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What to expect on the day

What happens on the day at a funeral service.

If you have never been to a funeral before, or you are visiting one of our venues for the first time, you may find it helpful to understand what to expect on the day.

Cremations - before the service

When you arrive at the crematorium the funeral director will drive you to the chapel, you will then be guided to the family waiting area.

You will be greeted by a Bereavement Care Officer at the chapel or ceremonial hall where the funeral service is taking place.

Then with the minister or celebrant, the funeral director will enter the chapel to ensure everything is ready for the service of your loved one.

The Bereavement Care Officer will liaise with your Funeral Director to ensure that all pre-agreed funeral requests are accurate and up to date. If there are any short notice changes this is when these can be communicated with our team.

All music, visual tribute and webcast requests will be double-checked with your Funeral Director at this stage. This all happens very discreetly within the music room as you and your family greet each other in our designated waiting rooms.

There are accessible toilet facilities, as well as a coffee machine within the waiting rooms at both Bournemouth and Poole Crematoria. These machines are currently coins only, no cards are accepted.

If you need a private room to change, please speak to a Bereavement Care Officer who can assist you.

Conducting the cremation service

Although a Bereavement Care Officer will be present to lead the Funeral Director when on-site and assist with supporting your family, they are not responsible for conducting the funeral.

It is your Funeral Director's responsibility to direct the whole of the funeral service. As the family, your needs and requests will always be at the forefront of their mind.

Your Funeral Director is required to see your service into the chapel, lead the minister or celebrant and see your congregation safely out of the chapel at the end of the service. They are also required to stay with you in order to support you on-site, until such time the main mourners are ready to leave. 

When the time comes to bear the coffin in, you will be directed into the chapel. Depending on your arrangements, either the funeral director's bearers or family bearers will lift the coffin and the family will either follow the coffin into the chapel or will be in the chapel for the arrival of the coffin. The service will then commence following the arrangements you have made with your funeral director.

When the service is finished, the minister or celebrant will bow to the coffin, the catafalque may or may not lower depending on your arrangements.  Chapel attendants will then ensure the chapel is clear before they lower the catafalque to the crematory for your loved one to be received by the crematory team.

Cremations - after the service

After the service, your Funeral Director will wait until you’re ready and then direct you towards the floral court to gather with your loved ones, and to view the floral tributes.

Flowers remain in place at the crematoria floral court for 7 days, and during this time you can come and collect them at any time. After 7 days, the tributes are then sensitively disposed of, and we recycle any materials that we can.

About the cremation

If you would like to read about the cremation process and view pictures of the crematory, we have put these on a separate page for you.

Floral Court at Poole Crematorium and Halo Ceremony Hall
Floral Court at Poole Crematorium and Halo Ceremony Hall

Burials - before the service

You will be greeted by a Burials Officer either at the chapel or ceremonial hall where the funeral service is taking place or at the graveside if you are having a ‘graveside only’ service.

If you are having a service in one of our Chapels prior to burial, you have the choice to walk from the Chapel to the grave or it may be easier for elderly or disabled mourners to be driven as close as possible to the grave.

We have 2 wheelchairs available to use, please instruct your Funeral Director if you require use of them. Learn more about accessibility at our locations.

If you are arriving from another venue your Funeral Director will park on the road closest to the grave.

Burial Paperwork Checklist

The burial will not be carried out without all legally registered grave owner's written authority to do so (in cases where the grave has been purchased). The paperwork needed is:

  1. ‘Green’ Certificate for burial or cremation or 'Coroner's order for burial' – received once the death has been registered.
  2. Interment Form – to be collected by the applicant for the burial, with all grave owners signing authority to open the grave.

Bearers will be given direction by their Funeral Director, on bearing their loved one safely and respectfully to the graveside.

Burials - during the service

The grave will have been prepared in advance by our cemetery grounds team and the soil removed from the grave will be in a mound and dressed nearby ready for backfilling.

There are three types of shoring that are used for the safety of the grounds team which are hydraulic, solid frame or teleshoring. Only one type will be used on the day, but this is dependent on whether the family would like to backfill the grave.

For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that we are informed at the earliest possible opportunity of the family's wishes. It is at the discretion of the Bereavement Care Manager whether families are permitted to backfill the grave.

Depending on your arrangements there may be short readings or prayers graveside depending on the religious beliefs of the deceased. When the burial service has finished, the grave will not be filled until mourners have left the burial site, depending on the arrangements made prior to the burial.

Burials - after the service

Once the family have left the graveside, the 'backfilling' of the grave will take place. This is using the soil that was excavated from it.

Towards the end of the backfilling process, the gravediggers allow a certain amount of 'mounding up' on top of the grave – this is the large mound of soil you may have noticed on recent burials. Graves take a certain amount of time to settle.

Cemetery Rules and Regulations

We recommend that you take the time to familiarise yourself with our Cemetery Rules and Regulations. Please ask the team if you have any questions or require any further help.

Support for the Bereaved

If you, or someone you know, needs extra support during this difficult time, there are some organisations that can help.