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What to Do with Your Loved One’s Ashes After Cremation  

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After a cremation service, family members receive their loved one’s ashes. At this point, it is often decided what will happen to the ashes. Sometimes, the departed will have had specific wishes about where they want to be laid to rest.  

Hands touching a burial urn at an outdoor funeral

However, if the deceased has not made this decision, family members can choose what to do with a loved one’s ashes.  

But what are the options? 

What to do with ashes after cremation? 

There are several options – some traditional, others more unique. So, getting the family together to decide is a good way for everyone to be involved.  

Traditional options  

Bury ashes after cremation  

If some of your lost family members are buried in a cemetery, there is an option to place the ashes in this plot. Burying ashes is also known as the interment of ashes, which takes place in a small gathering after the funeral service. You will need permission to do this, as the ashes are buried within the existing plot. Ashes can also be buried in other areas, such as gardens or woodland areas.  

Scatter ashes after cremation  

Scattering a loved ones’ ashes is another common way to say farewell to the deceased. In the UK, there is no specific law stating where you can or can’t scatter ashes. However, if you choose a public or private space, you’ll need permission from the landowner first.  

Keep ashes after cremation  

When deciding what to do with ashes after cremation, another option is to keep them. Purchasing an urn and keeping it at home can help loved ones to feel close to a lost one. Ashes can also be split among family members, so each person has the deceased nearby.  

Unique options  

There are numerous unique ways to say farewell to a loved one following a cremation. Some ideas include: 

Turn ashes into jewellery 

Memorial jewellery is a beautiful way to keep a lost loved one close by. Several companies provide options to turn ashes into pendants, bracelets and rings. Plus, as only a small amount is required, this could be a lovely option for several family members.  

Take the ashes on your travels 

Did the deceased have a favourite holiday spot? Or perhaps they loved sailing or being close to the sea? To give them a tremendous last send-off, scattering their ashes over the water or in their beloved destination is a memorable way to say farewell.  

Plant ashes as a tree 

Woodland burials and green funerals are becoming more commonplace as people look towards reducing their environmental impact even after death. So, the option of planting a tree with your loved one’s ashes is a beautiful way to keep their spirit alive. You also have a particular spot to return to as it grows.  

Get a tattoo with ashes  

Tattoos are a permanent and beautiful way to remember a loved one. However, some studios now offer the option of using ashes within the ink to make this even more special.  

Keep ashes in a cuddly toy 

Aside from the traditional urn, ashes can be stored in many ways, including cuddly toys. These specially designed toys have a concealed area at the back to place the ashes to keep them safe.  

Helping you say farewell to a loved one 

Whatever option you decide on for your loved one’s ashes, our compassionate funeral directors in Bristol are here to guide you through the options. 

If you have any further questions about our services, contact our caring and experienced team, who are ready to advise you. 

Funerals provide a space to share your memories and support the family of the deceased. One simple way to do this is by writing in a condolence book.

Open page in a condolence book

If you’re wondering what to write in a condolence book in the UK, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. In this post, we’ll take you through everything you need to know, including where to buy a condolence book. 

What is a book of condolence?   

Condolence books are a thoughtful way to give a message of support during an upsetting time. The family of the deceased often provide a book at the funeral service or wake, and you may choose to write a short message if you wish.  

However, it’s understandable that putting pen to paper can be a little overwhelming. Not knowing what to write or how to start your message is a typical stumbling block.  

But, whatever you write, it’s important to remember that this may give the deceased’s family comfort. In addition, it may help you to cope with feelings of loss.  

What to write in a condolence book at a UK funeral service?  

Writing in a condolence book is a personal experience, but overthinking your words can make this daunting. Some aspects to consider include the following: 

Starting your message 

Address your message to the family members. Perhaps start with a sentence such as “I was very sorry to hear that George passed away…” This sentence is often the most difficult to write. However, in these few words, you can express your sympathy and show support for the grieving family.  

Include personal memories 

Writing in a condolence book is a beautiful way to share memories of the deceased. Reminisce about experiences you shared or how they impacted your life. Include kind words about their character or how they made you feel. Loved ones will cherish these messages fondly.  

Offer support  

After the funeral, the deceased’s family will take time to read the condolence book. So, at the end of your message, you can offer a helping hand if you’re able to. For example, you might mention that they can call anytime if they need to or if they require assistance with life tasks such as shopping or babysitting. Let them know you’re only a phone call away.  

How to write in a condolence book  

Don’t worry about the length of your message 

Some people write several paragraphs, others just a few sentences – don’t feel your message has to be a specific length. Any words are appreciated.  

