Non-traditional funerals, also called celebrations of life, are becoming more popular as people look for ways to personalize the send-off for their loved ones. As people plan for their funerals or prepare for those of loved ones, there is an increasing belief that the ceremony should  be celebrating life instead of mourning a death.

To that end, more and more people are opting for alternative celebrations of life, allowing you to choose one that fits your personality.

Here's our short guide to a few of the most popular alternatives to traditional burials and cremations.

Non-religious funerals | Celebrations of Life

It is possible to book a celebrant to guide your funeral in a non-religious way. Whether you are an atheist, humanist, or any other ideology, a non-religious funeral can be just as dignified and respectful. In most ways, the service is the same. Expect a tribute, music, and readings from loved ones, along with moments of silence to reflect on the life of those that have gone. You can book a local humanist celebrant to lead your celebration for burials or cremations.

Direct cremation

Direct cremation is an increasingly popular choice for funerals, with the ashes usually kept in an urn. Many modern cremation urns are available, so you can find one that perfectly suits your loved one. Cremation is generally cheaper than a traditional burial, especially for direct cremations, where there is no service, and the ashes are returned to the family.

Knowing what to do with cremation ashes can be difficult, as many options are available. You can scatter them in a special place, have them made into jewelry, or opt to keep the ashes of your loved ones with you. Deciding what to do with ashes can be a decision that takes months or years, although we suggest that you don't wait too long. Our beautiful modern Planturns cremation urns made from local and sustainably sourced lumber make an elegant way to house your dearly departed at your celebration of life. You never knew a cremation urn could look so good.

Woodland Burial

Alternative to traditional funeral | Cremation Urn

A growing number of sites across the USA offer woodland burial. This natural and eco-friendly option involves being buried in a designated woodland area without a coffin. Instead, you may be wrapped in a shroud or simple cloth. Woodland burials are often less expensive than traditional funerals and have the added benefit of being eco-friendly.

To achieve a woodland burial requires doing some investigation into which companies offer the option locally. Once you have found a site, you can pre-book your spot, so your family knows what to do when the time comes.


Choosing the right alternative to a traditional funeral can be very personal. For those left behind, this can be a challenging time and deciding how to celebrate the life of their lost loved ones can be a daunting task. We hope this guide has given you some ideas about the options available and what might be the best fit for you and your family.