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Planning a Funeral – New Ways to Say Your Final Farewell

16 Nov 2017

While we all enjoy celebrating life’s milestones – birthdays, weddings, the birth of a new child, etc – there’s one major event we find difficult to talk about, let alone plan: a funeral.

Saying farewell to a loved one can be very stressful, especially if you are the one who is charged with organising the memorial service. There’s a lot to consider, from the location of the service, the casket cost and the funeral announcement through to who will speak at the ceremony and what music (if any) will be played. 

Traditionally, funeral services are held in funeral homes, crematoriums, at the graveside or in houses of worship. But there are an increasing number of alternative ways to say goodbye to a loved one, ranging from cheap and cheerful to out of this world, literally!

Going Green

For the environmentally conscious, a growing number of cemeteries are offering ‘green’ burials. The intent is to have as little impact on the earth as possible. Green caskets are made from sustainably produced, ‘low impact’ materials, such as bamboo, hemp or even recycled cardboard. Rather than a marble headstone, grave markers in green cemeteries are usually naturally occurring elements, such as trees, rocks or flowers. Although the burial costs are typically cheaper and there is no requirement for headstone or burial vault, green funerals can still end up costing around the same as a traditional cremation or burial. For example, the casket cost for a green funeral can range anywhere between $1,300 up to $3,000, depending on the material used.

A Big Bang

Scattering a loved one’s ashes has become quite a common way of saying a final farewell, but some are taking this to new heights, incorporating their ashes in a fireworks display. Providers of this service pack the ashes into specially designed fireworks, creating a colourful display above the heads of mourners. The display is typically accompanied by a service that celebrates the person’s life and can even be choreographed to their favourite music. The fireworks funeral cost varies depending on where it will be held and the length of the display but in Australia this type of service starts from around $1,900.

To Infinity and Beyond

You can take the sky-high theme one step further and commemorate the dearly departed with a Lunar Memorial. For around $10,000, on top of the funeral costs, a portion of your loved one’s remains can be placed aboard a space shuttle bound for the moon and left on the lunar landscape as a perpetual reminder of their life. The only downside is that you are bound by the shuttle launch schedules and so you may have to wait a few years before you can say your final goodbye.

Diamonds are Forever

If you want to carry your loved one close to your heart forever, why not get their ashes transformed into a diamond pendant to wear around your neck! For roughly the same cost as a regular gemstone, specialist laboratories extract carbon from the ashes and turn this into a memorial diamond. A one carat white diamond will set you back over $25,000 plus the cost of the final setting. Compare this to the average cost of cremation in Australia – between $4,500 and $5,500 – and up to $7,500 for burial costs and you’re looking at a serious jump in funeral expenses. But you will have a truly lasting memorial that can be passed down through the generations.

However you choose to say goodbye, you want to make sure money is not an issue. If you don’t think your family would be able to meet this cost or if you don’t want them to have to worry about it, funeral insurance may be something to consider.