The pressure to make it perfect can feel overwhelming when planning a cremation ceremony. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can craft a beautiful service that honours your loved one while providing a sense of closure to those left behind.
Enjoy the Flexibility, but Create Some Structure
One of the reasons people choose cremation is that it offers flexibility. Unlike traditional burial services, cremation services really run the gambit – with options to scatter the ashes, create keepsakes for ashes, choose from beautiful cremation urns that can be kept at home, or even arrange alternative memorial services, like balloon releases and ocean send-offs.
Though there’s a lot of flexibility with cremation ceremonies, it’s still important to have a plan. Chances are that people will want to pay their respects – but also want to respect your wishes. So, create a plan for the ceremony and communicate it well so that guests know the level of formality expected.
Here are a few standard options to consider for cremation ceremonies.
Option 1: Visitation Prior to Cremation
Organizing a traditional wake at a funeral home can give family and friends an opportunity to see the deceased one last time. Visitations have a formal tone and can be communicated via a traditional announcement in the local paper. There isn’t too much planning required – a wake can even be a short 2-hour window for people to come and go as they please.
Option 2: Memorial Post-Cremation
A funeral service, memorial, or prayer service can also be arranged after the cremation has taken place, giving the community a chance to gather formally and reflect on the person’s life. Most memorials have a display of the cremation urn that holds the ashes, along with photos, flowers and other memorabilia.
Option 3: Ceremony for Scattering Ashes
Skip the formal gatherings and invite close friends and family to be present when you scatter the ashes in a special place. These cremation ceremonies are often accompanied by a short prayer, reading, or song.
Option 4: Direct Cremation
Another option is to keep the entire process private. Direct cremation can be arranged shortly after the person passes – no embalming, viewing or visitation.
Cremation ceremonies are very flexible. You can always combine different elements and create the perfect service for your loved one.
Beautiful and Touching Ideas for Cremation Ceremonies
Pay tribute to the deceased and honor them in a special way with these moving ideas.
- Circle the Ashes – Have everyone at the ceremony gather round the cremation urn and hold a moment of silence before letting go. The energy is palpable!
- Create Keepsakes – There are all sorts of keepsakes for ashes available, including small artisan urns, jewelry, ceramics, and more. Having somethings special to hold onto can be powerful when it comes to the grieving process.
- Sky Lanterns and/or Balloon Release – Even if you’re keeping urns for ashes at home or turning them into keepsakes for ashes, a sky lantern or balloon release can be a great opportunity to gather together and pay tribute in a beautiful way. Just make sure the materials are biodegradable and eco-friendly!
Etiquette for Attending a Cremation Ceremony
Always take note of the type of cremation ceremony organized, as it can tell you the formality of the occasion – whether you need to dress up and remain solemn or whether it’s a more relaxed event that is meant to be a celebration of life.
Also, if you want to send flowers or a prayer card, make it easy on the family by sending these items directly to the home instead of bringing them to the ceremony.