Unique Funeral Options
Personalised funerals for unique loved ones
Your loved one’s funeral should be as unique as he or she was in life. Sonja Smith Elite Funeral Group has assisted families with evening funerals, personalised funerals, living funerals, natural burials or green burials and virtual funerals. Whether you wish to go the route of living funerals where you get to hear your own eulogies and say goodbye to people in person, or natural burials are how you wish to respect the environment on your loved one’s behalf, we can help you arrange it.
Sonja Smith Funeral Group has set a new ‘trend’ in the funeral profession in South Africa where people now specifically request an evening funeral for themselves or their loved ones. Our first evening funeral was done with candles and choir music, commencing at 19:00 in the evening in a church where the lights were dimmed to create an ambience that exceeded all expectations.
Watching the reactions of the family & friends after the memorial service, made Sonja realize that there is something very, very special about Evening Funerals.
It has since become more popular with many clients specifically requesting such a service.
Personalising a final tribute can be very helpful in trying to make sense of what we cannot control. It could be something small such as having the Deceased’s favourite song played at the funeral, or it could be a theme that runs throughout the whole funeral which relates to the Deceased’s hobbies, for example collecting butterflies.
There are also some essential choices you will need to make such as selecting a coffin or casket, dressing the deceased, and the outlay of the funeral programme. Personalising the funeral provides an opportunity to create a unique tribute to the person who has died and we will help you through the entire experience.
Personalisation is the key to creating a meaningful and memorable Celebration of Life service!
Sonja Smith Elite Funeral Group introduced Green Funerals to the South African Funeral Industry. It provides the deceased with one last way in which they and their families can respect the environment. Green burials are also called natural burials and minimise the negative environmental effects that a burial can have. Watch Sonja speak on national television about Eco-friendly burials on the programme Issues of Faith.
To assist in a green burial, we offer Natural Woven Products as part of our range of coffins.
Green Funerals Baskets And Coffins
Each one of our environmentally friendly Seagrass coffins has been intricately handwoven by skilled basket makers making each coffin unique, special, and a personal tribute to a loved one. The local woven coffins are made by blind weavers enabling them to work for a living.
Our Seagrass material is renowned for its quality and durability, which makes it an ideal material for woven products. As their name implies, Seagrass is indeed a grass, and seawater does play a part in the production. Once harvested, Seagrass is dried and then spun into a strong yarn ready for weaving.
During Covid lockdowns, we realised how much we take attending a funeral for granted. The funeral of a loved one is an important step in our grieving where we can say goodbye and equally give and receive support to others that knew the Deceased.
Modern technology has made it possible for us to hold virtual and/or hybrid funerals so every person that wishes to can attend the service.
Sonja Smith Elite Funeral Group can assist you with all the additional elements of holding a virtual or hybrid funeral, so you don’t have a moment of worry about the technology, platform, and practical arrangements that are needed.
A Living Funeral is a gathering centred on someone who will soon die.
Also called a pre-funeral, or in Japan; a Seizenso. It may be beneficial to the person’s psychological state and also that of the dying person’s family to attend the living funeral. It could also be used as a time to read the will and explain the reasons behind some of the decisions contained within it.
A living funeral is usually done by someone who knows that he or she does not have much time left to live. It could be held for a person who is terminally ill or someone who is at an old age – the person knows death is near and could use it as closure. It is used to celebrate a life well-lived.
The living funeral is more meaningful because it allows the opportunity for a Toast to Memorable Moments. A living funeral is the grandest celebration of a person’s life, with a twist— he/she is alive and present to hear the eulogies, praises, and farewells given before death. If you know your time is short, why wait? The funeral in living funeral tends to raise eyebrows because family members feel like they’re digging the grave too early, but quite the contrary. A gathering to eulogize and celebrate one’s life before he or she dies is the antithesis.
Mark Twain, one of the greatest authors in American history, portrayed his fascination with eavesdropping on his own funeral in the novel “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” He said, “It was the proudest moment of his whole life.” Today, more & more people are toasting and roasting family members and friends with limited time left. Some ceremonies look like a cross between a wedding and a funeral.
These formal or informal get-togethers take place at a home, community centre, house of worship, hotel banquet hall, a favourite restaurant, or even a theatre. The honouree could be dressed in everything from pyjamas to a tuxedo. Others prefer a more sombre look. The gathering becomes a stage for people to share memories, sometimes songs, poems and lifetime achievement awards that express: Thank you, I love you, I’ll remember you. And goodbye. One of the more famous living funerals was that for Morrie Schwartz which was documented in both the book and film Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man, Life’s Greatest Lessons by Mitch Albom. Five million copies of this book were sold and it was a Best Seller.
Morrie Schwartz, dying of a disease, goes to a funeral and realizes that his late friend didn’t get to hear all of the wonderful speeches so he decides to have a funeral before his death. He invited his family and friends to come to his home and say the things they would’ve said at his funeral. The honouree is the guest of honour at his/her own living funeral, and it is a good idea to give an opportunity to anyone who wishes to say something to do so at that point in time. “Speak now or forever hold your peace…” There is no better time to express love, gratitude and all those things we should’ve, would’ve, or could’ve said if we found the right time.
A living funeral is the way to go!
These celebrations help families prepare for the inevitable, and bond while focusing on life when they often feel helpless in the face of death. A living funeral is not for everyone…
Only for those who are easily satisfied with the very best…