Speak from your heart 

This message is a way to show the deceased’s loved ones your feelings during this time. To convey your message, the words don’t have to be grammatically perfect or even spelt correctly. So, don’t worry about the little imperfections. Just write from the heart.  

What not to write in a condolence book 

Writing a heartfelt message doesn’t have to be daunting. But there are a few things to remember so you don’t inadvertently cause upset at this already difficult time.  

Avoid religious phrases, especially if the family are not religious. For example, writing that this is part of God’s plan, or a similar expression, may cause hurt.  

Avoid comparing this experience to your own or using phrases such as “I know how you feel”. While this comes from a good place, and you’re trying to help, everyone experiences grief differently, and this may cause upset.  

Where to buy a condolence book?  

If you are making funeral arrangements, condolence books are available in many high street and online stores. Your Bristol funeral director may also provide a book or recommendations for online condolence pages where family and friends can share messages, images and donations after the funeral.  

Compassionate funeral services in Bristol 

Preparing for a funeral service can be a difficult process. For assistance on what to write in a condolence book or other aspects of arranging a funeral, our team of caring and professional funeral directors in Bristol is here to help. 

If you have any questions about our services, you can get in touch with our friendly and compassionate team for advice and guidance. 

Organising a wake is a common element in a funeral service. This celebration of life is dedicated to the deceased and is often an informal way to reminisce with family and friends.

Funeral Wake

What is a funeral wake, and what is the difference between a funeral and a wake?

A funeral wake is a get-together of family and friends to celebrate the life of the deceased. Traditionally, wakes were held before a funeral service. However, nowadays, they typically take place afterwards.

This differs from the funeral service, as a funeral is either a religious or non-religious ceremony conducted by clergy members or a registered funeral celebrant.

What happens at a funeral wake?

Wakes are a special time for loved ones of the deceased. They can be an informal or a more formal gathering of loved ones, and they take place in a location chosen by the family.

Some wakes also involve readings and prayers. But, most involve a social gathering, which includes food and drinks to enjoy while remembering the departed.

Do you have to have a wake after a funeral?

Holding a wake is entirely at the discretion of the family. It is not a requirement to have a wake before or after the funeral service. So this is decided when making the arrangements.

What is a wake at a funeral home?

A wake at a funeral home often takes place before the funeral service. It is also known as a ‘viewing’ in some religions and involves gathering around the deceased to say goodbye.

Who should attend a wake?

The organisers of a funeral and wake can decide to make this occasion a private or public event. The details of a wake are typically included within the order of service at the funeral and include the location and other relevant information.

Public funeral announcements often include details of a wake after the funeral. However, the family may decide to invite close family and friends for an intimate get-together.

Do you take anything to a wake?

There are no requirements for attendees to take anything to a wake. You may feel that taking a card of condolence is appropriate. However, it is not expected.

How long does a wake last?

Wakes typically last a few hours. However, depending on the location, this may differ. Some families organise a larger celebration and hire a venue that accommodates socialising for several hours after the funeral service. There is not generally a set time for guests to leave a wake. Most people leave when they feel it’s appropriate.

What do you wear to a wake?

A funeral wake commonly takes place after a funeral service. So, your attire during this is perfectly acceptable for the wake. There’s no need to change.

Is attendance at a funeral wake after the service a requirement?

It is not compulsory to attend a wake after a funeral service. However, letting the deceased’s family know you cannot make it is polite. As funerals are typically held during the week, the organisers understand that work and family commitments may conflict, and your attendance at the funeral service is much appreciated.

Preparing for a funeral wake

Wakes are a personal choice and are arranged to celebrate the life of the deceased. This is a special time for family and friends and attending offers a chance to reminisce and mourn together.

Organising a funeral and wake can be an upsetting time. Our team of compassionate funeral directors in Bristol is available to help you make the necessary plans for a unique service. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with our caring and experienced team, who will be happy to answer your questions. 

Pallbearers play an essential role at funeral services. But there are often questions about how to pick pallbearers and what to expect if you’re chosen for this important role. You might also be wondering, “how many pallbearers do you need for a funeral?”  

Pallbearers carrying a coffin

Below, our guide explains some of the main aspects of what pallbearers do – and how many will be needed for a funeral.  

What do pallbearers do at a funeral? 

A pallbearer is an individual that carries the coffin during a funeral service. They typically take the coffin from the hearse to the service in both civil and religious ceremonies. If the deceased is buried, the pallbearers also carry the coffin to the graveside.  

