How to arrange a DIY cremation

- 03/12/21

Although the majority of funerals held in the UK are arranged through funeral directors, it is possible to organise one yourself. While arranging a funeral yourself helps you to save money, it will take a bit of time and effort to make all the arrangements yourself.

If you choose to arrange a cremation without the assistance of a funeral director, there are a number of key elements that you’ll need to take into consideration. Bear in mind, however, the cost of the funeral will still depend heavily on your chosen providers and the services you require.

This guide will take you through the steps of arranging a funeral yourself.

1. Arrange care for the deceased

If your loved one dies in a care home or at a hospital, it’s likely that they’ll have the facilities to care for the deceased until the your funeral provider arrives. If you’re arranging the cremation yourself without the support of a funeral provider, they may be able to care for the deceased until the day of the service. They’ll also be able to provide a medical death certificate.

If a person passes away at home, you’ll need to phone an ambulance or your doctor so that a death certificate can be provided. You’ll also need to make arrangements to care for the deceased until the funeral.

2. Register the death

You’ll need to officially register the death within five days in England and Wales, or within eight days in Scotland. In order to register the death, you’ll need to have a signed medical death certificate.

This is a really important step as you won’t be able to make any funeral arrangements until the death has been registered. Once the death has been registered, you’ll receive the documentation you need in order to proceed with the cremation.

If you need more information or assistance with registering a death, visit the government websites for England and Wales or Scotland depending on where you are.

3. Decide on a coffin or shroud and urns

For the cremation, you’ll need to decide on a coffin for the deceased to rest in. Coffins can be as complex or simple as your budget and preference allows. Today, coffins can be made from anything from cardboard and wicker to traditional oak.

However, if you don’t wish to use a coffin, some crematoria do allow the deceased to be cremated in a simple shroud. If you do wish to go ahead with a shrouded cremation, you’ll need to arrange and agree this in advance with your chosen crematorium.

You can also choose an urn to house your loved one’s ashes after the cremation has taken place. If you choose a funeral with Distinct Cremations, ashes are returned in a simple receptacle – giving you the freedom to choose an urn at your own pace.

4. Book a crematorium

Once you’ve chosen a crematorium and agreed on how to proceed, you can purchase your coffin or shroud and start making the funeral arrangements.

In order to finalise the cremation booking, you’ll need to complete a few final pieces of paperwork, but don’t worry, the Chapel Attendants and crematorium staff will be happy to help you with this.

You’ll also be able to discuss any additional needs or preferences you may have with the crematorium. These will include things like the service order, the number of attendees, the date and time of the funeral, and arrangements for any music and readings.

5. Transport of the deceased

With a crematorium chosen and your service booked in, you’ll need to arrange transport for the deceased to the crematorium. While bodies are traditionally transported in specialist hearses, you can transport them in any suitable vehicle. This can be especially poignant if the deceased was well known for their association with a certain vehicle during their life.

6. Organise the funeral service

Although most funerals are steeped in tradition, they don’t have to be. If you don’t feel certain elements of a traditional funeral would be right, such as the inclusion of spirituality when the deceased was non-religious, you don’t have to include them. The funeral can be as personal as you want it to be, only including the things you feel are important to the deceased and their loved ones.

In fact, you don’t have to have a funeral at all if you don’t want to. A simple direct cremation separates the act of cremation from the funeral, letting you say goodbye when you’re ready. You can have a simple scattering of the ashes or a celebration of life surrounded by the deceased’s family and friends.

If you do wish to have a funeral, you’ll need to decide who’ll lead the service. You can choose to lead it yourself along with family and friends, ask an independent funeral celebrant or religious leader.

Arrange a cremation using a direct cremation provider

Arranging a funeral yourself can be daunting, so you can also use a funeral provider company like Distinct Cremation to ease the load. At Distinct Cremation, we can help you with all the legal paperwork as well as make all the funeral arrangements on your behalf. We have specialised funeral vehicles for the collection and transportation of the deceased, and purpose-built mortuary facilities to care for your loved one. We work closely with our national network of crematoria, allowing us to service the whole of mainland England, Wales and Scotland.

Contact us today if you'd like to have a no-obligation talk to discuss your needs and find out how we can help.

Distinct Cremations Limited (Trading as Distinct Cremations) | Registered in England No: 13366310 | Registered Office Westerleigh Crematorium, Westerleigh Road, Bristol BS37 8QP | Part of the Westerleigh Group