Chances are, if you are reading this you have some questions regarding the cremation process and we hope you find our resource helpful. If you have found yourself in the midst of arranging a loved one’s cremation it can fee like you have endless questions and a feeling of being overrun with responsibilities. On top of the grief of losing someone close to you, the whole cremation process can easily become a heavy burden for someone to manage on their own, always remember that support is there for you at this hard time and even by sharing your worries with a friend or family member can help immensely. If you have any questions on anything to do with cremations, please feel free to contact us.
What is a Cremation?
Cremation is the use of high temperatures and evaporation to reduce a body to its basic elements, known as cremated remains. During the process a cremation chamber can reach temperate of upto 1800 Fahrenheit (980 Celsius)
How Long Does a Cremation Take?
On average, the cremation process takes between 2 and 2 and a half hours. The time the cremation takes largely depends on the operating temperature of the cremation chamber and the weight of the body.
Is the Cremation Process Just for Humans?
Humans and animals alike can be cremated in the same manner. For more information please see our Pet Cremation guide.
What Preparation is Required Before the Cremation Process?
Pacemakers and all other medical devices must be removed from the body before the cremation process begins, because they can be hazardous when exposed to intense heat. Any sentimental keepsakes, such as jewellery, will be destroyed during the cremation process, so these should be removed, too.
Does the Body Need to be Embalmed Before Cremation?
Embalming is not a requirement for the cremation process and is only advisable if there will be a public viewing for friends and relatives to say their final goodbyes. Embalming might also be necessary if the body has to be transported by rail or air, or because of the length of time between the death and cremation process is too long to keep the body in a suitable condition.
Is a Coffin Necessary for Cremation?
No, a coffin isn’t necessary for cremation. For cremations, coffins are mainly used to provide a dignified way to move the body. The only requirement for a direct cremation is that the body is placed in a rigid, combustible and enclosed container.
What Happens on the Day of the Cremation?
On the day of the cremation, the coffin is brought into the chapel followed by the mourners. The coffin is then placed on a raised and decorated platform before a religious or secular service is held. This is followed by the removal of the coffin, after which the mourners leave the chapel.
The coffin is then taken into the committal room, where the name plate is matched with the cremation order to ensure the body is correctly identified. The coffin is labelled with the appropriate card which provides all the necessary information for the cremation. The final step is for the coffin to be placed inside the cremator where it will be exposed to temperatures of 850°C-1000°C.
How Much Does Cremation Cost?
The average cost of cremation is around £650-£700, there are extra fees such as £165 for a doctor’s fee that will obtain a death certification, but there are several other costs. Using a chapel and embalming the body for viewing, administration services, the use of a coffin, hearse and limousine rental, funeral staff, minister fees, catering and venue hire for the funeral, funeral flowers and an obituary all need to be taken into consideration and can vary between funeral providers.
Is Cremation Cheaper Than a Burial?
The cremation process is generally cheaper than a burial, due to the shortage of available land and therefore high expense of burial spaces.
Cremation Frequently Asked Questions
Do All Funeral Homes and Cemeteries have a Crematorium?
No, only a small number of cremation service providers have their own crematoriums.
Is a Cremation a Religious Process?
Cremation is neither a religious nor a non-religious process – some religions encourage it and others disapprove of it. You can choose to have a religious service as part of the cremation process, but if you’re not religious, you can opt for a secular service or no service at all.
Are Cremations Done Individually in the UK?
Yes, cremators are generally only large enough to cater for one coffin and law states that bodies can only be cremated one at a time.
Can Relatives Witness the Cremation Process?
Yes, usually up to two relatives can witness the cremation process if they wish to.
What Happens to the Coffin During Cremation?
The container the deceased is laid in before it’s placed in the cremator is cremated along with the body.
What Happens to Jewellery During the Cremation Process?
Metal jewellery and the nails which hold the coffin together are non-combustible and therefore will not be broken down during the cremation process. After the body has been reduced to its basic elements, a magnet is used to separate the metal parts which are buried on the crematorium’s grounds.
Since the jewellery is non-salvageable and won’t form part of the ashes, it’s advisable to separate it from the deceased before the cremation.
What Happens to the Remains After the Cremation?
After the cremation, the ashes are removed from the cremator and placed on a cooling tray. Any metal pieces are then removed and the remaining ashes are reduced to fine white-grey ash with the texture of coarse sand – this is bone ash.
Do I Have to by an Urn for the Cremation?
You do not have to buy an urn, but since the container you’ll receive the ashes in will be very basic, you may decide to purchase one if you wish to display the ashes in your home. Since the size of the urn you’ll need will largely depend on the size and weight of the body being cremated, it’s important that you discuss this point with the cremation provider before the cremation.
What Will I Get After the Cremation?
Unless you’ve already made another agreement, the ashes will be given to you in a basic container. On average, men’s ashes weigh 3.5kg and women’s ashes weigh 2.5kg. The container you receive will be the size of an old sweet shop jar or a large vase.
How Can I Store the Ashes After the Cremation?
There are many different ways of storing ashes.
You can place the urn permanently within a columbarium – a room or structure located within a cemetery or chapel where niches are provided to store urns containing ashes.
You can entomb the urn in a crypt inside a mausoleum – a place where human remains are kept. This procedure requires more space and is therefore costlier than storing the ashes in a columbarium.
You can bury the ashes in a cremation or burial plot, either on their own or on the same plot as another family member.
You can keep the remains within a cremation memorial in the shape of a memorial rock, grave marker or cremation bench with an integrated repository inside a cemetery.
Can the Ashes be Scattered After the Cremation?
Yes, ashes can be scattered on land, at sea or in air following the cremation. As long as you have the owner’s permission, you can scatter remains on any piece of private land. If you want to scatter the ashes on public land, such as in a park or a favourite location of the deceased, you’ll need to seek permission from the local government before doing so.
What Are my Other Options After Taking Home the Ashes?
Remains can be converted into glass by combining a small part of the ashes with molten glass and using glass blowing techniques. Similarly, ashes or hair can also be used to create memorial diamonds which are developed within a laboratory. Another option is to keep a small portion of the ashes as they are, but store them within a locket which forms a piece of jewellery.
What Happens if I Don’t Want to Take the Ashes After the Cremation?
If you don’t take the ashes and decide to leave them at the crematorium, the ashes will be scattered over the gardens of remembrance – a special area set aside for the disposal of cremation ashes. Although some crematoriums offer to mark spots with rose bushes or plaques, some do not. So make sure you discuss this first before you make your decision.
How Long Do I Have to Collect the Ashes After the Cremation?
Ashes are usually passed on to the funeral director after the cremation for collection. If you have not employed the services of a funeral director, you’ll usually have up to one month to collect the ashes before being charged.
If you have left the crematorium no instructions of what to do with the ashes, they will be scattered within the gardens of remembrance. Before they’re scattered, the person on the documentation will receive written notice 14 days.
Who Can Collect the Ashes After a Cremation?
Only the funeral director or a named individual, who will be required to bring identification, can collect the ashes after the cremation.