‘Destination funerals’ soar as mourners shun tradition

Traditional funerals are increasingly making way for more personalised ceremonies. Picture: Getty Images
Traditional funerals are increasingly making way for more personalised ceremonies. Picture: Getty Images
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IT is usually a word which is used to describe weddings in some idyllic location abroad.

But now the term “destination” is being applied to funerals as more mourners opt to say goodbye to loved ones in more unusual locations such as sports grounds, overseas or even the deceased’s workplace.

In the last twelve months alone, half of funeral directors in Scotland have arranged a funeral service outside a traditional setting such as a church or crematorium, whilst two-fifths of adults would consider an alternative location for their own farewell.

Other unusual venues included the home or garden of the person who has passed away or a local tourist attraction or beauty spot. Ibrox and Celtic Park are also on the list.

The first of a series of “Funeral Trends” reports, “The Ways We Say Goodbye”, reveals a celebratory trend towards colourful clothing, unique locations and non-typical transport at the nation’s funerals.

Sam Kershaw, operations director for Co-operative Funeralcare, which compiled the report, said; “What we’re seeing is a culture shift in the way that we deal with loss. It’s becoming ever more common to hear people refer to funerals as a celebration of life and that’s certainly a trend we are seeing even more frequently from the families that we support.”

She added: “As arranging a funeral is the last thing we’ll do for a person, it’s incredibly important to feel able to create truly unique and personal tribute to their life.” The move towards a celebration is also evident in arrangements after the funeral service, with a third of Scots preferring a party instead of a wake and a tenth wanting a disco, nightclub or bar to mark the occasion.

In terms of the preferred location for a wake, the pub proved popular for a quarter of Scots and a fifth liked the idea of a seaside setting or on a boat.

Charles Cowling, editor of the Good Funeral Guide, said that more people are turning away from traditional funerals to do something more personal for their loved ones.

“People are getting to a point where they want to bring the life back into funerals,” he said. “People can do something that is highly personal to the deceased.”

Mr Cowling added that logistically, there is no reason why funerals cannot be held anywhere. “There is no reason why people can’t hold funerals wherever they want,” he added. “In this country, you are allowed to have a dead body anywhere as long as it is no exposed in a way that would outrage public decency. If it’s in a wooden box, then no problem.”

He added: “It is lovely when people want to bring funerals back into the community rather than mourners being banished to locations which just burn dead people and do nothing else. Some people might want to have their funeral at home, or even in a care home.”