional cremation is a direct cremation. The growing trend is basically a cremation without a service.

The body is collected by a dedicated company (or funeral director) and cremated at a specific time to suit them. this means that the cost can be kept low.

The remains are then delivered back to you and you are free to plan a separate celebration that doesn’t include all of the regular church/crematorium business – you are free to di t when and where you like.

Water / Bio Cremation

Not as common (yet) but if the thought of traditional cremation does not please you then resomation may be an option for you. Bio cremation is an eco-friendly option because alkali and water-based solutions are used in decomposing the body. This is done while under high pressure, breaking down the body to liquid and bone ash. This liquid can then be recycled. It can be poured onto a garden or natural spaces. The bone ash can be put in an urn.

Colourful Funeral

A more common practice is to get rid of the dark colours and to add a theme to the funeral. This could include requesting everyone to wear a certain colour, suggesting a theme (like a football team) or even fancy dress, if your relative was that way inclined. This can help to change the funeral of a feeling of mourning to more of a party and celebration – I for one would much prefer this for my funeral.


Woodland Burial

There are a growing number of sites that accommodate a woodland burial. This is where the body is buried amongst a woodland, in nature. Again, this can be non-religious or religious and the locations typically have a room where family and friends can gather. Read more on woodland burials in our guide.

There are a many alternatives to burial, most very practical, some slightly bizarre – but all potentially possible if that’s what you want.

For many years, it has been the norm to have the resting place of the dead being ‘6 feet under’. However, burials are slowly being ditched for alternative ways of conducting funerals. In some cultures, cremation has been practised and it ha caught up with many more people across the world.


Home Burial

Yes, it is actually possible to be buried in your garden for all eternity. This can be conducted by someone of your choice or simply part of a DIY funeral.
Read our guide to get all the facts and laws required to be buried at home.


Organ / Body Donation

Some call body donation giving your body to science. Thanks to body donation, there came about developments in the medical field since medical experiments were done on cadavers. Organ donation is possible because after a person dies, some of the body parts can remain healthy and can be transplanted to recipients. It is ironic that it would take losing one life to save another one in such cases.


Burial At Sea

The land is not the only place where bodies of the dead may be disposed of. The sea is a chosen place of final rest for many who love the sea, sailors especially. Sea burials aka being buried at sea are also not costly because the body is wrapped up in cloth then tossed into the sea.


DIY Funeral

Alternatively, just do it yourself. Naturaldeath.org.uk is a wonderful charity full of advice on what you need to do if this is the path you choose. Or if you can follow this link if you would like to see a recent video diary from a lady called Wendii Miller, covering the DIY burial of her mother.

18 thoughts on “Alternative funeral Ideas”

  1. I wish to be cremated and have told my family that I wish my ashes to be used to help fertilize a tree. I have seen adverts for this but can’t remember where.Any one know who to contact ? TIA.

  2. FacingBereavement

    @norna. There are quite a few companies that do this. Try typing “using cremated ashes to grow a tree” (select UK if you live her of course) and you’ll come up with quite a few useful results.

  3. I think it is great that such alternative exist. Not everyone is religious so that is great. This will make a lot of people happy that their funerals can be less controversial. Thanks for the post!

  4. My husband and I are arranging a plot in a natural burial ground. Is there an organisation that could help with the other stuff involved? We are not religious but obviously the body has to be transported etc. Any help would be very much appreciated.

  5. Hi Turtle Read your comment above. Did you ever find a compan or individual who could help. I run The Funeral Company and I’m sure we would be able to assist you. Get n touch. Linda

  6. my dad was cremated 35 years ago in Lincolnshire and his family scattered his ashes at a local cemetery to them in Nottingham. there was never a headstone and i feel i would like there to be. how would i do this and am i allowed to?

  7. FacingBereavement
    Tracy – Your Question:

    My dad was cremated 35 years ago in Lincolnshire and his family scattered his ashes at a local cemetery to them in Nottingham. there was never a headstone and I feel I would like there to be. how would I do this and am I allowed to?


    Our Response:

    Contact the cemetery and see what the policy is on erecting a plaque or memorial after cremation.

  8. I would like to know more information about alternatives to funerals as i am not a religious person and it seems we have to follow a regime that has been used for so many years. i don’t want to be buried i don’t want a religious ceremony i don’t want all my money going to the church etc. i would like my family to have a small gathering to remember me how they want to remember me i also do not want them to watch me be taken in a coffin behind a curtain to be burnt, what alternatives are there out there, and do i have to buy a great wooden box costing well over 2k to be incinerated. thank you in advance for any advice and help.

  9. I want a Native American Indian funeral, where I am cremated on a pyre without a coffin. Is this allowed in the UK? I would like to make all the arrangements before I pass away so my children don’t have to worry about it. Any information would be very much appreciated.

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