As you begin to think about pre-planning your own funeral, or if you are responsible for planning the funeral of a loved one, you will see that there are many decisions to be made. You will also come to realize that one of the most principal choices to be made is to select between cremation or a traditional burial. However, you may not be aware that with deciding upon cremation, all of the traditional funeral service options can still occur.
With cremation quickly becoming a popular means of disposition, your funeral service options are also expanding. Thinking about the personalization that makes your funeral as special and unique as you, these customizations are as endless as your imagination. They can be as intricate or as unfussy as you’d like.
Before making your funeral service selections, it’s a good idea to plan when you’d like it to take place. Traditionally, a funeral service occurs before remains are cremated, and a memorial service takes place after - how you’d like it arranged is entirely up to you! With having a funeral before cremation, you are also able to incorporate some of the conventional elements; such as a viewing/wake, or open casket.
Elements of a Funeral or Memorial Service when Cremation is Chosen
Commonly, choosing cremation along with a funeral will have the same elements of a typical funeral service - greetings, prayers, eulogies, memory tables, friends and family sharing memories, and special readings. As previously mentioned, a funeral can take place before cremation, but a funeral can also take place after cremation with the remains present, or even occur without any body present.
If one would like to wait until after cremation to have a memorial service, this option offers a lot of flexibility. You could choose to have the memorial service in a building with the ashes present, or go elsewhere to have the ashes scattered.
When thinking of both funerals and memorial services, all of the special components can be personalized when choosing cremation. Some of these include:
- Speakers. Who do you want to speak at the service? A religious figure, friends, family, etc.
- Music. With both cremation ceremony options, you can choose meaningful music pieces and arrangements
- Altar or Urn Display. A typical pre-cremation funeral would have the rented or purchased casket as the centerpiece of the ceremony. However, after cremation, if having a memorial service a beautiful urn could be the focal point. You could also choose to display important pictures or keepsakes.
- Special Videos or Slideshows. In case there are no speakers arranged, or people are unable to get through a speech, a wonderful way to remember and relive meaningful memories; is to display a video or slideshow of pictures.
Of course these are just a few ideas to guide you in creating a memorial or funeral service in conjunction with cremation. It can also highlight how similar these aspects of services are to a ‘typical’ funeral with a casket burial. Really, the possibilities are endless as you pre-plan your funeral, or assist a loved one in planning theirs.
Just the Basics - Direct Cremation
The customizing, and service planning are all optional. There is a choice called ‘direct cremation’ that will allow the remains to be respectfully cremated and given to family without a service. It is then up to them to hold on to the ashes or hold a service or gathering at a later date. Choosing to hold the service at a later date can be beneficial, as it can be scheduled to accommodate long distance guests, so that everyone can attend who would like.
In addition to the decisions about service options, you also have the ability to decide what happens with the cremated remains. The choices to what can be done are limitless. Cremated remains can be stored in containers, running the gamut from beautiful urns, to jewelry and stuffed animals, even an hour-glass! Ashes can be scattered at a place of significance or buried in a cemetery, just as a casket would. You may even choose to place one’s ashes can be placed in a biodegradable container and buried with a tree.
We hope that this may have inspired you to start thinking of our own options when it comes to pre-planning your funeral. If you’d like to learn more about funeral services, memorial services, or cremation, our knowledgeable staff is shere to help answer your questions. You can contact us at (781) 595-1492. And keep in mind, when you make decisions about your memorial or funeral the most important thing is to choose options that honor your legacy in a way that you’d like to be remembered.