Your Questions (FAQ)

Ian Esslemont Funeral Services

Chapel Street


AB54 8BS


T: 01466 792874

Ian Esslemont Funeral Directors Ltd

(Formerly Esslemont & McLeay)

3 Mill Street


AB44 1RS


T: 01261 832467

Your Questions

Some people are reluctant to ask us questions because they’re worried we might think that they’re silly, or too obvious. There are no silly or obvious questions. Please just ask.


Here’s a list of our most frequently asked questions, but if you have a question that you don’t see here, please phone us and we’ll do our best to answer it.


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. There are no restrictions on the clothes worn for a burial however the crematorium have 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 in to the funeral director who will ensure they fitted prior to the funeral. Glasses can also be handed in and put on.


Can we put photographs, poems or meaningful objects in the coffin?


If you have chosen a burial, yes you can.


If you have chosen a 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, you can play a CD of whatever music you want before, during and after the service. Some people have used pipers, solo singers or violinists.


If you are having a service at the burial, we can take a mobile player so you can play a CD of whatever music you choose.


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.


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 mum?


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 get things ready for you. What happens when you say goodbye to your mum is entirely up to you – there’s no right or wrong thing to do.


Your mum will be in her coffin, and she’ll be dressed in whatever you’ve chosen – either in her own clothes or in a robe. You choose whether to have the coffin lid on or off.


There will be a chair beside the coffin. Sit with her 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.


Is there a correct seating order in the cars, church or crematorium?


As a family, the seating order is your decision to make, but it is usually close family who sit in the family cars. Other cars either make their own way to the service or follow on behind the hearse and family cars.


You can reserve seats for 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 family cars, 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.


My mother is in a wheelchair. What are the arrangements for disabled access?


We are fully equipped to cater for disabled access at both of our funeral homes.


If you let us know in advance that there are going to be mourners with a wheelchair at the crematorium, we can remove seats from the rows to create space for them, rather than them being in the aisle.


Cemeteries can vary, but most have a path with disabled access that leads up to the graveside.


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.


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 cars to get there, we will drive you onto the hotel or venue in the same cars.

When you’re ready to go home from the hotel or venue, we can organise a taxi to take the family home.


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.


If you have other questions that haven’t appeared here, please don’t hesitate to phone or email and we’ll do our best to answer them.