What happens during and after the cremation process?

White Willow Coffin

Cremation is an increasingly popular choice for many individuals and their families. So, what’s involved in the cremation process? 

After the service 

Once the funeral service has taken place and the mourners have left the chapel, the coffin of the deceased is moved onto a transfer trolley through a concealed door. The coffin is then taken to an area known as the ‘charge area’ where the cremators are located.  

The cremation process 

The nameplate attached to the coffin is checked to confirm the identity of the deceased with the order of cremation. A card prepared by the crematorium featuring the correct information and identity is kept alongside the deceased until the ashes are returned to the family or funeral director. 

Next is a process known as ‘charging’ where the coffin is placed into the cremator and the cremation begins. This can take approximately 1.5-2 hours to complete. The remains are then cooled, and any metal remnants are removed for recycling. 

Remains are transferred into a machine known as a ‘cremulator’ and are transformed into what we know as ashes. This is a short process and once complete the ashes are placed into a container and temporarily stored until they are collected or returned to the family or funeral director on their behalf. 

Once the ashes are returned 

Afterwards, the ashes can be placed into a decorative urn, casket or keepsake, be buried or scattered according to any wishes determined by the person who has died or their family. Most crematoria will have their own grounds on which you will have permission to scatter ashes.  

Frequently asked questions 

Is cremation more expensive than burial? 

No, the cost of cremation is usually less than the cost of burial, but this can vary depending on where you live in the UK.  

Is the coffin cremated with the deceased? 

Yes. The coffin, together with the deceased, is placed inside the cremator. 

Can more than one person be cremated at the same time? 

Each cremation takes place separately, as an individual process, but exceptions can be made in the case of a parent and baby or small twin children. 

How do I know it’s my loved one’s ashes? 

There are multiple processes in place to ensure that the ashes you receive belong to your relative. It’s the funeral director’s role to make sure they have the correct deceased in the correctly named coffin, and their duty of care and professionalism will ensure that you can rest assured knowing you have your loved one’s ashes to bury, scatter or keep close by.  

At the crematorium, the nameplate attached is checked to confirm the identity. An identity card stays with the deceased throughout the entire cremation process until their ashes are returned to you or your funeral director.  

Each cremation is carried out separately with all remains removed before the next cremation takes place. 

Suggested reading

Can I personalise a coffin?
What is a direct cremation?  
Do I need a coffin for a cremation?

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