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Difference Between a Funeral Service and a Cremation Service

Inevitably all of us at one point or another, face the loss of a loved one. Along with feelings of grief, stress, and confusion comes the responsibility of making various arrangements. While the decision process can be difficult, here at Cremations of Greater Tampa Bay we strive to make the journey as easy as possible and bring comfort to mourning families. In this article, we will cover a key question – what is the difference between a funeral service and a cremation and what to consider when deciding between the two?

While both options aim to pay tribute to the deceased, they have significant differences that make each one unique. Funeral and cremation services have their advantages and disadvantages, and understanding them can help you make an informed decision when planning a loved one’s final arrangements.

Funeral Services

A funeral service is a traditional way of honoring a loved one’s memory, and it often involves various rituals and customs. It usually involves a formal ceremony or service, visitation or wake, and burial of the body in a casket or coffin. Funeral services are typically held in a funeral home, a church, or a place of worship.

One of the significant advantages of a funeral service is that it provides closure for the family and friends of the deceased. It allows them to say their final goodbyes and pay their last respects. It also offers a chance to gather and support each other during the grieving process.

Funerals can also be customized to suit the deceased’s beliefs, traditions, and cultural practices. 

However, funeral services can be expensive, depending on the type of casket, burial plot, and other services required. They also involve embalming the body, which is the process of preserving it with chemicals to delay decomposition. Some people may find this practice unnecessary and prefer a more natural approach.

Cremation Services

Cremation is an alternative to traditional funeral services that involve burning the deceased’s body and reducing it to ashes. It is typically performed in a crematorium and can be arranged with or without a funeral service. Cremated remains can be kept in an urn, buried, or scattered in a meaningful location.

Cremation services are generally less expensive than funeral services, making them a more affordable option. They are also more flexible since they do not involve embalming or the purchase of a casket. This allows families to customize the service according to their preferences and budget.

Another advantage of cremation is that it is more environmentally friendly than traditional burial. Cremation does not require a burial plot, which reduces land use and eliminates the need for potentially harmful chemicals used in embalming. However, some people may find cremation less comforting than traditional funeral services since it involves the destruction of the body. It may also go against some religious beliefs and cultural practices, which require a proper burial.

Which Option Is Right for You?

Choosing between funeral and cremation services is a personal decision that should be based on various factors, such as cultural beliefs, religious practices, personal preferences, and budget. You can also consider the deceased’s wishes or any pre-planned arrangements they may have made.

When considering funeral or cremation services, you should research and compare prices from different funeral homes and service providers. You can also inquire about any additional services or amenities offered, such as transportation, obituary services, and grief counseling. If you choose cremation services, you can select a direct cremation without a formal service or opt for a memorial service after the cremation. You should also consider the final disposition of the ashes, such as keeping them in an urn, scattering them, or burying them.

Depending on the state you live in there may be certain laws and regulations in place that govern what can be done with cremated ashes. It’s good to inquire about these regulations to avoid unpleasant surprises or expensive fines. 

In conclusion, funeral and cremation services have significant differences that make each one unique. Funeral services provide a traditional way of honoring the deceased’s memory and offer a chance for closure and support during the grieving process. Cremation services are more affordable, flexible, and environmentally friendly but may not be suitable for everyone. At Cremations of Greater Tampa Bay, we’re here to assist you and answer any questions you may have. 

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Florida law states “A cremation may not be performed until a legally authorized person gives written authorization for such cremation,” (FS 497.607).  Furthermore, the law defines whom the “legally authorized person” is and sets up the order of priority of next of kin. We require a written authorization before scheduling any cremation or funeral services. The “Authorization for Cremation and Disposition” form must be signed by the next of kin in the following order: spouse, son or daughter (of legal age), parent, brother or sister, grandchild, grandparent.

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