If a loved one passes away, you may have questions about funeral services and how to make funeral arrangements. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about burial and cremation services.

What is a funeral service?

Funeral services are important events to acknowledge the death of a loved one. Funeral rites vary across cultures, but typically include a ceremony to acknowledge the death of a loved one, the preparation of the body – casket or cremation, and the final disposition of the remains (traditional earth burial, green burial, above-ground burial in a crypt or mausoleum, placing an urn into a columbarium, scattering, or other means) and memorials (headstones, grave markers, etc.)

What is the purpose of a funeral?

Humans began burying their dead at least 100,000 years ago, and there is evidence that our ancestors began intentionally burying their dead 400,000 years ago. These findings support the long-held belief that the death of a family or community member must be acknowledged. A funeral service is an opportunity to commemorate a loved one’s death, remember the deceased as they lived, and honour their memory. It is also a chance for the bereaved to acknowledge their loved one’s death, begin the grieving process, and say their final goodbye.

What is the difference between a funeral service and a memorial service?

While the term’s funeral service and memorial service are increasingly being used interchangeably these days, they traditionally define two distinct ways to honour and celebrate a loved one’s life.

Funeral Service – Typically held soon after the death of a loved one, a funeral service can be held at a funeral home, a place of worship, or at the graveside, with the body or ashes of the deceased present. Following the service, the deceased’s body may be interred or, if cremated, the ashes may be scattered or placed in a mausoleum, columbarium (an above-ground vault where funeral urns may be stored).

Memorial Service – A memorial service, which is less formal than a funeral service, can be personalised to reflect the deceased’s personality and celebrate the deceased’s life. They can take place after a loved one’s burial or cremation in a funeral home, park, restaurant, home, or another location. It may also be scheduled following a private family funeral service.

Who can conduct a Funeral Service?

There are no restrictions on who can officiate at a funeral. Funeral directors, friends, family members, or a professional funeral celebrant can lead non-religious funeral services. Traditional religious funeral services are officiated by religious functionaries. You can ask the clergy from the deceased’s place of worship to conduct the funeral service, or you can ask the funeral home to invite a clergy member.

What do Funeral Directors do?

Funeral directors assist the bereaved and care for the deceased. They work with families and loved ones to plan the deceased’s burial, memorial, and cremation services. Morticians, as they are also known, handle all funeral logistics, ensure the body’s preparation, coordinate plans with the funeral officiant, or conduct the funeral themselves. Funeral directors also assist families in contracting with other vendors to secure flowers and cemetery plots, as well as in publishing obituaries. The death certificate will also be prepared and filed by the funeral director.

What is Embalming?

Embalming is the chemical process of preserving human remains and slowing their decomposition. When the deceased’s body will be publicly displayed during a funeral service, this procedure is used.

What is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the deceased’s body to bone fragments via incineration or alkaline hydrolysis. The resulting bone fragments are then pulverized into ashes.

Are there Religious Restrictions on Cremation?

While most religions now accept cremation, Orthodox Judaism, Islam, and Eastern Orthodox Church traditions continue to forbid it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not forbid cremation services, but it does advise that deceased Mormons be buried.

Can you still have a Memorial or Funeral Service for a loved one that will be cremated?

Yes. Traditional funeral services such as visitation, viewing, and religious services can be included in cremation services either before or after the cremation. The remains of a loved one can then be placed in a decorative urn, interred in a mausoleum or columbarium, buried in a grave, or scattered. Such services can be a valuable part of the healing process.

We’re Here to Assist

Carlyon Family Funeral Directors near Truro, Cornwall. We are available to sit down with you and talk things through over a nice cup of tea. Alternatively, you can give us a call or contact us through our website, we are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.


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We are an independent, family run Funeral Directors based in Mount Hawke, Truro. We strive to be flexible, diverse and respectful of you and your family's needs.

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Wheal Ellen, Mount Hawke, Truro, Cornwall, TR4 8DL

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