Frequently Asked Questions
We know you will have a lot of questions to ask us. So have curated some of the most frequently asked questions we get about our service. We hope this is useful to you, but please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any other questions for us.
Are “own clothes” allowed to be worn?
If you would like ‘own clothes’ instead of a funeral robe please hand them in as soon as possible especially if there are people who wish to come in to view them. There are no restrictions on the clothes worn for a burial however the crematorium has to observe environmental regulations. If a cremation the clothes must be lightweight (no kilts or heavy jackets, no shoes or heavy buckles/belts).
What about false teeth or glasses?
False teeth can be handed to the funeral director who will ensure they are fitted prior to the funeral. Glasses can also be handed in and put on, however, these will be removed before cremation.
Can we put photographs, poems or meaningful objects in the coffin?
If you have chosen burial, yes you can.
If you have chosen cremation, then you can’t put combustible objects such as glass or metal in the coffin because they could explode during cremation. Again, you’re best to check with us.
What music can we play at the service?
If you are having the service at the crematorium, we booked the music through the Obitus system installed at the crematorium. This is done 48hrs (working days) before the funeral. You may also choose to have a live piper, singer(s) or musician.
If you are having a service at the burial, we can take a mobile player. We would put the music on a USB stick.
If you are having the service in a church, it’s best to check first – some churches have restrictions and prefer organ music to be played, other churches have their own equipment.
How many people can be buried in a lair?
A lair can usually take up to three full interments and three casket interments, although this can depend on the depth and type of soil. If it’s an old lair, we’ll check with the cemetery staff. They can ‘probe’ the lair to find out its depth.
Can we donate a body to science?
Only if the deceased has already signed the consent forms and arranged this with a medical school at a local university before they died.
Not everyone who dies is accepted, so it’s probably a good idea to think about alternative arrangements, just in case.
After three years, the body is usually cremated and the cremated remains returned to the family.
What is embalming?
When someone dies, the natural bacterial flora within the body continue their activity after death, firstly within the colon then migrating through the rest of the body to break down the body tissue. Embalming destroys these micro-organisms, which in turn preserves the deceased and presents the body in a more natural, lifelike appearance.
Embalming isn’t always necessary in Scotland because most funerals take place fairly quickly after death.
What happens when I come to say goodbye to my loved one?
Tell us when you would like to come and visit. When you arrive, we’ll ask you to wait in a comfortable room while we do final checks before showing you through.
What happens when you come to see your loved one is entirely up to you. There’s no right or wrong thing to do.
They will be in their coffin and be dressed in whatever you’ve chosen – either in their own clothes or in a robe. You choose whether to have the coffin lid on or off.
There are chairs in the room. Stay as long as you want, and do what feels right for you. Some people bring poems, prayers, photographs, letters or flowers to put inside the coffin. Some people talk. Some people sit quietly. Some people play music.
Is there a correct seating order in the limousines, church or crematorium?
As a family, the seating order is your decision to make, but it is usually close family who sit in the limousine. It holds up to six people. Other cars either make their own way to the service or follow on behind the hearse and limousine.
You can reserve seats for the close family at the front right-hand row of the church or crematorium. If you want the family to be seated before the rest of the congregation, let family members know that they should make their way there.
What happens when we arrive at the crematorium?
If you make your own way to the crematorium, we ask you to take a seat in the waiting room until the funeral director who is looking after you comes to collect you and take you to the service room. You can choose to go in either before or after the congregation.
If you arrive at the crematorium in the limousine, it will park up behind the hearse and your funeral director will open the doors for you and usher you into the crematorium either before or after the congregation, depending on what you prefer.
If you have a cortege of family cars, then talk to your funeral director about what you would like to do.
The coffin can either be placed on the catafalque before the service, or it can be carried or wheeled in on a trolley once everyone is seated.
What are the arrangements for disabled access?
We have ramps available at our office in Cowdenbeath.
Can the coffin always be carried into the church or crematorium?
Different crematoria have different rules about carrying in, and an increasing number are starting to use trolleys for health and safety reasons.
Some churches have narrow aisles or steps or other health and safety issues that have to be considered. Talk to your funeral director to find out the best option for you.
If my husband is being cremated, will his coffin be cremated too?
Yes, it will. The crematorium has to follow very strict rules and regulations – by law. After the curtain closes nobody is allowed near the coffin until it is cremated shortly after the service.
Do I always get the correct cremated remains?
Yes, you do. The crematorium has to follow a strict labelling identification process from the moment the coffin is received on its premises up until the cremated remains are picked up by family or friends.
You need to have complete confidence in the process, so if you’re not sure about anything, come to one of the open days at our local crematoria, where the procedures will be explained and your questions answered.
Do I have to disperse or inter the cremated remains straight away?
No, you don’t. Keep in touch with us and let us know what you would like to do with them. We can keep them at our funeral homes for up to six months, but after that, we will contact you and ask you to collect them, until you make a decision.
How will I get from the graveside to the hotel?
If you have used our limousine to get there, we will drive you to the hotel or venue in the same limousine.
Do you have to shake hands after the service at the crematorium?
This is really up to you and your family. Some people shake hands in a line up in the foyer after the service. Others prefer to line up at the hotel if they are providing catering after the service.