Cremation Information

Where Does a Cremation Take Place?

Cremation takes place in a crematorium. These are sited throughout the UK and are owned and run either privately or by the Local Authority (sometimes in conjunction with a private operator).

Incorporating a Service Around a Cremation

Some people have a religious ceremony at a place of worship either before or after the cremation, or a non-religious ceremony at another venue. Others have a ceremony in the chapel at the crematorium. The service can be religious or non-religious and can include the usual elements such as readings, prayers, music and singing.

At the end of the service, the coffin can be commited or can remain in situ whilst mourners pay their respects as they leave the chapel. Some crematoria have rooms where a reception can be held after the service, or mourners might gather at a family home or other location.

Most religions now accept cremation as an alternative to burial and for some cremation is mandatory. For more information, see Religious Funerals. Some crematoria have amenities that cater for the specific needs of different faiths (for example washing facilities for Hindus and Sikhs) and most supply different iconography for display.

How Long is a Cremation Service?

The time allotted for the cremation and service varies from place to place and can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour. It is usually about 40 minutes long. If you feel this will not give you the time you need, it is worth considering booking two slots to make sure you and other mourners don’t feel rushed.

How Many People Attend a Cremation?

Sometimes just close family attend a cremation, perhaps after a religious service elsewhere. Or the cremation can be a part of the service.

Most crematoria can accommodate up to 100 people. For larger funerals, for example for a younger person, a high-profile member of the community or for Asian funerals which traditionally have a much larger number of mourners, it may be necessary to find a crematorium that has the facilities and parking to accommodate this.

What is Direct Cremation?

Direct cremation, also known as ‘simple cremation’, is where family and friends are not present when the body is cremated. Direct cremation is becoming increasingly popular, in part due to its necessity during the pandemic, when families were not allowed to attend the service.

Cost can be an important factor, with direct cremations costing substantially less than a traditional funeral service. For more information, see Funeral Costs and Financial Support.

After the cremation the ashes are returned to the family in the usual way. A service of remembrance or memorial service can be held at a later date, when loved ones have had time to think about how they would like to celebrate or honour the life of the person they have lost.

To find more information about direct cremation, please see our Blog Direct Cremation – your questions answered.

Choosing a Crematorium

The style, size and facilities of crematoria varies enormously, so it is important to do your research and talk to them to make sure that they can meet your needs. Some have spaces and facilities that specifically cater to different faiths and religions.

Find further details on our Funeral Location Inspiration and Funeral Location Providers pages. 

Collecting the Ashes

The ashes will usually be ready for collection or delivery to you after 2 to 7 days.  If you prefer, you can give your funeral director written permission to collect the ashes on your behalf.

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