Why do people choose something different than the traditional funeral?
Well, for one thing, people are unique and thus love to honor and celebrate their unique loved one. Plus many of the burial alternatives you’ll see below have never been an option before now.
Thanks to new technology and incredible ideas, there are many ways to celebrate your loved one with a funeral alternative. Take a look below – we have put some great ideas together for you.
15 Funeral Alternatives
1. Celebration of Life
A celebration of life is just that – celebrating a life well-lived. The emphasis is on celebration rather than mourning. There will be lots of sharing of jokes, memories, and anecdotes of your departed loved one.
Most families hold a celebration of life after the burial, so it’s essentially a memorial service but with many more creative ideas incorporated.
They’re flexible, too. You can host a celebration of life just about anywhere: a church, backyard, your home, or even a park.
More: How to Plan a Celebration of Life
2. Scattering Ceremony
A scattering ceremony is when you release the cremated remains of a loved one. You can scatter them on the ground or even in the water.
The ceremony can be as elaborate or as quiet as you want it to be. For example, you can charter a yacht and invite everyone for a day out on the ocean. Or you can take your loved one out on the water all by yourself and enjoy a quiet time during the scattering.
Related: What to Say When Scattering Ashes
3. Cremation Ceremony
A cremation ceremony can be an event that happens when burying the cremated remains or placing the urn in a columbarium. You can even plan a cremation ceremony to take place at the same time as the cremation is happening.
Read more: How, When, & Where to Hold a Cremation Ceremony
4. Direct Burial
Direct burial is the least expensive funeral option.
Having a direct burial, the body is buried as soon as possible after the death has occurred. There will be no funeral service conducted or celebration of life, just a quick and simple burial.
Everything is about simplicity and affordability. Your loved one may be buried in a simple container instead of an expensive casket. You might even let them be buried in the clothing they died in.
Learn more: Direct Burial: The Least Expensive Way to Be Buried
5. Donate Your Body to Science
Most adults can donate their bodies to science. There is no cost to you or your family if you decide to donate. Plus, your body will be cremated free of charge and returned to your loved ones when the facility has finished its research.
This is something that must be worked out before a death has occurred, not afterward. It’s important to know that you are the only one who can donate your body to science. You’ll need to contact a medical school or a body farm to make the arrangements.
Program-specific instructions can be gotten from donor programs.
Related: How to Donate Your Body to Science
6. Hold a Virtual Memorial
The year 2021 was the year that “virtual” funerals became standard. They are a great way for everyone to be able to be a part of a funeral service. No one has to travel, get exposed to illness, or even get dressed to attend a virtual funeral service or memorial.
Most funeral homes and some churches are now set up to serve the public with virtual services.
Related: How to Create a Meaningful Online Memorial Service
7. Hold a Private Service at Home
Many families are choosing to hold a service in their home after the burial or cremation has taken place. This is a way to help keep costs down while having more control over the look and feel of the service, emphasizing home and family.
While you can have a full-body burial at home, even most DIY-type people typically prefer to let the funeral home handle the burial or cremation. The memorial service can be held anywhere, so why not at the place they most loved to be?
With a private funeral at home, you can invite as few or as many people as you would like. It’s the best way to have an informal and intimate affair designed exactly to your preferences.
More: How to Hold a Funeral at Home
8. Funeral Repast
The repast happens after the funeral. A funeral repast is a gathering of guests to enjoy a meal together. They are usually open to anyone who attended the funeral, or they can be private, depending on what you would like to do.
Some families host a repast at their home, their church, or a favorite restaurant.
The repast is usually announced after the funeral service and burial. Ask your funeral director to announce the repast and where it will be held.
More: How to Celebrate Your Loved One with Food
9. Memorial Tree Planting
Consider planting a tree in the memory of your loved one. This is a truly meaningful tribute, a thoughtful memorial that will benefit generations to come. The memory of your loved one will live on for decades, helping to repopulate our national forests and supplying homes for animals.
A tree will be planted, and the family will receive a card with the location of the tree which they can go and visit.
More: How to Plant a Tree in Memory
10. Become Part of a Coral Reef
You can now opt for burial in a coral reef and become part of nature. The concept is that your loved one’s cremated remains will help form coral reefs. They will be contributing to the marine ecosystems long after their death.
The cremated remains are mixed with cement and then placed in the reef. Your loved one’s ashes will become part of the reef and supply homes for many marine creatures.
Related: 68+ Creative Things to Do with Ashes
11. Memorial Diamonds
You can now have a diamond created from your loved one’s cremated remains. It will be one of a kind, just like they were! You can use as little and half a teaspoon of cremains or more, depending on the size of diamond you want.
Making your memorial diamond is not a quick process, but it is well worth the wait of seven to ten months.
More: How to Turn Ashes into Diamonds
12. Burial at Sea
Burial at sea is not just for sailors. The MPRSA (Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act) general permit authorizes burial at sea of non-cremated human remains at locations at least three nautical miles from land and in ocean waters at least 600 feet deep.
You must take the appropriate measures so the body will sink to the bottom of the ocean quickly and stay there.
Read more: Everything You Need to Know for Burial at Sea
13. Make an Ornament
How about creating a memorial ornament for your loved one? From personalized ornaments with your loved one’s name, photos, creative bulbs, DIY ideas, or even ornaments that contain cremated remains, these are memorials you can pass down for generations to come.
Have a holiday celebration to honor your loved one. Make or swap memorial ornaments, share good food and heartwarming memories, decorate the tree and drink cocoa around the fire as you pay tribute to your beloved.
Related: How to Celebrate Christmas in Heaven
14. Cremated Remains Become a Portrait
Yes, you can have your loved one’s cremated remains mixed in with paint and made into a portrait. You can prepare your own oil paint, or hire an artist. It doesn’t take a lot of cremains to make a portrait that will be treasured for generations to come.
Host an unveiling ceremony so that friends and loved ones can appreciate the heirloom art while gathering to share stories, memories, and condolences.
15. Cremation Fireworks
A cremation fireworks tribute is also known as memorial fireworks. If your loved one enjoyed being the center of attention, this is a perfect tribute. The fireworks can be part of a professional show or send them off by yourself.
You will be using around three tablespoons of cremated remains are loaded into a shell and launched for a beautiful display. A celebration to be remembered!
More: 50+ Ways to Memorialize Your Loved One
We touched on some great ideas for preserving your loved one’s memory after death. From donating a body to science to shooting your loved one’s cremated remains up in fireworks. There are so many possibilities! If you want to check out some more ideas, click here.
Read next: What to Do When There’s No Funeral