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What Happens at an Attended Cremation?

Organising a funeral for the first time is by no doubt a daunting task. It can be difficult and overwhelming to think about all the “to-dos” one needs to complete in a short amount of time.


Managing the logistical elements along with coordinating friends and family can be emotionally taxing on not only the one organising the funeral, but others as well. However, with the right funeral director the process can be easy and pave the way for a personal time to remember a loved one.


We understand that it is important for some families to come together to say goodbye to their loved one before their cremation takes place.


At Neo we have seen time and time again how integral this process is for families. Afterall, everyone’s grieving process is different and as inclusive funeral directors, we want to offer solutions for the families who come to us for help.


It’s because of this reason that we are now offering bespoke attended cremations. Keep reading to learn more about what happens at an attended cremation, and if you want to arrange one with Neo, how to do just that.



What is Cremation?

A cremation is the process whereby high heat is used to turn the remains of an individual to ashes. These remains are called “cremains,” and are then put into an urn which is then given back to the family. 


What is an Attended Cremation? 

An attended cremation is when there is a service held before the cremation takes place. This is normally at the crematorium of choice. The service is usually around 30 to 45 minutes long, with speakers, music, and a celebrant. 


Crematoria usually have slots throughout the day specifically for attended cremations. Slots in the morning from around 8 am to 9 am are typically cheaper than slots in the afternoon. 


Where is a Cremation Service Held?

Normally, for an attended cremation, the service is held at the designated crematorium. For attended cremations, the family will often select the crematorium and the time they would like the service to be held. 


At Neo, for example, we only work with the top crematoria in the UK. This means that the crematoria we use have been vetted by us through due diligence processes by members of our team. 


The Structure of an Attended Cremation 

The structure for an attended cremation will look different for every family. In general the structure is as follows: 


What Happens at the Beginning of an Attended Cremation

The funeral director will arrive early before the ceremony begins. Every crematorium is different and some are more flexible with timings than others. The pallbearers will bring in the coffin, sometimes carried or sometimes wheeled in. 


Up to the family: the family can decide if they would like the guests to be inside the chapel or venue when this happens. 


Oftentimes, the family will follow the coffin being brought in and will then sit at the front. The guests usually follow their lead. 


What Happens in the Middle of an Attended Cremation? 

Second, once the family has arrived along with any other guests. The ceremony will begin. The order of events that follows will also differ, one will need to discuss the ceremony order with either the funeral director or the celebrant or potentially both. 


Next, the ceremony will begin. This will usually be led by the celebrant.

Up to the family: Music will be played, perhaps there will be a few speakers giving a few words to the mourners present. The family can choose their celebrant, the ceremony order, and the songs that are played (if any). 


What Happens at the End of an Attended Cremation?

The celebrant will close the ceremony and at this point either the curtains will close or everyone will leave while the coffin remains. After people exit the chapel the crematorium’s staff and the funeral director will take your loved one for their committal. 


Up to the family: Some crematoriums have curtains. The family can choose to have these close if they wish, signaling the end of the ceremony. 


We have arranged and attended a funeral where the curtains were not closed but family and friends were able to leave flowers and notes on the coffin, which accompanied the coffin during its journey.


Where is a Cremation Service Held? 


Up to the family: the cremation service can be held at any crematoria of the family’s choosing. 


Unlike direct cremation where the family have little control of where the cremation takes place, an attended cremation usually means the family get to choose the crematorium where the service and cremation will be held. 


How Involved do I Need to be When Planning a Funeral?

Attended cremations happen when the family goes to the crematorium on the day of their loved one’s committal. You get the choice to be as involved as you want to be. 


Some people need more guidance than others, especially if this is their first time losing a loved one. That is perfectly fine and normal. It is the duty of the chosen funeral director to guide you every step of the way. 


What Am I Supposed to Do on the Day of the Attended Cremation? 


There are no hard and fast rules on what one can and cannot do at an attended cremation. However, doing a little bit of research ahead of time on what to expect can be especially handy. 


If you find yourself at a loss of what to do, or if you feel anxious, give one of our care team members a call at 0808 196 2140 and they will help you.



What makes a Neo Attended Cremation Different? 

When you book with Neo, you can rest assured that the team will do their best to listen to your wishes and help organise an attended cremation and ceremony that is bespoke and representative of your loved one.

Additional elements we are able to implement include: 


  • Ordering and designing an order of service;
  • Designing and distributing paperless invitations for your loved one’s service;
  • Coordinating with the celebrant to ensure a smooth service and ceremony;
  • Visiting the crematorium ahead of the funeral to ensure the client’s wishes are adhered to; 


We try our best to make the process as easy as possible. 



What if I Cannot Afford an Attended Cremation? 

If you cannot afford an attended funeral, we can help you explore different avenues to help you pay for the funeral. 


The Funeral Expenses Payment is a grant that families on benefits can receive. The payment will pay for the most fundamental parts of a funeral service (we call these “disbursement fees” or third party costs). 


Everything else will need to be paid off by the family or whoever is responsible for organising and paying for the funeral.


Some crematoria even offer discounts for families if the organiser lives within the council. An example of this is the City of London Crematorium


You can reduce the cost of an attended cremation by also booking in the morning, where the crematorium fees are a lot cheaper. 


If you find yourself worrying about upfront payment of the funeral, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we will do our best to help. 


How do I Book a Neo Attended Cremation? 

If you would like to book an attended funeral with Neo, simply give us a call at: 0808 196 2140 and ask to speak to a care team member. 


They will walk you through the entire process, listen to your needs, and help you make decisions regarding the smaller details of the funeral. 


We will then provide you with a quote ahead of time, so that you can get an idea of how much it will cost. 


Don’t worry if you feel stressed throughout the process, our dedicated team is here to help you with whatever you may need.

Jenn Ulloa

Digital Operations Analyst

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