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What happens at a cremation?

Cremations are now the most common form of funeral service in the UK. Here is a break down of what to expect from a cremation service as well as some additional Q & As about cremation.

What happens at a cremation service?

  • The coffin is taken to the crematorium and placed on a raised platform for the attendants to see.

  • Guests arrive at the crematorium and are guided to their seats.

  • The service takes place. The cremation service is typically around 45 minutes long, comprising speeches, perhaps live music, as well as words from the celebrant (the chosen host who leads the service). The celebrant will meet family members beforehand to get to know about the life of the deceased.

  • The committal takes place. This is when the coffin is moved into the cremation chamber. Curtains will be drawn around the coffin before it makes its journey into the neighbouring room.

  • It is time for guests to leave. The celebrant will show the guests out before attendees make their condolences to close friends and family.

Often a wake will follow after a cremation service, however, in some cultures, this takes place before the funeral. The wake is a time for friends and family to come together to remember the deceased, sharing anecdotes, photographs, and celebrating the life of the deceased in a venue nearby. Read more about planning a wake for a loved one here.

Person holding red roses in funear clothing, next to a table with lit candles and an ashes urn

What does the process of cremation involve?

Cremation involves turning the body into ashes using extreme heat (between 1400°F and 1800°F). After the cremator is switched on and reaches these high temperatures, the coffin, or shroud covering the body, is placed inside to undergo cremation for 90-180 minutes.

The ashes themselves are actually made from pulverized bone fragments since all the organic matter is removed during the cremation process. The machine used for this is found in the crematorium (a part of the building that is attached to the funeral parlour).

Following the cremation, the ashes will be placed in an urn or other receptacle and given to the family of the deceased.

Funeral flower reef with message

What happens to the coffin during cremation?

The coffin will burn first. In fact, they are designed to be completely destroyed by the cremator.

Can a memorial happen at the crematorium?

Some people opt to have a memorial plaque placed at the crematorium, a flower display on the grounds, or to have their name logged in the Book of Remembrance (family and friends can return to the crematorium to revisit the book if they wish). There are however alternative memorial services available.

Aura Flights offers a totally unique experience in the form of a space memorial. With the aid of our custom-made, intelligent scattering vessel, we perform an ash scattering high above the clouds. Later, they will fall back down to the Earth’s surface in the form of rain or snow. becoming one with nature. Before they settle, the ashes travel with the stratospheric winds on a journey around the world. Learn more about the space scattering process here.

Aura Flights scatter vessel scattering ashes in space


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