Cremation ceremonies

Any form of ceremony can take place at the crematorium within the time allowed for each funeral, which is usually between 20 and 30 minutes. Some crematoria have extended the time available. If you would prefer a longer ceremony, ask the funeral director to book a double appointment (inevitably this does increase the cost).

Alternatively, a service may take place in any separate building, such as a hotel, hall or place of worship, followed by a short ceremony (called a committal) at the crematorium. Or you could have the committal at the crematorium before a more public event following the crematorium ceremony.

The mourners will normally gather at the crematorium in the waiting room or close to the entrance of the chapel a few minutes before the appointed time of the funeral service.

When the main family members are ready, the coffin will be taken into the chapel by the funeral director's staff, unless family bearers are helping to carry the coffin. The coffin will be placed on a bier in the chapel and the ceremony will start.

Different crematoria have different arrangements for the moment in the ceremony when the coffin is traditionally removed from view. For example, in some curtains enclose the coffin, or the coffin slides through a door at the front of the chapel and in others it is lowered through the floor. It is possible for the coffin to remain in place until after mourners leave if this is what the family prefer. The committal usually takes place fairly near the end of the ceremony.

Usually the person leading the service will invite mourners to join the family for any refreshments that have been arranged and at the close of the ceremony the funeral director will indicate the door out of the chapel (usually different from where people came in). Any flowers are usually placed on display and there is a brief period where mourners can express their sympathy to the immediate family.

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