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Alternate Funeral Program Themes

Updated on September 4, 2014

While funerals and memorial services are typically religious in nature, more and more individuals today -- specifically Baby Boomers -- want non-traditional, alternative celebrations for their final arrangements. Somber church services have been replaced with pomp and circumstance, and instead of mourning a loved one who died, friends and family members celebrate the life he or she led.

Today's alternative funerals and memorial services are held anywhere people gather: Golf courses, parks, gardens, libraries, sports complexes, etc. While it is still expected and healthy for guests to grieve the deceased person, these ceremonies allow them to spend more time honoring and memorializing his or her life. Religious hymns have been replaced by popular or sentimental songs, and anecdotes or stories about your loved one's life replaces Biblical readings and scriptures.

Creating funeral programs for this type of alternative ceremony shouldn't be tasking. There are plenty of non-spiritual poems, images, songs and quotes that are appropriate to use, many of which relate to nature or the deceased person's hobbies, employment or interests. They aren't necessarily solemn, but rather upbeat or sanguine. Take a look at these funeral program examples if you need some additional information about creating alternative funeral programs.


Overall Themes

Even before deciding on the poems or images for the alternative funeral program, you will want to choose an overall theme, which typically sets the mood for the funeral as well. This usually revolves around a popular interest or hobby of the deceased person. For example, if your loved one was an avid theater buff, think about creating a funeral program that is similar to a playbill. Highlight important biographical data the way a musical or play is outlined. Include photos from your loved one's life, as well as quotes or songs from a few favorite productions.

If you are looking for a theme that is not so flashy, consider one centered around nature. Whether you are creating your own program or having it done for you, the choices for this topic are endless. Some ideas for themes include:

  • Beaches
  • Camping
  • Space
  • Animals
  • Flowers
  • Sunrise/sunset
  • Trees
  • Rainbows
  • Water (oceans/rivers/waterfalls)
  • Weather (sun/clouds/rain)

More topics to contemplate when creating a non-religious or alternative funeral program include:

  • Hobbies: This can include sports, photography, gardening, music, movies, etc.
  • Pets: Dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, hamsters, etc.
  • Collection hobbies: Coin, antiques, stamps, etc.
  • Military: Photos, memorabilia and commendations from the deceased person's life

Putting Your Ideas on Paper

Once you decide on a funeral program theme, you can download simple templates that will allow you to put your ideas on paper. Besides having a good computer and printer, you may also want to invest in a good scanner to scan in any images or pieces of art. Don't be afraid to create something different especially if it represents your lost loved one.


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