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What happens at a cremation and service?

Guests meet at the crematorium. It is important to arrive on time because many cremation services take place throughout the day. There may be a charge if a service over runs.

The celebrant or funeral director will take you to where the cremation will take place, this is usually the crematorium chapel.

If it was arranged beforehand, the closed coffin will be in view on a raised platform at the front of the chapel. If guests are waiting for a hearse, on arrival the people helping (the pallbearers) will carry the coffin into the chapel.

Embalming is not necessary for a cremation, although it can be requested. If you have asked beforehand, any letters or photographs can be included inside the coffin.

You may be given an order of service. This could include songs, prayers and readings.

The service begins. This is known as ‘the committal’ and takes about half an hour. The curtains can be closed around the coffin at the start of the committal. You can also request that they remain open throughout the service. The coffin will be cremated with the person who has died.

The chapels at Lodge Hill and Yardley crematoria have a catafalque that lowers the coffin into another room. You can ask for the coffin not to be lowered during the service. It will be lowered after all the mourners have left.

After the service has ended, the celebrant or funeral director will show guests the way out. Guests will also be able to see any cards, photos or flowers, and offer their condolences.

If a wake has been planned, this will take place after the service.

The ashes, along with the Certificate of Cremation, will usually be ready for collection or scattering from the crematorium about two or three days after the service.

To find out more about burials and cremations, contact Bereavement Services.


A cremation with a funeral service (a ‘standard’ cremation) costs around £900. A cremation without a service (a ‘direct’ cremation) costs around £600.

Find out more about our crematoria fees (currently under review).

You may want to consider other cremation costs, such as organist fees, to scatter ashes in a Garden of Remembrance, or if a service over runs.

Page last updated: 28 February 2023

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