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New Dignity Memorial® Network Poll Illustrates Changing Face of Funerals

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SOURCE Dignity Memorial

Preference for non-traditional funerals trending among Atlanta residents under 35, seniors not far behind

ATLANTA, March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Funeral attendees in Atlanta may increasingly find that full catering, festive decorations and a blues band have replaced the muted atmosphere and graveside ceremonies associated with traditional funeral services, according to survey results released today.

More than one in three Atlanta residents (37 percent) said they would choose to have a non-traditional memorial or life celebration over a traditional funeral service, according to the Dignity Memorial National Opinion Index, a poll of consumer preferences on the topic.

The desire for a non-traditional ceremony was most prominent among respondents under age 35 (40 percent). However, individuals over 55 years old are also driving the trend, as more than one out of three (36 percent) said they want a non-traditional service.

The survey also showed Atlanta is keeping pace with national opinions; 37 percent of respondents nationwide desire non-traditional services. The trend is only gaining momentum, according to local industry experts.

"It may sound unorthodox to have a funeral that feels more like a party than a burial, but we're hearing more and more from our client families that that's what they want – a true celebration of their life," said David Hass, managing director of the local Dignity Memorial network, which owns 35 funeral homes and cemeteries throughout Atlanta and commissioned the poll. "It may include beloved family pets, favorite hobbies and pastimes or even a classic rock n' roll band, but we know that people are starting to look for fresh ways to honor their passing."

In response to the public's changing preferences, local Dignity Memorial providers recently launched Life Well Celebrated, a marketing program featuring BBQ-and vintage motorcycle-themed life celebrations on the website and other materials. The program aims to help local families visualize the range of possibilities in planning a personalized memorial, one that speaks to a celebration of life.

According to Atlanta survey respondents, the top characteristics of non-traditional funerals include a celebratory tone and upbeat atmosphere, non-religious music, decorations other than flowers, and food and alcohol served at the event.

Still, when it comes to planning a meaningful life celebration, there's no recipe for just one right way to do it, Hass said.

"We've been in this business long enough to know that the possibilities are virtually limitless for creating the funeral or burial that's not only professional and carefully thought-out, but fitting for you as an individual," said Hass. "Our client families are really responding to the idea of a personalized celebration. People come up with the most unique ideas when they're really welcomed to explore and show some creativity."

About the Dignity Memorial network

The Dignity Memorial network of more than 2,000 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers is North America's most trusted resource for funeral and memorialization services. Dignity Memorial providers offer an unmatched combination of products and locations serving families with care, integrity, respect and service excellence. For more information, visit


Annie Alley

Editor's note: Data source – Dignity Memorial Network. The Dignity Memorial National Opinion Index involved a total of 2,200 online interviews conducted by FBK Research in December 2013 with members of the Survey Sampling, International (SSI) online panel of respondents.  Six hundred interviews were conducted with a representative sample of consumers 18 years of age or older living in the United States.  Further, 400 interviews were conducted with consumers 18 years of age or older in each of four markets: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Nashville, and Oklahoma City. All tests were run at the 95% level of confidence.

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