Cremation is becoming more and more common as an end of life choice. One of the advantages of cremation is that it lends itself to several options. Whereas the traditional burial funeral has been consistently done in a predictable format, the cremation memorial service offers various options. With an emphasis today on personalization, this allows for much creativity when planning a service. The following ideas are acceptable options, however, there are many more ways to do this. The optimal approach really is to reflect the person being honored.
Option 1: Final Viewing at the Service
Some people like to be able to see the body before cremation. In this case, many funeral homes will have rentable caskets for that purpose. The body is laid in the coffin for viewing. Then after the service, the body is cremated.
Option 2: After Cremation – Decorative Cremation Urn Is On Display at the Service
In many cases, the cremation has already occurred, and the ashes have been placed in an urn. An urn is displayed on a surface as a focal point of the memorial service. This is especially effective if it’s a decorative cremation urn.
Option 3: No Cremation Urn Is On Display at the Service
Sometimes the cremation urn has not yet been selected at the time of the service. A temporary container can be covered with an attractive fabric to ritualize the container. Again, this can be an effective focal point that represents the loved one who is being honored.
Option 4: Cremation Urn is Buried
Many people bury urns today. It can be displayed during the service and then buried afterward, as has been commonly done with coffins. Alternatively, the urn can be buried privately at a later date, with close friends and family present.
Option 5: Urn is Placed in a Vault
Similar to Option 4, the urn can be place in a vault at a later time. Or, if the vault is on the same premises as the memorial service, it can be incorporated into the ceremony.
Option 6: Scattering the Ashes
A lot of people opt to scatter ashes. This can be done as part of the ritual of the memorial service. It can alternatively be done afterward, at a favorite location. Scattering of ashes has an implicit ritualistic effect – usually because it is done at a favorite place, or it can be done ceremoniously to represent the person’s spirit being cast into the scattering spot.
Option 7: Combination
A lot of people will scatter some of the ashes during the service, and keep the rest of them in the urn. Another alternative is to scatter some of the ashes, place the majority of them in an urn, and then divide a small portion of the ashes into smaller keepsake urns, to be distributed among close friends and/or family members.