After a cremation, what can you do with the ashes?

Many families hold their own memorial service after receiving the ashes from a cremation. The ashes can then be displayed or scattered wherever you want, or you might make a series of memorials for your family.

Lydia Blake avatar

Lydia Blake

07 January 2022

In recent decades, an increasing number of people have chosen cremation over conventional burial. Part of this is due to the increasing loss of religious beliefs in the United Kingdom, but cremation's freedom and flexibility is also a big influence.

Cremation has aided in making death and funeral planning a more personal experience for many years. It's one thing to think about where you'd like to be buried, but considering where you'd like your ashes strewn allows you to be much more creative with your wishes.

But why should we stop there? Families are beginning to take control over their loved ones' funerals, thanks to the fast development of direct cremation in the UK. We'll look at how you might plan your own memorial by opting for direct cremation.

What is the best way to plan a memorial service?

A direct cremation is one that takes place at the crematorium without the need for a typical funeral service. This provides you the freedom and flexibility to create a tribute that is tailored to you and your family, rather than a funeral director.

Many people choose to display the ashes at the memorial service, allowing family members to pay their respects and say their goodbyes in their own way. You can also display the ashes in anything that completely suits your loved one's taste because you're planning it yourself.

We'll go through the most important topics to think about when planning a memorial service in this article:

1. Pick a location.

The first item to consider is the location of the memorial ceremony. If your loved one left a will, they may have included funeral intentions for the type of service they desired, so start there. If you can't discover anything in their will, or if they didn't make one, it's a good idea to chat to close family and friends about your alternatives.

Here are a few suggestions that might be useful:

Town Hall A town hall or community centre can be an excellent option if you're expecting a large number of guests. This would allow you to book the venue, decorate it, and plan the cuisine ahead of time, similar to how you would for a birthday party or wedding reception. If you want the memorial to be private, it's also a wonderful alternative because you can guarantee exclusive access to the venue.

Pub The advantage of creating your own memorial service is that you can hold it wherever you wish, including your neighbourhood pub. A pub is a terrific place to gather with family and friends, raise a glass, and exchange memories, and it may also help to make the memorial feel more like a celebration of your loved one's life.

Beaches and parks An outdoor monument could be the ideal choice if your loved one was always drawn to nature and green spaces. You may enjoy a picnic in the park, a beach BBQ, or perhaps a lengthy walk with your entire family.

A home or a garden Traditional funerals can be unsettling, so why not flip the script and hold the tribute in your own home or garden? This has the advantage of being a private, safe environment where family and friends may share and reminisce about the life of your loved one.

2. Inviting guests

Along with the venue, you should think about how many guests you'll need to invite. This can be problematic with traditional cremation because the funeral is usually held within a week of the person's death. Direct cremation, on the other hand, gives you the freedom to invite as many people as feasible.

If your family is dispersed across the country, or maybe the globe, you may want to hold many memorial services. Another advantage of having the ashes delivered by hand is that you may complete everything on your own time.

3. Make it unique.

If your loved one left a will, it's possible that they included funeral wishes in it to specify what they want to happen after they pass away. Here are a few items that individuals frequently address in their wills:

The dress code Black has traditionally been the colour of choice for funeral clothes. However, as more people begin to view memorials as festivities rather than solemn occasions, colourful attire is becoming increasingly popular.

Music One of the most effective methods to personalise your loved one's memorial event. You might create a playlist with their favourite songs, or simply play a select tunes that will always remind you of them.

Creativity You and your family are the only ones who truly understand your loved one. So, whether they were a voracious reader, a seasoned baker, or a fan of football shirts, add a few finishing touches to make it a genuinely unique memorial.

After a cremation, what can you do with the ashes?

You are allowed to do whatever you wish with the ashes after a memorial service for your loved one. Here are a handful of the most well-liked choices:

Display them in your home

Your loved one's ashes are normally delivered in a modest, temporary urn after a direct cremation. After that, you can place them in whatever container you choose. If you want to keep your loved one's ashes at home, you can choose an urn or container that matches the decor of your home.

Place them in a meaningful location

If putting ashes on display seems a little too traditional, consider scattering them at an area that meant a lot to your loved one. Beaches, national parks, and the gravesites of close relatives are among the most popular places in the UK for scattering ashes. However, you should be aware that scattering ashes in particular locations may require permission.

Read our guide on how to scatter ashes for more information.

We also have a list of places in the UK where you can disperse ashes.

Make memorial jewellery

You may now make cremation jewellery out of your loved one's ashes in a variety of styles. You can have a jewel crafted for a ring or necklace out of only a small amount of ashes, or you can simply acquire some pendants or lockets to put the ashes in.

Plant a tree in honour of the deceased

If your loved one had a favourite park or beauty place, you may dedicate a memorial tree there in their honour. Along with memorial trees, many individuals prefer to put memorial tree plaques. This allows you to offer a few words to honour your loved one's life while also identifying which tree you planted in the future.

Bury the ashes in the ground

Another alternative is to bury the ashes in a cemetery, which is a more conventional approach. If you wish to keep your loved one close to another relative, such as their parents or partner, this may be the best option for you. You might even have a bespoke plaque or headstone fashioned to mark the location of the ashes.

Is it acceptable to split ashes?

It can be tough to decide who will keep the ashes after a cremation. This is particularly typical when the deceased individual has two or more children, all of whom desire to keep the ashes at home. It might be a good idea to split the ashes in this case.

A cremation typically produces 1-3 kg of ashes, enough to fill a large urn. Instead, split the ashes into a number of smaller, personalised urns for different family members. You might also make various pieces of commemorative jewellery, such as stones for memorial rings and necklace pendants, if you choose to preserve the majority of the ashes in one place. Typically, just 1-2 tablespoons of ashes are required.

Next tip

Arranging a funeral

Read more
Write your will online with Simpwill

Our solicitor-approved will writing service can help you write a will online in as little as 15 minutes.

Get started today