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SOURCE Dignity Memorial network
Preference for non-traditional funerals trending among Oklahoma City residents under 35, seniors not far behind
OKLAHOMA CITY, Feb. 11, 2014 Funeral attendees in Oklahoma City may increasingly find that full catering, festive decorations and a Western swing band have replaced the muted atmosphere and graveside ceremonies associated with traditional funeral services, according to survey results released today.
One in three Oklahoma City residents (33 percent) said they would choose to have a non-traditional memorial or life celebration over a traditional funeral service, according to the Dignity Memorial Network National Opinion Index, a poll of consumer preferences on the topic.
The preference for a non-traditional ceremony was most prominent among respondents under age 35 (37 percent). However, individuals over 55 are also driving the trend, as more than one out of four (26 percent) said they want a non-traditional service.
Oklahoma City residents' desire for a non-traditional service is about the same as the national rate of 37 percent, and local industry experts say the trend is gaining momentum.
"These survey results track directly to the feedback we receive from the client families that come to our locations," said Scot Werkmeister, market director of the local Dignity Memorial network, which owns 19 funeral homes and cemeteries throughout Oklahoma City and commissioned the poll. "They want their friends and family to play a meaningful role in the service, they want attendees to be able to laugh and remember positive times – they may even want their horse involved. We hear a lot of, 'Wow! I didn't know you could do that for a funeral!' as we are fulfilling these wishes."
In response to the public's changing preferences, local Dignity Memorial providers recently launched Life Well Celebrated, a marketing and advertising program with television spots featuring BBQ-and vintage motorcycle-themed life celebrations, the website www.dignityoklahoma.com 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 Oklahoma City 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.
Whether or not it includes those elements, a non-traditional funeral or memorial life celebration can take any form that best suits the individual, Werkmeister said.
"The bottom line is that the possibilities for creating a unique celebration are limitless, and an increasing number of individuals are responding to that," Werkmeister said. "As experts in the funeral services industry, we are bridging the gap between the professionalism and experience that our clients and families expect from a funeral home, with the creativity to create a truly personal and memorable occasion."
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 www.DignityMemorial.com.
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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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