Planning Your Own Funeral

Choosing a Coffin Topper

What are coffin toppers, and do you need one when it's time to say goodbye to a departed loved one? Arranging a coffin topper isn't complicated, but when you go with a non-traditional choice, there can be some thought involved when choosing the item that should sit atop the coffin during the service.

Decorative or Symbolic

Coffin toppers are appropriate for both burials and cremations since they will be removed prior to either a burial or cremation. They're essentially an object that can be either purely decorative or have a particular symbolism.

A Floral Topper

A traditional coffin topper is a wreath of flowers, decoratively arranged and placed on top of the coffin during the funeral service. Such an embellishment is fairly commonplace, but they are entirely optional. There's absolutely nothing wrong with conducting a funeral service where the top of the coffin is bare. The choice of the flowers can be funereal in nature, or this might be the time where you'll want to display a particular bloom that you know your loved one was fond of. Still, there's no reason why a coffin topper needs to be flowers.

Patriotism and Pride

A national flag can be a nice choice when your loved one was patriotic, and while this might be associated with those who served in the military, it's not the exclusive domain of the armed forces. The Australian flag (or the flag of your loved one's birth country) can be draped atop the coffin to show their pride. A cloth coffin topper is always an ideal choice, and you could also use a jersey of your loved one's favourite team. 

Beliefs and Passions

You're not limited to flowers or something that can be draped over the coffin. You might wish to choose a physical object that reflects the belief and passions of the deceased. This could be a book that held particular meaning to them, or even an item that they were proud of and wore often, such as a piece of jewellery. It doesn't matter if the chosen item has been bequeathed to someone since it will be removed after the service and certainly won't be making the final trip with the coffin.

The Lighthearted Approach

If you can't think of an appropriate item that will summarise the deceased (and this can be difficult), there's also the option of taking a lighthearted approach. Maybe a final glass of their favourite wine or a bottle of beer as one final toast to their life. The lighthearted approach requires some discretion, and you will need to think if the deceased would have appreciated the humour involved.

A personalised coffin topper can help to reflect the individuality of the person you're saying goodbye to, and it doesn't have to be complicated.

To learn more about burials and coffin toppers, contact a funeral home in your area.