There are many ways to be creative when arranging a funeral. If you are arranging a funeral or would like to know more to support others, then read on.
What does creativity mean?
We believe that choice and creativity are two sides of the same coin. While discussing this as a team, there are two metaphors which we have found helpful. In our experience, creativity is often “sparked” or “inspired” by knowing the choices that are available – and then making a little tweak here and there.
Choice is being given a menu of delicious dishes to choose from, whereas creativity is being given a bag of ingredients and empowered to make a new dish which is completely unique to your taste.
To use another FCF team metaphor, choice is being given a list of options on a piece of paper and a pencil, to tick the choices that are best for you.
In the funeral arrangement process this difference might look like browsing a selection of existing options and choosing from these or using this knowledge and your experience to curate something a little different.
When does creativity happen?
We know that many people consider funeral choices in the weeks and monthly before someone dies and the arrangements and decisions continue until the funeral service or committal take place. There are also choices and space for creativity after the funeral with the creation of post-funeral rituals.
Before someone dies, they may share with their family and friends what they would like for their funeral and these wishes are likely to create a framework for additional choices and opportunities to be creative.
From the first moment after someone has died, there are choices and whenever there is a choice, there is an opportunity to be creative within these choices. If you are using the service is a funeral director, then you have choices about when someone is brought into their care and what the person who has died is wearing or has with them. Throughout your meetings with the funeral director, they will share choices and give the opportunity for you to together expand these choices with as much, or as little, creativity as you like.
Making funeral decisions takes some time and deliberation and as the right choices become clearer to you, you may also find opportunity to adapt and “tweak” them a little – so they feel even more appropriate a fitting. You may also find yourself taking inspiration from other events or experience you have had – a wedding or other celebration.
What can help?
Being creative within your funeral arrangements is not for everyone. For some, it is an important way to participate and consolation – for others it would be an added and unwelcome pressure. If you know what is possible – they you can do what is right for you.
The time leading up to a funeral is busy and can be quite daunting. If there is a way to utilize the anyone who has offered their help then you might consider asking for them to support with daily tasks like bringing some food, sweeping the leaves or running some errands for you – people often want to help but don’t know where to start and delegating might mean you have a little more time to mull over your options.
You may be very much in touch with your creative side or (like me) sometimes find it a little elusive. If so, you would reach out to some family or friends who you trust and who’s creative sparks you have appreciated in the past. They could come to the florist with you or help you think about something that would accompany the flowers on the top of te coffin.
Some choices which may spark your creativity:
What would you like people to wear to the funeral? Is there something specific that the person that had died would appreciate? What about a token item to wear, in addition to clothing? Some people like to wear a specific colour, a pin of something special, or incorporate a theme into the clothing to be worn by attendees.
Food and drink
Are you thinking of including food or drink at the funeral or wake? Is there something special that you would like to serve? Did the person that has died have a favourite snack or tipple? Is there a special dish that is important to you as a family or group of friends?
Some people find that they would like for memories of the person to be shared during the funeral service or at the wake. This could look like particular people speaking during the service, memories being written on cards or in a book by attendees, or asking individuals to contribute their memories to a memory tree or other structure.
Would you like to give attendees a little something to remember the service? These small gifts could be anything from the person’s favourite sweet or favourite flower bulbs.
There are many different types of coffins to choose from, but did you know that many can be personalised? Cardboard coffins can be used as a canvas for drawings, paintings, and collage. Flowers can be attached to coffins and so they can form the base of a floral arrangement.
Everyone is different
There is no right or wrong way to approach arranging a funeral, and the important thing is that you make decisions that are right for you and the people that you care about. This might look like making entirely original choices, or it might look like curating options and choices to create an event that is right for you.
If you have enjoyed this blog, you might be interested in reading more about funeral choices. You can also read our previous blogs How to make a funeral more personal and What to wear to a funeral for further inspiration.