Spending on funeral “extras” has risen to £2,306 following an annual rise of 11.9%, according to SunLife’s latest Cost of Dying report.
This is the biggest year-on-year rise since 2015, with “send-off costs” now at the highest level since 2009.
The cost of a basic funeral and send-off is now determined to be £6,723, while the overall cost of dying, including professional fees, has risen 3.1% to an all-time high of £9,493.
Meanwhile, seven out of 10 funeral directors said that traditional funerals were more frequently replaced by “more unique requests”, while 79% saw an increase in the number of ‘celebration of life’ funerals. Some 68% also reported a drop in traditional religious services.
One in 10 funeral directors said the deceased had made “specific unusual requests”. These ranged from asking mourners not to wear black, to more unexpected requests, such as having a rubber chicken on the coffin or a SpongeBob Square Pants theme.
SunLife said that these “special requests” and the rise of personalised funerals were “one of the major drivers” behind the rise of send-off costs.
Among these requests were drag-queen performances, a unicorn-drawn hearse, a circus-themed funeral as well as an Only Fools and Horses themed procession.
Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife said: “We have been studying funerals since 2004, and while many are still quite traditional, there are always some great examples of how people make their loved ones’ funerals really personal.
“Perhaps more funerals would be personal if we were better as a nation at talking about death. Our report shows less than one percent of people organising a funeral knew all the deceased wishes, but when asked, most people know exactly what they want for their own funeral, so we really do need to start talking more.”