This role is extremely important during a funeral and is seen as an honour and mark of respect for the deceased. People that can’t physically carry the coffin are also welcome to be pallbearers. However, this role is usually referred to as a guard of honour.  

How many pallbearers are needed at a funeral? 

Usually, there are four or six pallbearers that carry the coffin at a funeral. You can choose your own pallbearers for this role. However, your Bristol funeral directors can also arrange a professional service if required. If you have pallbearers that would like to carry the coffin, the funeral director may offer additional individuals to help alongside them.  

How are pallbearers chosen? 

Choosing who to be a pallbearer is a family choice. It can be anyone close to the deceased. However, it does not have to be immediate family. For example, if the deceased is being carried into the funeral service, pallbearers of similar heights are often used to balance out the weight of the coffin. But, if the coffin is being wheeled in via a bier, anyone can escort it to the place of rest.  

Are pallbearers always male? 

Traditionally, pallbearers were male, and this is still the case at many funerals. However, you can select anyone to be a pallbearer, regardless of their gender. 

What to expect if you’re a pallbearer 

If you’ve been asked to be a pallbearer, you may wonder what happens at the funeral. Carrying or escorting the coffin from the hearse is an integral part of the service. However, don’t worry too much about what you need to do before the day. 

The funeral director is on hand to guide pallbearers and will demonstrate how to carry the coffin. They will also tell you where you need to walk and where you’ll be positioned in relation to other pallbearers. Depending on the type of service, you may also be guided on the pace of your walk and how to lay the coffin once you get to its resting stand. In some cases, pallbearers may need to carry the coffin back to the hearse for burial or cremation elsewhere.  

Once a pallbearer has carried out this role, family members often leave space so they can return to the congregation quickly.   

Whether you decide to accept the role of a pallbearer is your personal choice. However, if you are concerned about the physical capabilities required for carrying the coffin, your funeral director can advise on how this will work. For example, if the coffin is being held, an honorary pallbearer role may be suitable. 

Arranging pallbearers with your funeral director  

As independent funeral directors in Bristol, we can help you to arrange pallbearers for your loved one’s funeral. We can also assist if you would like to include family or friends in this important role.  

If you have any questions about pallbearers or other roles within a funeral service, you can get in touch with our caring and experienced team, who will be happy to answer your questions. 

Choosing what your loved one will be laid to rest in is an important decision. Most people commonly select a coffin or casket. But, while these terms are often used interchangeably, they have a few variations in meaning.

red rose flower on wooden coffin in church

So, what is the difference between a coffin and a casket? Let’s take a look…

What is the difference between a coffin and a casket?


In the UK, many people choose a coffin to hold the deceased. This specially designed box has six sides. The top is wider than the bottom section, and they are typically made from wood. However, coffins are available in different materials depending on your preference and budget.

Another aspect that differs from a casket is that a coffin doesn’t usually have handles on the side. If there are handles, they are typically only for decoration, as the pallbearers hold the coffin on their shoulders and support it with their hands.

Additionally, inside a coffin, the deceased is laid within silk or satin material, which is in a neutral or muted colour such as cream, beige or a pastel shade.


The term casket is primarily used in the USA. The main difference between a coffin and a casket is the shape. A casket is a traditional rectangle box with handles at the side so it can be carried at the funeral service.

Before a funeral, the casket is used for viewing the deceased. It is then lowered into the ground if a burial is chosen. However, the casket is not often buried if the deceased is being cremated. A casket may also be used at the wake.

There are some instances where the cremation takes place, and the urn is placed into the casket, and they are buried together. There’s also the option of a cremated ashes casket. This is different from a burial casket as it is purely used for the burial or storage of the deceased’s ashes.

The cost of a casket is another aspect that differs from a coffin. Due to the size and shape, more wood is needed to create this style of box. This makes a casket typically more expensive than a coffin.

Caskets are made out of high-quality wood such as oak, mahogany and walnut. Some are also made from metal. The construction makes them heavier and more costly than a coffin. The lining of a casket is also different to a coffin. The materials used are more extravagant or luxurious and sometimes include padding or quilted fabric.

Choosing a coffin or a casket

The above information covers a common question – what is the difference between a coffin and a casket? Overall, there are key variations in the design, style and cost of a coffin or a casket. However, in the UK, you will typically have a choice of coffin designs suited to your budget and preferences. Likewise, the cost of a coffin varies depending on the material and any special requests. However, your Bristol funeral directors will guide you through the choices to help you select the best option for the deceased.

If you need further advice on whether a coffin or casket is suitable for your loved one, contact our Bristol funeral home today. Our experienced team is happy to help you with advice and guidance on appropriate options.