Forget everything you think you know about the funeral industry.
A recent day out at the National Funeral Exhibition confirmed that sweeping changes continue afoot in the sector – a movement that we at Angel & Dove are proud to be part of.
The old stereotype of dour undertakers persuading families down a well-trodden, uninspiring funeral path is now completely outdated. These days, there are so many individual and inspiring ways to celebrate someone’s life and funeral directors are there to help guide families in creating a funeral that feels right for them and their loved one.
Far from dark and depressing, the show is bright and purposefully family-friendly so I took my husband and 11 year old son along with me. Strolling around the show was a bright and colourful experience, with plenty of rainbow coffins to celebrate Pride month and Union Jacks in honour of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Rainbow woven willow coffin from Ecoffins
As eye-catching as the colour, was the streak of individuality running through the show, with each exhibitor committed to capturing the spirit of lives well lived. From motorcycle hearses to dinosaur coffins, it's clear that these days a funeral can be a true reflection of a person's life, love and passions.
Motorcycle sidecar hearses from Motorcycle Funerals and dinosaur coffin from Colourful Coffins
The National Funeral Exhibition is usually held every two years, but due to the Covid pandemic it has been three years since the industry last came together to share experiences. And what experiences there have been since 2019. An industry that was already starting to steer a new course has had to navigate the stormy waters of a global pandemic, and changes that might have happened gradually over the next few years have suddenly accelerated.
As many families were sadly unable to hold funerals for their loved ones during lockdown, there has been a shift towards celebrations of life, memorials and remembrance services, where families can celebrate and remember the life of their loved one at a later date. This allows more time for planning and often allows for a greater number of guests with family and friends coming from far and wide, which may not have been possible with a funeral at short notice.
American Style Open Casket Coffin and Willow Sailing Boat Urn for Water Burial of Ashes
We were transfixed watching Sarhan from Musgrove Willows deftly weave each layer of the coffin, building it up line by line - each coffin takes hours to weave by hand. Visitors were encouraged to have a go and my son was shown how to make a willow star which he was allowed to take home.
Willow coffin by Musgrove Willows (left) and seagrass and bamboo coffins from JC Atkinson (right)
Another exhibitor had a 'beat the buzzer game' sitting a atop a coffin which was entertaining for children and adults alike, but perhaps the quirkiest was the stand serving visitors drinks from an open coffin bar!
It was lovely to catch up with some of our suppliers and partners, including Cathy from Heart in their Hand, Stephanie from The Candle Urn Company and Amanda from Whiteballoon funeral hub.
The Candle Urn Company (left) and Heart in their Hand (right)
It's wonderful to see the funeral industry bursting with innovation and positivity after the challenges of the last couple of years, with a focus on individuality, choice and sustainability, and we are proud to be part of that change with our collection of contemporary funeral goods and sympathy gifts.
A more modern, approachable funeral industry makes for a friendlier, less fear-filled experience for families and loved ones.
Sorry to have missed you at NFE – it was certainly a wonderful visit to see the trends and options within the profession that we can offer to the public. I even managed a cheeky sit on the motorbike hearse! x