Cremation is an alternative to burial where the body is subjected to extreme heat and reduced to ashes. Any remaining bone fragments are then processed until they are the consistency of coarse sand. Unlike burial, cremation is not considered “final disposition”; meaning that there must still be arrangements made for the cremated remains.

Cremated remains can be scattered or buried, or they can be kept with a family member in a decorative urn. Keep in mind that when a family member chooses to keep a loved one’s ashes they will need to provide instructions for what is to be done with them when they themselves pass away.

There are many new and different ways to dispose of ashes today. For example, cremated remains can be placed in an artificial coral reef in the ocean, or they can be spun into glass pieces of art, or even made into precious stones. Feel free to discuss with your funeral director what options are available that suit your needs and honor your loved one.


Is a casket needed for cremation?

No, a casket is not required, but most crematories require an alternative container constructed of cardboard or wood be used in order to handle the body in a dignified manner. In some states, no container is required.

Is embalming required prior to cremation?

No, in fact it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. However, based on the services you choose and the time frame in which the cremation will take place, sometimes embalming is necessary.

Can the body be viewed without embalming?

Yes. In fact, our funeral home requires at least one person identify the deceased before cremation, even if embalming has not been done. If circumstances allow, we can also arrange for additional family members to have some private time with the deceased if needed. Because every person is different, and the circumstances surrounding every death are different, we invite you to have an open dialogue with your funeral director about your expectations and needs.

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes, they can. The crematory we use will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. But because the process can take up to several hours to complete, the crematory does not allow the family to stay for the entire process.

Can an urn be brought into church?

Nearly all Protestant Churches allow the urn to be present during the memorial service. Most Catholic Churches also allow for remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. It is encouraged that the cremated remains be a part of the service as they provide a focal point. Your funeral director can communicate with your clergy to help meet your needs while respecting the guidelines of the church.

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?

All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.

What do the cremated remains look like?

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between 7 and 8 pounds.

Do I need an urn?

An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. Some cemeteries have regulations regarding the types of urns which can be buried, so be sure to speak with your funeral director before making a purchase.

If an urn is not purchased by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container. Although it is referred to as “temporary”, these containers are sturdy, and have a snap-top lid which is very secure. Some cemeteries allow for the burial of the temporary containers, making the purchase of an urn unnecessary.