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Do You Need Clothes to Be Cremated and Other Questions You May Have About Cremation Services

According to the National Funeral Director Association’s 2023 Cremation and Burial Report, cremation is the most popular form of disposition in the United States at 60.5% of all services. This increase over the years has been due to things such as cost considerations, changing consumer preference and fewer religious connections to funeral service. As one looks to make decisions about their own services or those of a loved one, there are often many questions about cremation and the type of services available if cremation is the desired final disposition. In today’s blog, we will touch on a few questions that often come up when discussing cremation and the memorialization options it has.


Do You Need Clothes to Be Cremated?

There is no set rule on what a person must be dressed in for cremation to take place. Clothing options can depend on many factors- the place or manner of death, the deceased’s religious beliefs or cultural customs, or simply the preference of the family. Some families will choose to have their loved one shrouded in a simple white sheet, some will choose to dress them in their favorite outfit- there is no right or wrong way. For those with specific religious or cultural customs and beliefs, there may be a ritual washing and shrouding of the body prior to cremation taking place. Whatever it is you wish, your funeral director will work to facilitate this in a timely manner prior to cremation taking place.   


          Can I Place Something in with My Loved One Prior to Cremation?

Yes, often family with place mementos into the cremation vessel prior to cremation. This includes things such as photos, letters, keepsakes (like stuffed animals, a favorite hat, or a deck of cards), religious items or jewelry. It is important to know that cremation is a process of final disposition and anything that is placed inside the cremation vessel will be completely cremated with the person. This means that it will be unretrievable once the cremation process has started. To avoid this, some families will choose to place smaller items in an urn with the cremated remains after the cremation takes place. It is also important to know that anything that includes a battery cannot be cremated and will not be able to be placed into the vessel.


          Can I Hold Services Prior to Cremation?

Absolutely- there are many different options to holding services prior to cremation. Prior to cremation, the deceased can be prepared for a viewing, either privately for the family or a public wake and can be brought to church for a full mass or funeral service. In these cases, the deceased would be dressed and casketed as normal and placed into a casket either purchased by the family that is suitable for cremation or a ceremonial rental casket would be used. For a rental casket, a new insert is used for every individual and that is ultimately the vessel in which they will travel to the crematory. All these services can take place as normal and once service are complete arrangements will be made to transport the deceased to the crematory for cremation. All options for services can be discussed with your funeral director to determine what feels right in honoring your loved one. 


          How Long does the Cremation Process Take?

There are a few factors that will affect how long from the time of death to the return of the cremated remains to the family. There are steps that must be taken prior to the decedent being transported to the crematory. In New York State, the steps are as follows. First, a Licensed Funeral Director must receive the deceased from their place of death. Once the deceased is safely in the care of the funeral home, an arrangement conference will be scheduled to gather vital information necessary for filing a death certificate as well as to review and gather signatures on the required authorizations for cremation. Once the authorizations are signed and the death certificate is completed and registered, the deceased is then able to be transported to the crematory for cremation to take place. The process of the cremation itself will take about 2-4 hours depending on the size of the deceased. Once all of these steps have been completed, the cremated remains can be returned to the family.    


Cremation services have become one of the most popular options when choosing a final disposition. Though the cremation process is irreversible and final, there are still many options if cremation is chosen as the most final form of disposition. Services can take place before or after cremation and can be fully tailored to fit you or your loved one’s wishes. If cremation is your desired plan, make sure you talk to your trusted funeral director to discuss any options and answer any questions you might have.




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