New and Emerging Funeral Trends – 2021

The funeral industry is changing. People are beginning to think differently about how they want their loved ones to honour their lives and with these altered perceptions comes new and emerging funeral trends. 

Such changes mean people have more freedom to opt for a meaningful funeral that is personal to them and reflects their wishes. Here we explain the latest and emerging trends in order to help you understand the potential options available to you.

funeral trends

Direct Cremation

One of the new and emerging funeral trends is the popularity of direct cremation. More people are choosing simpler, affordable send-offs like a direct cremation which is offered in our Simple Plan. A direct cremation significantly reduces funeral costs because it provides just the essential elements of a funeral. The advantage of this option is that the family can hold on to the ashes for however long they like, or until they want to hold a memorial service or scatter them. To see the best places to scatter ashes see here.

Celebration of Life is Increasingly Popular

According to the Sun Life Cost of Dying report, 50% of all funeral services were described as Celebration of Life ceremonies in 2020. A celebration of life service is an opportunity for family and loved ones to say goodbye in an immensely personal way. The ceremony is often positive and without the rules of a traditional service, with attendees encouraged to dress in bright colours or untraditional attire.

A Celebration of Life can be held at a place which reflects your loved ones favourite spot, hobby, or location such as a pub, beach, or sporting event. Due to the increasing popularity of direct cremations people are opting to hold a Celebration of Life at a later date to replace the traditional service.

Humanist Ceremony

A humanist ceremony is a non religious service for those who do not hold any religious beliefs. It focuses on the life that has been led as opposed to following a traditional format. Much like a celebration of life, it recognises the loss and the grieving of loved ones but also focuses on the positive aspect of celebrating their life.


The rise in technology has resulted in a number of cultural shifts throughout society, one of these shifts being present in the funeral industry. The most common change is that people – particularly the younger generation – are using social media sites like Facebook to invite people to a funeral service. Unlike newspapers, online obituaries/invites are cheaper and do not have time or word restrictions, giving people much more flexibility.

Green funerals

A green funeral incorporates environmentally-friendly options for those conscious of their environmental impact. Depending on preferences, a green funeral can include: use of recycled paper products, organic flowers, a small gathering in a natural setting, no embalming, the use of biodegradable clothing, shroud or casket, and a green burial.

Should you have any questions about how our funeral plans can fulfill your funeral wishes, then please do contact us or call our advisors on 0800 411 8683. Our team is eager to answer any questions and offer information to those of you looking to plan your own funeral.

We can also assist with Wills, Inheritance Planning, Probate, and LPAs.

*All facts and figures are from the Sun Life Cost of Dying 2021 report.