Our society has seen rapid change in the last few centuries, all aspects of our lives have been impacted, and the cemetery and funeral industry is no different. As customer expectation changes, and the 'traditional norms' are no-longer restricting how we chose to do things, and our increasingly secular society means people are freer to choose just how they want to be remembered.
Customized and personalized funerals are far more common; cremations are more popular than burials in most countries – in 2015 in the US cremations were more popular than burials for the first time, and this has on continued to increase. The growing movement of Death Café's and Death Doulas are all helping to start the conversation on dying long before it actually happens and giving people the opportunity to consider just how they would like to be remembered and shop around to find the right company to help them. Funerals and burials are no longer events to be planned when they happen.
There are many other changes, some bound by our more transient society, environmental concerns, musical taste, and our love of pets.
Scattering the ashes of cremated remains is nothing new, nor is keeping them in an urn or interring them, but here are few other ways cremated remains can be used:
It seems there really is no limit to people's imagination when it comes to utilizing cremated remains. Today families are less likely to fix ashes to a set location, instead than wanting to keep them in a format that can be moved or utilized as required.
Eco / Green burials are increasing. As we become more environmentally conscious, many people chose to step away from traditional embalming and all the chemicals that requires, and processed wooden coffins – there are increasing numbers of options available for the environmentally conscious now.
Unsurprisingly there is much debate over how environmentally friendly many of these practices actually are, but it still shows a shift away from what we could consider a traditional farewell and a growing list of alternatives.
According to The Guardian or the first time in the UK this year, the top 10 music played at funerals did not contain a single hymn. You may not be surprised to hear the top five were:
1. My Way – Frank Sinatra
2. Time to Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman
3. Over The Rainbow – Eva Cassidy
4. Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
5. Angels – Robbie Williams
Ed Sheeran made his first entry at number 6, which will probably surprise you with Supermarket Flowers. Then at 7. Unforgettable – Nat King Cole, 8. You Raise Me Up – Westlife, 9. We'll Meet Again – Vera Lynn and Monty Python made it in at 10. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – Life of Brian.
Are all your music licenses up to date?
Is your business currently meeting the changing demand of the community? If not, you might just be losing business, particularly for those pro-active people who are researching their options well in advance of their death. These people are pre-planning their funerals but not in the traditional way.