Posted by Belinda Forbes
As a secular funeral celebrant, I’ve noticed a growing trend for colour at funerals – this could be a general request to wear bright colours or a suggestion to wear something in a particular colour. At one young man’s funeral, the theme was yellow: as well as people wearing yellow ties and scarves, there were yellow flowers covering the coffin; each person who spoke held a sunflower and we all sang Coldplay’s Yellow. At another, the coffin was purple and adorned with purple feathers and balloons – the mourners were dressed in shades of lilac and purple.
This can, of course, be fraught with difficulties – many people take great comfort from tradition and the “respect” of wearing black. Six people carrying the coffin wearing Man U shirts with the deceased’s name on the back is not for everyone. And what about the people who didn’t realise that the dress code was “wear something red”? Suddenly the respectful black tie looks out of place.
However, as I look out from the lectern, it is surprisingly moving to see all the men wearing pink ties. As we become used to each funeral being a unique and personal event, we will make sure to find out if there is a dress code. Instead of feeling uncomfortable in our colourful clothes on a drizzly day outside the crematorium, we can feel proud that we are honouring the wishes of the person whose life we are there to commemorate.
Belinda Forbes is a secular celebrant working in Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey. Her website is: