Cheap Funeral Ideas

A group of people sitting on rocks on top of a hill at sunset with a picnic

Photo by Arthur Poulin on Flickr

With more and more people preferring positive send-offs that reflect the beliefs and personality of their loved one, quirky and colourful funerals are becoming very popular. As the cost of a funeral increases year on year, Funeral Guide has picked out 10 quirky ideas that can make a funeral or memorial service unique, as well as cheaper than a traditional ceremony.

There are lots of ideas for cheap funerals you can take inspiration from, but remember that you don't have to do it by yourself. A funeral director will be happy to provide suggestions themselves and help you arrange a funeral for your loved one that is both personal and affordable.

You can compare funeral directors in your area and find transparent pricing for a simple funeral, as well as burial or cremation, on Funeral Guide.

Where can you hold a cheap funeral?

You can have the service for a funeral in any venue that can accommodate it, including your own home or somewhere that meant a lot to the person who has died, even outside. This can make a funeral a lot cheaper than traditional venues.

photo of mourners attending a funeral outdoors

Photo by Stephan Ridgeway on Flickr

You do not need a licence to hold a funeral service, but you will need permission to use the location, especially if you want to display the coffin at the service.

Decorating a venue yourself, with flowers from your garden and framed photos of your loved one, can also reduce costs and add a personal touch. Many people do this for a wedding, so why not consider doing it for a funeral?

4 women arranging flowers outside on a sunny day

Photo by MollySVH on Flickr

Where can you get cheap funeral transport?

There are lots of different types of hearses and cars you can choose for a funeral procession. Some alternative hearses, such as motorcycles, jeeps or even JCBs, are becoming popular, but they are more expensive than cars, which are usually included in the price of a simple funeral.

If you would like a specific type of vehicle to accompany your loved one on their final journey, but cannot afford a specialist hearse you could ask family or friends who already own an appropriate vehicle, such as members of a motorcycle club, to ride behind a traditional hearse.

frontal view of motorbike club in convoy

Photo by USAG Livorno PAO on Flickr

What ideas are there for cheap funeral music?

If you would love to hear a live performance of your loved one's favourite songs you don't need to hire professional funeral singers. If you know someone who has a good voice then why not ask them to sing a song in place of a reading?

Photo of woman reading music for Amazing Grace, taken from over her shoulder

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr

This might be quite a big ask, especially if the person was close to your loved one as well, so try to be understanding if they refuse. They might know someone else who would be happy to do it.

Anyone who provides their services professionally might expect a fee, but you may be able to negotiate a discount if it is not their main occupation.

Where can you hold cheap funeral receptions?

Even if you decide to use a church or crematorium for the service you can always use a free location for the reception, such as having a picnic in the park. Just remember that public places will be shared by others, such as children or dog-walkers.

If you decide to have the reception at home you can ask people to bring their own food for a pot-luck lunch or dinner.

Photo of batches of hot food on a kitchen work service

Photo by Lindsay Turner on Flickr (cropped)

What other quirky things can you do for a cheap funeral?

Be colourful

Most people wear black to a funeral without even thinking about it. If you want to send a signal that this funeral is going to be different, why not ask mourners to wear colourful clothes that reflect your loved one's tastes?

Seeing everyone else in bright colours or even Hawaiian shirts can create a positive atmosphere of remembrance, without undermining the sadness of your loss.

Farewell gestures

Giving those who attend the funeral small tokens of remembrance to take home with them can be a cheap, personal touch. You could place a bowl of things that remind people of your loved one and their hobbies near the exit so that mourners can take a memento when they leave the venue. Some ideas could be:

  • Their favourite sweets
  • Photocopies of their handwritten recipes
  • Packets of seeds for their favourite flowers
  • Personal items that you won't keep yourself, such as books or fishing flies
  • Betting slips (if they liked a flutter!)

selection of vegetable seed packets on blue table

Photo by Gordon Joly on flickr

Don't do it all at once

You can also spread the cost of a funeral by having the reception at a later date. If your loved one died in January, why not have a simple service at the time and then a barbecue on the beach in July? If they liked fireworks then attending a public display in November or at New Year in their memory is much cheaper than organising one yourself.

Photo of man wearing blue apron cooking at a barbecue; with only lower half of body

Photo by Vincent Kaiman on Unsplash

An evening of stargazing or going on one of their favourite walks can also be a lovely gesture and help people to open up about how much they loved the person.

You could even arrange a charity event for a cause that your loved one cared about, such as a sponsored run or bike ride.

wide shot of people in pink t-shirts running in a race

Photo by Bill Hails on Flickr

The most important aspect of a funeral is that it is a time to bring people together in remembrance of your loved one. Just like any other gathering, there are lots of little things you can do and say to make it personal, different or quirky without spending lots of money.