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Thinking Beyond the Casket: Unconventional Funeral Ideas in Melbourne


Hey there. I’m Klara McMurray, your local funeral director and funeral celebrant based in Melbourne. If you’ve stumbled upon this blog, you’re probably someone who’s ready to think outside the casket – pun intended. In this post, we’re going to dive headfirst into the world of unconventional funeral ideas and help you realise the broad scope of possibilities in a traditionally conservative industry.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. 

Funeral services are meant to be sombre affairs, right? 

Well, hold on to your hats, because Melbourne is home to a vibrant and diverse community, and our funeral ideas are no exception. 

So, whether you’re planning for yourself or a special person, let’s explore some creative and unique ways to celebrate life, because, in the end; it’s all about celebrating the journey we’ve had.

Artistic Farewells

Melbourne has a thriving arts scene, and what better way to celebrate a life lived than through the arts Imagine a memorial service in an art gallery, surrounded by paintings, sculptures, and installations. 

It’s like saying goodbye in the midst of a colourful, living tapestry.

You could pay tribute to your person by commissioning a local artist to create a personalized piece of art that reflects their life, passions, and quirks. 

It’s a beautiful way to celebrate their unique journey and the impact they’ve had on the world.

Side note: My very first funeral as a celebrant was for a woman who was an avid painter.
Her adult children wanted her send off to reflect how she lived her vibrant, artistic, fiercely independent life.

So, we held it in a gallery in Melbourne’s inner north and the kids filled the walls with her artwork.

The room was packed with friends and fans and I wore hot pink heels in tribute to her snappy fashion taste.

The fun and fabulous music, finger food and endless drinks made it feel more like a party than a funeral and everyone in attendance thought it was perfect.

Food for thought.

Beachside Memorials

Now, this is one of my personal favourites. 
Melbourne (and greater Victoria) boasts some amazing beaches, and what could be more extraordinary than a beachside memorial or an outdoor funeral

Picture it: friends and family gathering on the sandy shores, the sound of the waves in the background, and the sun setting over the horizon. 

It’s the perfect setting to remember a life filled with sunshine and beach vibes.

You can release biodegradable lanterns or flowers into the ocean, write heartfelt messages in the sand, release ashes (make sure they’re treated to be biodegradable) or simply share stories while you watch the waves. 

It’s an unconventional yet incredibly touching way to say goodbye.

This option can be considered after holding a direct cremation, or having the coffin present.

Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done.

And if standing on the sand ‘aint your thing, there are a myriad of great venues that can accommodate your funeral service (even with coffin present) where you can look at the surf without having to brave any elements or sand in your shoes.

Surf clubs are also a great option as a funeral venue; welcoming, inclusive and with stunning million-dollar views!

Themed Funerals: Embracing Individuality

Life is a mosaic of passions and interests, so why not reflect that in the way we say goodbye? 

Themed funerals are becoming increasingly popular in Melbourne, allowing families to celebrate their person’s unique interests and hobbies.

For instance, if they were a movie buff, you could organize a Hollywood-themed funeral complete with red carpets, popcorn, and a screening of their favourite film. 

Or, if they were a nature enthusiast, consider a woodland-themed memorial in one of Melbourne’s lush parks or up in the Dandenong Ranges, Werribee Gorge or Macedon Region.

Themed funerals offer a chance to celebrate the individuality of the person we’re saying goodbye to and make the service feel more like a joyful tribute than a sombre occasion.

Music: The Universal Language of Remembrance

Music has an incredible power to evoke emotions and memories. 

We all know that.

Consider having a musical memorial service where friends and family come together to celebrate through song. 

You can invite local musicians or bands to perform your person’s favourite tunes, creating an atmosphere of love and harmony.

If they were a musician themselves, I highly recommend playing a few of their songs throughout. There is no better way to remember their talents and appreciate the legacy they have left.

One idea is to create a playlist of songs that remind you of your person’s journey through life. 

Each song can tell a different part of their story, and it’s a unique way to celebrate their legacy.

The Pressure to Conform

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room – the pressure to conform to traditional funeral norms. 

It’s a real thing, folks. 

Society often expects us to follow certain customs and rituals when it comes to funerals and many funeral directors will send you straight down that path without waiting for you to catch your breath.

But here’s the truth: there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to saying goodbye.

I’ve heard countless stories from families who felt the weight of tradition bearing down on them, pressuring them into following the same old script. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Samantha’s Story

Samantha, a dear friend of mine, lost her father unexpectedly. 

The traditional funeral setup didn’t resonate with her family’s beliefs and values. 

So, they decided to honour her father’s memory in a way that felt right to them. 

They held a memorial at a local botanical garden, with friends and family wearing colourfulclothing and sharing stories of their adventures with her dad.

Samantha’s family received some raised eyebrows and puzzled looks, but they remained resolute in their decision. 

And guess what? It turned out to be one of the most beautiful and heartfelt farewells I’ve ever witnessed. 

It was uniquely them, just as her father had been.

Staying True to Your Wishes

The bottom line is this: you are the client and it’s your person’s farewell. 

The most important thing is that it reflects their life, values, and personality. 

So, don’t be afraid to think beyond the casket and explore unconventional ideas that resonate with you and your family.

Melbourne is a city of diversity, creativity, and individuality, and that should extend to the way we celebrate life’s journey. 

So, the next time you find yourself at a crossroads when planning a funeral, remember these suggestions and stories and know that countless others have chosen to shun the funeral norms and stay true to their wishes. 

Celebrate life in a way that feels right to you, because, in the end, it’s the memories, the love, and the uniqueness of the farewell that truly matters.

If you’re ready to embark on an unconventional and memorable journey to celebrate someone’s life or your own, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Picaluna are here to help you create a farewell that’s as unique and special as the life it honours.

Cheers to thinking beyond the casket and celebrating life in true Melbourne style!

Klara McMurray

Funeral Celebrant & Director

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