Arranging a Cremation
If you’re thinking about a cremation you’re in good company. Around 75% of all funerals in the UK are now done by cremation. This may be because cremations tend to be significantly cheaper, in most ways, than a burial. Whether you only want to know more about the cremation process or you want to prep your family before you’re big cremator farewell, here’s what you need to know about a arranging a cremation funeral.
Arranging the funeral service
- Firstly, a Cremation Form will need to be signed. The crematorium will also have their own forms, where someone will have to indicate what’s going to happen to the ashes.
- You can have the service at just the crematorium, or spread the celebration out over a few venues. So, you could have a ceremony at a church and then a short service at the crematorium before the coffin is taken in to be cremated.
- For a service at a crematorium, you can decide whether you want something short or full length.
- There are options to have readings read, music played and songs sung.
What happens after the service?
Once the service is over, the coffin will be identified and placed into a cremator. The cremation process takes about an hour and a half. It may be possible for family to attend the cremation process.
The cremated remains are then raked into a cooling chamber, after which the bones are reduced. The remains are then stored in a temporary container, usually something resembling a doggy bag.
The remains can then be collected. An average cremation will produce about 2kg of ashes.
Choosing what to do with the ashes
You’ll have to bear in mind that UK Law allows the scattering of ashes on any privately owned land with the owner’s permission. Privately owned land can also change hands, and it’s not guaranteed that new owners will take on that permission.
If you want to scatter ashes in a river or the sea, you don’t need permission. Though, the Environmental Agency usually has some guidelines for good practice. For example, the site chosen to scatter ashes shouldn’t be near any buildings, people who are fishing or marinas.
You can scatter or bury ashes on an already existing grave, such as a family member’s. Permission from the cemetery will be needed, as you’ll need to be granted the right to burial, and there might be an extra fee.
You can take ashes abroad, if you stick to general UK repatriation law. Though, you should also check the visiting country’s practice, too. Generally, it’s possible to take ashes on a plane if you have a copy of the death certificate, a copy of the cremation certificate and if the ashes are securely packaged.
The costs involved in cremation
The average cost of a cremation stands at about £3,300. The funeral director’s fees make up the largest proportion of this. In addition to those fees, you’ll have to factor in the following:
Fee for use of the crematorium to hold the service
There will be a fee for the use of a crematorium’s chapel or service area. If the service is going to be held on the weekend, the fee will be considerably more. The fee will be less if you get a slot very early in the morning and on weekdays.
There is also sometimes a fee for the crematorium’s services.
Choosing a coffin
You may want to think about a coffin. It’s not a requirement, and there are many cardboard options, as well as wicker or willow coffins. After all, it’s getting cremated too. You may just opt for a simple shroud.
You can of course also go for a traditional coffin even while choosing cremation. Fees for an elaborate coffin are often £1000 plus.
Extras and fees
- To get ashes delivered to you, there’ll be an additional cost of around £100
- If you don’t use a funeral director, a crematorium can collect a body from a house or hospital for an extra fee
- If you want the ashes to be scattered within the crematorium grounds, or you want your ashes to be buried in an already existing grave, you’ll have to pay a fee
Overall, if you’re planning a cremation for you’re own send off or you’re arranging someone else’s, it’s good to keep in mind any fees the crematorium is likely to charge for their services and that a service doesn’t always need to take place at the crematorium itself. There is, also, the option of direct cremation. This is simply a cremation without a funeral ceremony, and you can read our article on it here.