Funeral Etiquette for Cremation Ceremonies

More often in today’s society, people are opting for cremation as part of their final wishes. When someone opts for their remains to be cremated, the funeral is somewhat different from a traditional funeral, in which the body is typically present in a casket, whether it is open or closed. Funeral etiquette is somewhat different when it comes to funerals where cremains are the only thing present. What are some of the differences between traditional funerals and cremation funerals when it comes to funeral etiquette?

Memorial Service vs Funeral Service

When it comes to remembering the deceased, frequently in cases of cremation, the ceremony is referred to as a memorial service rather than a funeral. Etiquette during the ceremony differs based on cultural and family traditions. Though they may differ in name, there is still a different flow of the service from the various eulogies to the message delivered by a spiritual leader. Memorial services are sometimes viewed as slightly more casual and there is occasionally time set aside for guests of the service to remember the deceased in their own way.

Photos and Donations versus Flowers

While flowers have long been the traditional condolence gift to send to a grieving family, funeral etiquette is changing to the point where some families will ask to have photos of the deceased sent via mail or email to be displayed in a collage at the memorial service instead of flowers. Other families will ask for donations to be made on behalf of the deceased to a specific charity to ensure that a cause important to the family can gain support.

Slideshows versus Viewing

When someone requests cremation, generally (but not always) there is no viewing. If the family opts for cremation without a viewing, oftentimes they will decide to have a slideshow to commemorate their loved one. The slideshows are often set to several of the deceased’s favorite songs or songs that are pertinent to their life. Many find these slideshows to be more uplifting than a viewing because they can see their loved one in action while they were living their life.

Spreading Ashes vs Burial Service

According to most traditional funeral etiquette, the burial service is held after the funeral and the casket has been carried to the cemetery. However, with the case of cremation, if there is no burial in a formal plot, the service to spread the cremains can occur at a different time and may be a small, private ceremony. Some even opt to have the cremains preserved in a beautiful cremation urn and displayed as a memorial in their home.

Melody Jamali is the Founder and President of ( Une Belle Vie ), a Colorado company dedicated to bringing choice of cremation to public light. Their company offers the widest selection in decorative urns for cremation and includes a wide collection of resources designed to help families and friends in their time of need. From tools for the grieving to informative articles about planning, support and other uplifting thoughts, Une Belle Vie is a company dedicated to helping your celebrate the life of the one you love – on your terms. View our blog containing helpful articles to help during the most difficult of times.

View helpful articles on cremation, funeral planning, grieving, support and more.

5 Responses to “Funeral Etiquette for Cremation Ceremonies”

  1. From Teresa Kelly

    Question…when ordering flowers for a cremation service, is it appropriate to have a memorial ribbon saying “Loving Son” or “Beloved Brother”? I am planning to have 2 simple vase arrangements placed with the cremains on a table.

  2. From Une Belle Vie Customer Service

    Teresa –
    There is nothing wrong with a ribbon in the flower arrangements at all. Be sure to communicate where the arrangements will be placed, as well as their purpose to the florist. They should be able to advise you on the size of the ribbon, and it’s placement, compared to the site of the vases and flowers.

  3. From karen

    I have a cremation tradition question.
    Shouldnt the cremated ashes in urn be displayed at the memorial service?

  4. From Une Belle Vie Customer Service

    Hi Karen –
    There is no mandate that an urn containing the cremated remains be displayed at the memorial service. Often, family members prefer to display the urn (much like you would a coffin) at the memorial service, but you do not have to do so.

  5. From Burt Silver

    It’s really interesting to hear how a cremation service actually operates and that it is so different from your typical funeral service. My grandmother wanted to be cremated after she passed away so I’ve been looking more into the details of cremation services. Hopefully, we’ll be able to celebrate her life like she would have wanted and that all of the services will work out.

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