What is a Direct Cremation? Things You Need to Know

Written by Fraser Stewart
Reading time 3 minutes
What is a Direct Cremation? Things You Need to Know image

There are a number of different options for funerals and cremations. In this article, we will discuss one of the most economical services, direct cremation.

What Is Direct Cremation?

Direct cremation is a simple no-frills cremation. There is no casket and no service, but a few family members can be present for the cremation if they wish.

A direct cremation is much cheaper than a simple burial because there are no fees for the burial plots and no need for a casket. The cost of a direct cremation usually includes transport of the body, a simple coffin, and death certificate costs. Depending on your wishes, the direct cremation provider might offer optional extras like:

Does a Direct Cremation Include a Service?

No, if you want a service before the cremation, you should select a standard cremation. However, some people who choose direct cremation will opt for a memorial or wake after the cremation. This may be a formal service that is led by a celebrant or a more informal gathering of family and friends.

Depending on the cremation provider, one or two family members may be present for the committal, but there is no room for extended family or a group of mourners. Discuss the inclusions and options with the cremation provider.

The Benefits of a Direct Cremation 

Most people pick a direct cremation for two reasons:

Funeral costs rise every year, and currently, the average funeral cost is £4184, according to Sunlife’s 2021 report. It is a lot of money to pay to funeral companies that often have strict guidelines for the service. Direct cremation, on the other hand, is less than half this cost and allows you and your family more say over how you want your life to be celebrated. You can choose the tone and location of your memorial and have much more choice over the decorations and proceedings.

A direct cremation also allows families more flexibility for when they want to hold the memorial service. If your loved ones live all over the world, it may be difficult for everyone to come together at such short notice. With direct cremation, the body is dealt with right away, and your family can hold a memorial service at a time convenient for them. It gives your loved ones time to mourn you before they have to host family and friends and leaves a lot of flexibility for cultural and religious practices like mourning periods.

Many celebrities have chosen direct cremation in order to allow their family time to mourn in private. Their memorial services are usually a lot more lavish and attract the attention of international media, so this gives their loved ones time to plan. David Bowie and John Lennon are among UK celebrities who have opted for direct cremation.

How to Pick the Right Cremation Provider

Each cremation provider will have different inclusions in their direct cremation service. You should look at their plans to decide which one is best for your family. Consider the following things:

Because the cremation does not include a service, the cremation provider picks a date and location and notifies your loved ones. This is why it is vital to pick one with crematoriums in your area. Most cremation providers will consult with loved ones about dates to stay away from so that the direct cremation does not occur on a birthday or anniversary. Discuss this with cremation providers if it is important to you.

Scattering Ashes After Cremation

When planning for a direct cremation, you should also think about where you want your ashes to be scattered. Your ashes could be scattered either at the memorial service with your loved ones in attendance or it could be more of a private affair. Think of places that are meaningful to you. Some people want their ashes to be scattered in the ocean at their favourite beach; others ask for them to be scattered at a favourite lookout or even in their back garden. Be sure to remember the mobility level of the person scattering the ashes. Asking your partner to scatter your ashes at the lookout on your favourite hiking trail is fine, but if you want your aunt to scatter your ashes and they walk with a mobility aid, then you may need to choose another location.

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