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anniereborn's avatar

Having a funeral before a cremation question?

Asked by anniereborn (13445points) October 26th, 2013

Personally, even though I wish to be cremated, I would like there to be a funeral first. It is just something that has always helped me with grieving and closure. Does anyone know if you have to be embalmed? Or, even if you can be? If you are, will that mess up the cremation or crematorium somehow?

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13 Answers

janbb's avatar

Do you want a viewing o just a service? No need for a viewing or even a casket necessarily to have a funeral or memorial service.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The specifics depends on the state you live in (which is itself sort of bizarre). In general, though, if you’re going to be viewed then they will embalm you – in most states the unburied body (unembalmed) is illegal to have in front of the public (rotting and germs etc.)

If you’re not interested in having a viewing, then what you’re really asking about is having a memorial service – and your body doesn’t need to be there for that ceremony.

anniereborn's avatar

Oh…sorry that wasn’t clear. Yes, I meant a funeral with a viewing.

ibstubro's avatar

Yes you need to be embalmed for a viewing.
Yes you can be embalmed and still be cremated.

No, you do not want to be embalmed, if at all avoidable. Bizarre concept: pay someone big money to desecrate our final remains.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@ibstubro – what you say is true. But I would make two points:

1) @anniereborn won’t be around to enjoy the ceremony and the viewing

2) if it’s worth the $5000 to her to try and give closure to her friends, then let her.

creative1's avatar

My father was cremated and we still had a full funeral with the calling hours and church service, the only thing different is we didn’t go to a cementary after the church service. He was embalmed and it was required in this state to have a casket, some states allow you to rent the casket for the services. A few days later we went and picked up his ashes at the funeral home and took them home where he was put in a place of honor his mothers china cabinet.

So yes you can have the closure of a service and still be cremated.

ibstubro's avatar


“No, you do not want to be embalmed, if at all avoidable.

By all means, anniereborn should do what she feels like she needs to do.

However, without details, I think the more you know about being embalmed, the less likely you are to participate. That $5,000 could be a nice memorial someplace, too. But we agree that it’s her affair.


whitenoise's avatar

In The Netherlands, you don’t need to be enbalmed and one can have a viewing before a cremation.

augustlan's avatar

My grandmother was cremated, but there was a funeral service and viewing beforehand. She was embalmed, then cremated after the service.

Personally, I don’t want a viewing. I’d rather my friends and family have a ‘goodbye party’, instead. Scatter my ashes under the Japanese maple in my back yard.

whitenoise's avatar

I just checked and embalming was actually fully forbidden by law in The Netherlands until 2009 and one would still have to get a special permit if one wants to be embalmed.

It is considered unwanted to introduce all these chemicals into the environment.

People are generally just groomed.

cazzie's avatar

My dad was cremated for his funeral, we just had an empty, closed casket. I don’t want a viewing. I’m still quite devastated from my mother’s 10 years ago.

ibstubro's avatar

@augustlan “Celebration of Life” party is nice. The last one I went to was a pot-luck dinner and her closest friends told funny/sweet stories. Very nice.

downtide's avatar

My family always does cremations and there is always a funeral service beforehand, and always closed-casket. I have no idea whether we use embalming or not but I suspect not – it seems an expensive waste for a closed-casket funeral but I doubt that it would interfere with the creation process; other families do it all the time.

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