To those who work in the memorial industry, it comes as no surprise that a shift is happening in the way our culture commemorates loved ones. In past decades, funerals and other rituals following death were a somber experience focused on the past. Today, more families are viewing death as the natural part of life that it is. The current end-of-life customs reflect the cultural change and are decidedly more celebratory, focusing on the positive aspects of a person’s life and lifting loved ones’ spirits. The atmosphere is typically celebratory and joyful rather than mournful. The trend toward celebration shows no signs of slowing, so how can those in the memorial industry embrace the trend and incorporate it into their current offerings? Here, we offer insights on the trend and how memorial businesses can respond.
Understand the research
Today’s memorial consumer finds celebration to be an important part of the end-of-life journey. According to recent findings from Coldspring and Hanover Research, celebration has high consideration among the Silent and Baby Boomer generations, and this demographic preference will slightly increase over time.
Although traditional practices such as religious ceremonies and funerals will remain important, Millennials are much more open to embracing celebration and non-traditional modes of memorialization including biological markers, virtual markers, travel, and non-religious ceremonies. According to the research, 68% of Millennials and 65% of Gen X-ers are significantly more likely to have a highly positive perception of celebrations. But among all the generations, celebration is perceived positively as a memorialization option. The understanding that “the end of a life is the time to celebrate that life” is rapidly becoming the norm.
Incorporate celebration as a new business option
As cemeteries and funeral homes embrace celebration, what is their role organizing these functions? New opportunities are presenting themselves for funeral directors to serve families in commemorating their loved ones with a joyful experience.
Celebrations of life can take place almost anywhere the family chooses, often outside the constraints of traditional locations such as funeral homes or churches. To create a more informal experience for an end-of-life celebration, consider outdoor areas on your property that could be easily transformed. Do you have a signature grove of trees? A stream on your property? With a few modifications, a currently unused alfresco area could be fashioned into a venue for those who desire a casual setting to celebrate. Or consider partnering with alternative venues and caterers to create the celebration experience families are seeking.
However you embrace celebration, natural stone fountains, water features, and cremation boulders, benches and pillars can be incorporated into the design to create a beautiful backdrop that can provide an opportunity for permanent memorialization. An outdoor venue could make an ideal location for a bronze butterfly garden as an additional option to cremation boulders for those who choose cremation.
Continuing the theme of creating a celebration space and bringing families together, consider an unused indoor area for an informal venue. With a few updates, an existing space could easily transform into a casual reception area where family members and loved ones can gather, share stories and celebrate the person’s end-of-life journey.
Tell your loved one’s story
One of the best ways for a family to celebrate a life well lived is by telling their loved one’s story. Tools such as Coldspring’s Personal Reflections® online selection platform help families create customized memorials that tell the story of their loved one’s life and make the process simple. Complete with an interactive interface and real-time memorial design rendering, Personal Reflections streamlines the process. Families can incorporate images, personal verses, and other emblems for a better more enhanced experience.
As you explore the possibilities for incorporating new options into your memorial business’ offerings, remember today’s memorial consumer finds celebration to be an important part of the end-of-life journey. The trend toward a celebratory and joyful, rather than mournful, commemoration will continue as culture shifts toward new values surrounding death.
To learn more about how to embrace the celebration trend, contact your Coldspring representative today.