Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Non-Traditional Funerals Grow In Popularity On The First Coast

Dignity Memorial

No longer wanting their lives remembered with doom and gloom, Baby Boomers are driving an interesting trend–the changing face of funerals.A new survey finds a surprising number of people these days want a non-traditional memorial service for their loved ones, featuring upbeat music, a celebratory tone, food, and even alcohol.

In fact, 42 percent of those under age 35 say they like this approach to a memorial services, but a growing number of older Americans share the sentiment too.

The idea is to celebrate a person’s life in a meaningful and personalized way.

"What people want is something more uplifting," said Jody Brandenburg, president of several Dignity Memorial funeral homes in Jacksonville.  

In response, his team has launched Life Well Celebrated, a program aimed at helping families see the full scope of possibilities in creating a unique memorial service.

What does it mean? Think full catering, festive decorations and an Oldies cover band replacing the muted atmosphere and graveside ceremonies associated with traditional funeral services.

"People–primarily women–who may have just organized a dignified, traditional graveside burial for their mothers are turning around and saying, 'Well, Mom would have loved that. But when it comes time to honor my life, I want just the opposite. I want to have a party that represents me and celebrates the way I’ve lived my life,’” said Brandenburg.

You can follow Melissa Ross @MelissainJax.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.