For many mourners, long gone are the days of sombre dress and tear-filled handkerchiefs. Today many of the last requests of the dearly departed are becoming increasingly unusual as the traditional funeral rites are beginning to be seen as stuffy and not in line with how the deceased wishes to be remembered.

In many cases, even the mourners themselves are getting dressed up – and not in formal attire, either. At one funeral, the deceased requested that all mourners dress as the Tracy family, characters from the old hit TV show Thunderbirds.

Often the mourners don’t participate directly, but are treated to a bit of a show instead. The list of unorthodox funeral rites is extensive: one client asked to be buried with a framed photo of notorious X Factor judge Simon Cowell, while another requested that their service be turned into a musical, with the eulogy, sermon, and blessings all sung instead of spoken. Yet another had his ashes put into fireworks, so that his mourners could witness his final exit in a shower of light and sparks.

Other unusual requests include the woman who asked for Ricky Martin’s “Living La Vida Loca” to be played during the service, and in another case, a dog lover asked for the ashes of her favourite pet to be buried alongside her.

personalised funerals

Still other clients are unable to have their wishes fulfilled simply because they’re impossible, such as the man who requested that the entirety of John Milton’s 10,000-line epic poem, “Paradise Lost”, be read at his funeral (an excerpt was eventually settled upon).

Unlike in the past, funeral directors are also more willing to get creative when it comes to honouring the wishes of their clients. Emma Simpson, a spokeswoman for a UK funeral home, said that the traditional funeral is not always what clients have in mind.

“For most things in life, it is not a one-size-fits all,” Simpson states. “From music choices to coffin styles, more and more people want to put their own stamp on their final send off. We have encountered moving, beautiful and touching funeral plans which have really tugged on the heartstrings.”

Whatever your vision for a funeral or memorial service, Sussex Funeral Services is happy to help you create a personalised event, designed for the needs of  you and your loved ones. From the traditional to the unusual, we will help you make your vision an actuality.