“Till death do us part” is taking on a whole new meaning for a rising number of couples choosing to conduct their nuptials at funeral homes. With cremation rapidly replacing burial tradition, these companies are seeking other means to bring in revenue. This has led to the hosting of non-funeral related events such as proms, luncheons, and even weddings. For people like Danessa Molinder, 26, this presented the perfect opportunity for her big day.
Within sight of around 73,000 graves, Molinder and her groom exchanged vows at the Community Life Center run by the Washington Park East Cemetery Association on Sunday, June 19th in Indianapolis. Along with 250 guests, the couple held their ceremony in the open court just outside the center with the reception being conducted inside later on.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Molinder revealed, “It’s such a beautiful building. That’s what really drew us to it.” It’s also the reason many other couples are giving as response to their decision to host wedding ceremonies at funeral homes. The Associated Press states that this summer alone, more than 50 weddings will be hosted at the Indianapolis center.
This new trend can also be attributed to the new approach to religion and death that we see in today’s society. Unlike previous generations, we don’t see death as a stigma, claimed Mike Nicodemus, a vice president of the National Funeral Directors Association. Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor also added that, although this could be a viable option for couples not practicing religion, funeral businesses should take heed in mixing the businesses of emerging love and death. He warns of the cultural taboo against the merging of death and weddings which are linked with birth and family and how these two worlds should not be joined.
A couple that would probably disagree with the professor is Jenny Tay and fiancé, Darren Cheng. The Singapore natives who work together at Direct Funeral Services, took their stunning engagement pictures with a gleaming white casket as a prop.
In an interview with Straits Times of Singapore, Tay, 29, who is also a practicing Buddhist, stated, “Our business is very much a part of our lives. When couples take wedding pictures, many of them think of something significant and meaningful to them — their favorite café, the place where they first met.”
Although seemingly morbid, she continued, “Death is a part of life and shouldn’t be seen as taboo.” The couple has definitely made a splash, but has undoubtably shown their unwavering respect to both life and death in the proclamation of their love. They intend to show their pictures at their nuptials in October.
So it seems that whether you’re wondering what scene to set for your engagement photos or where to host your day of celebration, funeral services might be the new place to begin looking.