Cremation is an alternative to the traditional full body burial. If a family still wanted to have visitation with an open casket, that could be done.  If a family wanted to bring the body to church for the service, that could be done.  In short, any service that can be done in a traditional funeral service, prior to burial, can be done with cremation service, prior the the actual cremation.  Of course, there are a wide variety of cremation services, including direct cremation with no services, Memorial visitation, Memorial services and graveside services.

Cremation FAQ

What is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. 

Is a casket needed for Cremation?

A casket is not required unless there is going to be a public visitation with the body present, prior to cremation. Otherwise, a casket is not required.  Most crematories require the body be placed in a rigid container prior to cremation.

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes they can; some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber.  Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom.

What can be done with the cremated remains?

While laws vary state by state, for the most part remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered on private property.  A couple of more unique manners of disposition of cremains are scattering at sea and having them made into jewelry.

How long does the actual cremation take?

It all depends on the weight of the individual.  For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

What do the cremated remains look like?

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color.  The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.

Are all the cremated remains returned?

With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.

Do I need an urn?

An urn is not required by law.  However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery.  If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.  Some cemetreies may require an urn or urn-vault so that in the unlikely event that a family wanted to move the cremains from one cemetery to another, the cemetery would be able to easily retrieve them again.