After losing a loved one, consider the best way to honor them and their life. Sometimes, a traditional funeral is not the best fit. Today, there are many alternatives to a traditional funeral service and burial.
If you are seeking to lay your loved one to rest in a nontraditional way, the following are some modern alternatives to traditional funeral arrangements:
Perhaps the most recognizable alternative to a traditional funeral service is cremation. Cremation is a good option for families with loved ones in various areas across the country. Unlike traditional burial, cremation does not require the family to take immediate steps to embalm, clean, dress, and bury the body.
Cremation can also give family members who may not be local more time to plan gathering in honor of your deceased loved one.
Celebration of Life
If having a traditional funeral service for your loved one does not feel right, or if you do not want their memory honored by a funeral service, planning a celebration of life might be a good option for you.
A celebration of life is an alternative memorial service that sets a different tone than a funeral. Celebrations of life are usually less formal and are held at nontraditional locations, such as a park or banquet hall. The deceased’s loved ones may release balloons, play music or a photo slideshow, or participate in an activity that the deceased enjoyed.
Natural, or green, burials are becoming more popular across the country. Loved ones place the deceased in a green burial site and mark the location with a plaque or another marker with their name. Some states don’t even require that a funeral director be involved in the natural burial process.
Check your state’s laws regarding natural burial to see if this option is available and how to complete the process legally.
Alternatives That Do Not Involve a Ceremony
Sometimes a ceremony does not feel like the right way to honor your loved one. If that is the case, there are numerous nontraditional ways to honor them without a ceremony.
Share a Meal at Their Favorite Restaurant. Sharing a meal is a simple way to honor a loved one and get the deceased’s family and friends together to remember the person they lost. Having a nice dinner in the deceased’s honor allows people to share memories and talk about the one they lost with others who are feeling the same loss.
Have a Memorial on Their Birthday. Your family can choose to wait for a special day, such as the deceased loved one’s birthday, to honor the life they led. This option may give your friends and family time to process the loss without the pressure of planning a funeral.
Private Get-Together at Home. You may want an intimate gathering at home. Invite those closest to the loved one you lost to spend time together. A private at-home gathering provides a comfortable environment to mourn with others that cared for your loved one as much as you do.
There are many ways to honor the life of someone you love after they die. Today, you are not bound to the traditional funeral service. You can observe your loved one’s life in a way that is as unique and special as the individual you lost, creating a memory you can carry with you as long as you live.
As part of your estate plan, you are encouraged to plan for your own end-of-life process. Read How You Can Help Your Loved Ones by Planning Your Funeral Arrangements to learn more about how to do this.