The choice between burial and cremation is a very personal one and may be influenced by many factors, including family tradition, religious or non-religious views or the wishes of the person who has died.
What is a cremation?
Cremation is the process by which a person who has died is turned into ashes. Once the cremation has taken place, the ashes are then returned to loved ones to scatter or to keep. It's a popular choice in the UK, with cremation making up 75% of the funerals that we arrange at the Co-op.
The cremation takes place at a crematorium, where you can also have the funeral service. Alternatively, you can have the funeral service at a place of worship and then have a shorter service called a ‘committal’ at the crematorium.
What happens at a cremation service?
A cremation service usually lasts 45 minutes. However, a longer time slot can be arranged if needed.
During the service pallbearers will lift the coffin and walk into the crematorium. The family can decide whether they want people stood outside or seated inside as the coffin enters the crematorium. The officiant will hold the service which usually includes readings, eulogies and music. Some crematoria have curtains that can be closed at the end of the service, however this is also a decision made by the family.
In many crematoria, there are video streaming facilities available. This can be a heart-warming way to share the funeral service with family and friends who can’t attend. Check with your funeral director to see if this option is available in your local crematorium.
If you’d like to know more, we have further advice on what happens at a cremation service.
What forms do I need for a cremation?
You need two forms to arrange a cremation.
1. Application for cremation, also known as cremation form 1.
This is usually given to the family by the funeral director. The family will complete the form, hand it back to the funeral director who will then pass it to the local crematorium. The person who signs this form is the only one who can collect or nominate someone to collect the ashes.
2. Certificate for cremation, also known as the green form.
This is given to the family by the registry office when registering the death.
With the temporary changes to the Cremation (England and Wales) Regulations 2008 to the Coronavirus Act 2020 which came into force on 26 March 2020, your funeral director will help you in completing the application form and arranging for any other forms that are needed.
Find the latest advice and updates on coronavirus.
How much does a cremation cost?
On average a cremation costs £2,653*, not including third party costs. Cremations are usually cheaper than burials, as burial plots can be expensive.
Why should I choose a cremation?
The decision between a cremation or burial can depend on many different things. Religious beliefs may affect the decision between a burial or cremation or if you're on a budget, cremations are the cheaper alternative to burial.
Can you have a cremation without a service?
You don’t need to have a cremation service. Our direct cremation service is a simple, unattended cremation. As there’s no funeral service, it means you can choose your own way to remember someone at a place and time that suits you. You may want to hold a memorial service at a later date.
Direct cremation is a cheaper option costing £1,313, and if you're in Scotland £1,230, as the laws around doctor's certificates are different.
What happens to the ashes after the cremation?
When you arrange a cremation, you’ll be asked what you wish to happen to the ashes. You can collect them in person from the crematorium or you can nominate someone, including your funeral director, to collect them on your behalf. Alternatively, the crematorium may have options available for scattering the ashes within their grounds. Ask your funeral director what services are available at the local crematorium.
*price shown is the average cost of a funeral arranged by Co-op Funeralcare in 2019.