By Emily Penkett, PR Manager

Almost 300 of our frontline colleagues recently got in touch to share their insight on funerals they arrange every day. By combining this with our own business data and a study we did with 4,000 UK adults, we’ve created the UK’s most in-depth report into funeral trends.

We found that only one in ten UK adults would choose a traditional, religious service. One in three (36%) want their friends and family to have a get-together to celebrate their life instead of a traditional service, and a third (33%) don’t want any fuss made at all.

It also seems the traditional service isn’t set to last a lifetime. Two fifths (44%) of UK adults think funerals will become more informal in the future, a fifth (21%) see the wake as becoming more significant than the funeral service itself, and over four fifths (86%) of our Funeral Directors say that people are now more open to unique and personalised aspects of funerals than they were five years ago.

The way we commemorate and celebrate those who’ve passed is also changing. Four fifths (82%) of funerals conducted by us are now cremations, and whilst burying ashes in the ground of a crematorium is still the go-to for over a quarter (28%) of UK adults, more people are choosing to handle their loved one’s ashes in truly unique ways.

People choosing to put ashes into jewellery keepsakes has increased by a fifth (21%) in the past year, with the most popular choices being tribute rings, paperweights and pendants.

Scattering during a skydive, reaching heights through a firework and steaming through the atmosphere via the furnace of a train are some of the most unique ways our Funeral Directors have known families pay tribute to a loved one:

Top 10 most unique ashes tributes

1. Inside the furnace of a steam train
2. Putting them inside a firework
3. Creating a tattoo
4. Scattering during a skydive
5. Sent up over the sea inside a balloon
6. Putting them in a model aeroplane
7. Taking them around the world
8. Putting them inside a car so they can always travel with them
9. Keeping them inside a rucksack so they could be carried everywhere
10. Scattering at a USA baseball ground

The location we remember late loved ones is now more important than many traditional elements that make up a funeral. A zoo, cattle auction house and a tepee make up some of the most unique funeral destination requests according to our Funeral Directors. Other popular choices include the deceased’s back garden and golf courses:

Top 10 most unique funeral destination requests

1. At a zoo
2. On a bus
3. McDonald’s Drive Thru
4. Beside a snooker table, with the deceased’s coffin resting on top
5. Next to the 18th hole on a golf course
6. Inside a café
7. Cattle auction house
8. Sports clubs incl. Kettering Town FC, Glossop Cricket Club and Notts County FC
9. Next to a busy bypass
10. In a tepee

As a nation of animal lovers, it’s perhaps no surprise that three fifths (57%) of our Funeral Directors have had requests for pets to be present at funerals, whether that be leading the hearse, attending the service or joining the wake. A fifth (21%) say they’ve been asked to arrange a pet themed funeral for someone and a further fifth (19%) expect to receive more requests for pets to be present at funerals in the future.

When it comes to funeral fashion in the last 12 months, over four fifths (84%) of our Funeral Directors have arranged a funeral where mourners wore bright clothing and half (48%) have even known mourners to dress in jeans and tracksuits.
But despite this rapidly changing landscape for funerals, almost half (45%) of UK adults haven’t done anything by way of sharing their wishes with anyone and less than a tenth (7%) have put their wishes in a funeral plan.

So we’re encouraging people to help raise awareness of this taboo by sharing their funeral wishes on social using #MyFuneralWish

Remember, if you’re a colleague member you can get £400 off a pre-paid funeral plan, or £700 off when arranging a funeral for your immediate family.

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. I think that the Funeral Directors Uniform, needs to reflect the changes by having a more colourful option to match the 84% of mourners that choose to where bright clothing to honour their love ones passing.

    • Agree. Top hat, stripes, frock coat and cane? We need something more in tune with the times. We have done it with the FSO uniform. Let’s look at the FD attire.

  2. As a Pyro-technician myself, I have scattered ashes in a firework display at Arnos Vale Cemetery – Bristol’s most historic cemetery. It was the only time this has ever been done there!

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