5 ideas for using all the senses to create a No Fuss Funeral

6 shining brass singing bowls for a gong bath a person is out of view cross legged playing themm

No Fuss Funerals can be super creative, especiallly so if you choose an unusual venue like a retreat centre, a pub, a beautiful garden or a Woodland Burial site.

Use all the senses at your No Fuss Funeral

Think of all the senses! Include all or some of them as you think about getting creative with your No Fuss Funeral. Touch, Taste, Sight, Sound and Smell can all be incoporporated.

We all know that we can shift a mood by lighting a space with scented candles or even just choosing particular flowers but there is so much more you can do. The main objective really is to ensure that everyone feels safe enough to experience their emotions.

Warm candles in glass jars with pink roses and white table cloths

The reason we engage all of the senses at a Funeral is so that we can experience and feel our emotions. It also helps us to remain present in the moment.

I have been doing this one way or another for 11 years now as a Funeral Celebrant and prior to that when I was a part of a Church Community. I wanted to share some of my knowledge with you so that you can use it to create your DIY Funeral ceremony or No Fuss Funeral.

Here are some great ways to involve all the senses in your No Fuss Funeral

As I have already said, a really simple rule when finding your creativity is to think about the five senses. They are like a portal into a world of sensory delight which translates into an engagement with meaning and place. This is perfect for a funeral ceremony.

Two cups of tea  and cinnamon buns in a beautiful light with a cactus

Involving the sense of Sight at a No Fuss Funeral

As a general rule of thumb at a Funeral Ceremony it is best to ensure that all of your visual represent the person who has died in some way. Whether you like them or not is irrelevant really.

Here are some ways in which the sense of sight can enhance a creative No Fuss Funeral. 


  • Choose a beautiful setting
  • Decide upon a colour theme
  • Bring flowers into the space
  • Create a slideshow
  • Bring paintings or artworks that were loved by your person
A brightly coloured feather dream catcher.

Touch at your No Fuss Funeral

Using our sense of touch doesn’t have to mean asking everyone to hug each other at a funeral! Here we are also talking about texture.  Here are some ideas for how to engage the sense of touch at your No Fuss Funeral.

    • Beads are a great example of the use of texture to connect us to our bodies and feelings, they have historically been used in Religious settings. It would be unusual to bring strings of beads to a funeral ceremony but having something tactile for people to hold is especially helpful. This is often particularly helpful for Neurodiverse people.
    • Holding hands around the coffin is something my clients often do
    • Using oil to ‘annoint’ in a new creative way sounds surprising in White British Culture but actually there is a great historical precedent.
    • Traditionally ‘washing’ and ‘water’ are elements that are used in ceremonies and you can reclaim those too
    • Textured fabrics can be incorporated in any way from ribbon, tartan, hessian or even cosy blankets if you are outside.

    The sense of Sound at your No Fuss Funeral

    The sense of sound is probably the most familiar sense that we would think about when discussing funerals. Obviously we usually play music but there are a few other ways that we can use our sense of sound in a No Fuss Funeral.

    • I love a Singing Bowl and I use mine a lot for ‘gathering’ people 
    • Windchimes hanging in the trees at a Woodland Burial sound magical.
    • Music played live by musicians brings great vitality to any funeral ceremony.
    • Being in a space with birdsong or water is very healing
    • And finally …SILENCE is probably the most powerful use of our sense of sound at a Ceremony,

    How to incoporate the sense of Taste at your No Fuss Funeral

    You probably haven’t thought very much about the use of taste in Funeral Ceremonies but actually we can use food and drink in a No Fuss Funeral Ceremony and before or afterwards.

    Lots of people raising a toast of champagne glasses and gold confetti

    Incorporating food and drink into the ceremony itself is something I have seen done in a number of ways.

    Sometimes the funeral ceremony is even created so that it also involves a break for food. If it was up to me it wouldn’t involve meats like these but this is a display from a funeral picnic perfect for a person who loved pork pies.

    Platters of delicatessen  meats with melon and fruit for No Fuss Funerals.
    • Try thinking about your No Fuss Funeral differently. You can structure the ceremony with Cabaret tables and have an Open Mic if you like and involve food.
    • At one funeral ceremony I did we had little bags of sweets in pink and white striped bags on the pews because she loved boiled sweeties.
    • Cakes feature in some of my client’s No Fuss Funerals
    • A Funeral Ceremony I created for a young man had Baileys shots at the opening of the ceremony
    • It is not uncommon to have a ‘toast’ with some bubbles to honour the person who has died.

    The sense of smell at a No Fuss Funeral

    Churches do ‘smell’ really well and I don’t just mean that smell of centuries of dust and damp.  Churches understand the need for drama, and incense creates a sense of drama.

    Most religions use incense for purification, other cultures use sage or Paulo Santo sticks. It makes sense to me to reclaim the concept of using smell in our secular funeral ceremonies.

    Try these!

    • Incense burning beside a photo of the person who has died
    • An aromatherapy burner with a particularly relevant oil, like rosemary for remembrance
    • A handkerchief for each person with the perfume of the person on it
    • Scented candles burning when people arrive
    • I have seen bunches of herbs used to cover the coffin and this is also a common practic historically.
    An incense stick in a beautiful photo with rose petals on a zen background

    I hope these creative ways of using our senses give you some ideas for your No Fuss Funeral Ceremony!

    A beautiful hand made wreath using feathers and willow hanging in a tree