Should Someone Be Cremated Before Or After Their Funeral?

About Me
Sharing The Burden: Ideas For Funeral Arrangements

Hello, everybody. My name is Lois, and I am in my seventies. It might be hard to believe, but I attended my first funeral when I was sixty-five years old. Since then, I have suffered the loss of quite a few family members and close friends. In fact, I have now organised over a dozen funerals. As someone who had been so blessed, it really came as a shock when I first experienced the trauma of making funeral arrangements whilst still finding time to grieve. It really taught me the importance of having an empathetic and creative funeral director that can help share the burden and honour your loved one appropriately. Hopefully, this blog will help those who, like me, had no idea about the enormity of the task a funeral organiser faces. I trust that the ideas within will prove comforting and inspiring during this difficult time. Thank you.

Should Someone Be Cremated Before Or After Their Funeral?

7 January 2022
 Categories: , Blog

Planning a funeral for a loved one will be one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do. That being said, the basic details of a funeral aren't so complicated. It's more the fact that these plans must be made during a profoundly difficult time. Having family, friends, and a skilled funeral director to help you will make this planning infinitely easier. If your loved one is to be cremated, you'll have to make a decision — should that happen before or after the funeral? Is there a traditional way to do it, or does the order not matter?

Cremation After the Funeral

In many respects, having the funeral precede the cremation is the traditional approach. It's traditional because your loved one's casket will be present during the service, allowing for a symbolic last farewell. The casket may be open or closed, depending on your preferences. This casket will not be the one that will be cremated. Funeral homes offer rental caskets for the service — with the plain cremation box placed inside a classically ornate casket for the duration of the funeral. So yes, a funeral before the cremation is the traditional way to do things. But it's not the only way.

The Date of the Funeral

Selecting a date for the funeral can influence your decision. There's no mandatory time frame for a funeral, although of course it typically takes place promptly after someone passes away. There may need to be a delay between death and the funeral, allowing mourners sufficient time to make travel arrangements or depending on available time slots for the service at the funeral home or church. It's possible to preserve remains for an extended period — either by embalming or cold storage. 

Before the Funeral

Cremation can still follow the funeral, but some families may decide to have their loved one cremated without much delay. This can be a more cost-effective option, avoiding the expense of embalming or extended storage. The urn containing their ashes can then be present at the service. Should it be important for any mourners to view the deceased, you can arrange a visitation or viewing before the cremation, even if this is well ahead of the actual funeral. Ask your chosen funeral home for assistance with arranging a visitation. 

The takeaway is that there's no right or wrong way to make these arrangements. Sometimes a funeral precedes a cremation, and sometimes it doesn't. It completely depends on what works best in your particular circumstances. Talk to a funeral director for more personalised advice.