Planning a Cremation Memorial Service

A memorial service is a way to honour and remember a person’s life. Though most people are familiar with traditional funeral services, they may not understand all of the many options available when choosing cremation or the important aspects to consider when planning a cremation funeral. A cremation funeral service can include many of the same elements as a traditional funeral: flowers, music, readings, even a viewing.

If you have an immediate need to plan a cremation service or funeral for a loved one, reach out to your local Dignity Memorial® provider. A professional planner or funeral celebrant can answer all of your questions about cremation and cremation funerals to help you design a one-of-a-kind service for your loved one.

If you are planning ahead, here are some things to think about.

When to hold the cremation service

There isn’t a “right” time for a memorial service, and a cremation funeral can be held before or after the cremation itself.

When a funeral is held prior to cremation, the service can include a viewing, as with a traditional funeral. A viewing lets friends and family say a final goodbye. With this option, some families buy a casket; others rent a casket.

When a funeral is held after the cremation has occurred, the cremated remains (or "ashes") are usually present at the service in a cremation urn or other container. You can surround the urn with cherished photos and important keepsakes of the person being honoured to create a focal point that helps guests remember and celebrate your loved one’s life.

Where to place cremated remains

Cremation has the benefit of providing even more options for commemorating a life than traditional burial. Some families bury cremated remains in a cemetery; others place them in a cremation niche in a mausoleum. Some people ask that their ashes be scattered in a personally meaningful place; others want a family member to keep the ashes at home. No matter what choice your family makes, there is an opportunity to honour the life of your loved one with a ceremony memorializing the event. From a traditional graveside service to a beach gathering that ends in an ocean scattering, there is a meaningful cremation service option for everyone.

Regardless of where the final resting spot is, many families like to have a personalized marker and physical place to visit and remember their loved ones. Cemeteries offer options like pedestals, benches and statuary, but if a traditional site in a cemetery doesn’t appeal to your family, think outside the box. What activities or places were significant to your loved one? Consider planting a tree as a memorial or placing an engraved boulder at a special spot. You might purchase a bench or a paver for a sidewalk. Let your loved one's life inspire you.

And finally, in addition to those options, custom cremation jewellery houses and protects a bit of cremated remains in a timeless keepsake that can be passed from generation to generation.

When you choose cremation, you also have options for a personalized cremation funeral or memorial. A Guide for Families Choosing Cremation will help you understand your choices.