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What Are the Alternatives to a Funeral?

Are you planning your funeral or that of a loved one? You don’t have to organize a traditional funeral service where people dress in black or white clothes. You can decide not to have a funeral at all. 

Alternative funerals are becoming popular as people opt for newer and simpler ways to say their final goodbyes. Some ideas include a simple funeral service, cremation, or a DIY funeral. We’ll share some ideas to inspire you and help you find the right fit for your needs.

Alternative Funeral Ideas

What are the alternatives to a funeral? They include:

  1. Cremation
  2. Woodland burial
  3. Humanist funeral
  4. DIY funeral

1. Cremation

Cremation is an affordable funeral alternative. All you have to do is take the body to a crematorium, then wait for the ashes. Some crematoriums allow family members to view the process from a chamber, while others don’t allow mourners. 

You can keep the ashes at home in an urn, then hold a memorial service later. You can also scatter them around the deceased’s favourite spot. Before scattering ash, check whether there’re local rules guiding the activity.

2. Woodland Burial

Also known as a green funeral or a natural burial, a woodland burial is an eco-friendly alternative to a funeral. If the deceased were a nature lover or a climate activist, this option would suit them.

The burial takes place in a forest or a meadow, and the body is placed in a biodegradable coffin. Because you want the body to deteriorate and mix with the soil, embalming isn’t required. After the burial, you can plant a tree or a flower on the spot instead of a headstone. 

3. Humanist Funeral

A humanist funeral isn’t necessarily for humanists. It’s for anyone who doesn’t want a religious service. So, you shouldn’t expect Bible readings and hymns. Instead, the funeral features eulogies from loved ones and music for sober reflection.

A family member or a local humanist celebrant can arrange the ceremony outdoors or in a crematorium.

4. DIY Funeral

A do-it-yourself funeral doesn’t require assistance from a funeral home director. Instead, the family members do the paperwork, take care of the body, buy the casket, and transport the body to the burial plot. 

The ceremony can include religious or non-religious activities. The upside of planning it yourself is that it allows you to do one last thing for the deceased. In addition, it may be cost-effective, depending on the burial arrangements.


It’s up to you to decide how you want to bury your loved one or plan your funeral. Alternatives to a funeral, such as cremation, woodland, humanist, and DIY burials, are legal and cost-effective. Each option allows you to personalize the funeral so that you can gain closure and grief as you deem fit.