Direct cremations are becoming more and more popular as a funeral option, providing a fuss-free and respectful way to say goodbye to a loved one after they’ve passed away. But what is a direct cremation? Unlike traditional funerals, which involve a ceremony or viewing before cremation, a direct cremation takes place without mourners or a formal service beforehand.

A direct cremation, explained

This option is on the rise in the UK for various reasons, such as simplicity, cost-effectiveness, or the wishes of the deceased or their family. It allows families to say goodbye in their own way, at a time and place that feels most comfortable for them.

The family may choose to have their own personal memorial service to commemorate their loved one at a meaningful location and time of their choosing, often using the urn as a centrepiece of the event.

Once the cremation is over, the ashes will then be put into an ashes container or urn and personally returned to the family of the deceased.

If you opt for a direct cremation with Distinct Cremations, the deceased will rest on the catafalque before the cremation takes place, and a piece of music requested by the family will be played. This will be respectfully observed by those present, and then the cremation will commence.

Here, we aim to provide all the information you need to know about direct cremations, whether you’re considering a funeral plan, or looking to arrange a funeral for a loved one.

How is a direct cremation different from a traditional cremation?

A direct cremation differs from a traditional cremation in several ways, yet both approaches are handled with care and respect for your loved one.

Firstly, a traditional cremation typically involves a formal funeral service or viewing before the cremation takes place. A direct cremation does not have a service or viewing – instead, friends and family can celebrate in their own way.

Traditional cremations may also involve embalming and elaborate preparations of the body for the viewing or ceremony. However, in a direct cremation, embalming is typically not required, and the body is prepared simply and respectfully for cremation without the need for elaborate arrangements.

Another difference lies in the cost and logistics. Traditional cremations typically involve additional expenses associated with embalming, caskets, and funeral services. On the other hand, direct cremations are typically more cost-effective as they forego many of these traditional elements.

Whether you choose a traditional cremation with a formal service or a direct cremation without one, the staff involved will ensure that your loved one's final journey is handled with compassion and sensitivity. They understand the importance of this moment and are committed to supporting you every step of the way.

Here’s a summary of the key differences:

Cremation with Distinct

A direct cremation with Distinct Cremations

The contemporary, simple, fuss-free farewell - free of tradition. Here’s what a direct cremation with Distinct Cremations looks like:

  • An unattended cremation with no mourners present
  • A compassionate, attentive team there 24/7 for your questions and support with paperwork
  • A service free of pomp and ceremony
  • You can organise a separate memorial service that's personal and unique to your loved one
  • On average 71% cheaper* than a traditional funeral, with prices starting from just £1,199


* 71% saving is based on the cost of a basic funeral at £4,141 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/ funeral-costs) vs the cost of a Distinct Cremations direct cremation at £1,199.

Traditional Funeral

Traditional funeral

A fixed format funeral, with a set service

  • A set format 20-50 minute service held in a traditional setting like a church or chapel with mourners present
  • Traditionally less personal and flexible
  • Option to have a procession with a hearse and limousines
  • Funeral and service coordination from a funeral director
  • Costs on average £4,141** for a basic funeral







    ** The average cost of a basic funeral in 2023 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs)

How much is a direct cremation?

The price of a direct cremation varies across providers. However, as the cost of traditional funerals continues to rise, more and more people are opting for direct cremations over traditional funerals every year in the UK.

The average cost of a direct cremation in the UK in 2023 was £1,498, which is, on average, £2,643*** cheaper than a traditional funeral with a service. However, with Distinct Cremations, direct cremation costs start at just £1,199.

Direct cremation is the cheapest funeral option on the market, and, with various direct cremation plans and payment instalment options to choose from, the financial management of a direct cremation funeral plan is as easy as can be. For example, at Distinct Cremations, you have the option to pay for your funeral plan in a single payment, or in monthly instalments over 1 year, 5 years, or up to 10 years.

*** The average cost of a direct cremation in 2023 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs)

Can you attend a direct cremation?

Direct cremations are typically an unattended event, however, modern direct cremation providers do offer various packages and plans to allow an allotted number of family and friends to attend a service after the cremation has taken place. This is referred to as an attended direct cremation.

For example, we offer two attended direct cremation plans with service options to include either a:

  • 10-minute service for up to 8 attendees
  • 20-minute service for up to 20 attendees
  • Full-length service at the crematorium, with an unrestricted number of attendees

These options provide family and friends of the deceased an opportunity to witness the committal of the coffin, and experience a family-led service to remember your loved one in your own way. During this time, you may like to give a meaningful reading, have a few moments of quiet reflection or play a piece of music in honour of the deceased.

What’s included in a direct cremation?

We can’t speak for all providers. However, we conducted some research across the top direct cremation providers in the UK to create a direct cremation comparison table of features, costs, and more.

To give you an idea of what’s included in a direct cremation with Distinct Cremations, here’s a brief overview:

  • Collection of the deceased from a hospital or coroner's mortuary on weekdays in office hours
  • Care at our state-of-the-art professional mortuary
  • Preparation of the deceased for cremation
  • Help with all legal and cremation paperwork
  • 24/7 support from our customer service team
  • Transport of the deceased via private ambulance
  • A simple coffin
  • Respectful and dignified cremation
  • Ashes scattered in our crematorium remembrance gardens or personally hand delivered within 14 days

What is a direct cremation like with Distinct Cremations?

In a direct cremation, the process is handled with the utmost care and respect for your loved one. Here’s an overview of what to expect in 4 simple steps:

1. Immediately after death

The process begins by transporting your loved one from the place of passing to our crematory facility. Here, the necessary paperwork and legal requirements are completed with sensitivity and attention to detail.

2. Preparing the body

Next, the body is respectfully prepared for cremation. This involves gentle cleaning and dressing, ensuring that your loved one is treated with dignity throughout the process. It's important to note that embalming is typically not required for a direct cremation, allowing the deceased to remain undisturbed.

3. Cremation

When everything is ready, the body is placed in a simple cremation container and introduced into the cremation chamber. The chamber, heated to a very high temperature, gently transforms the remains into ashes.

4. Celebration of life

After the cremation is complete, the ashes are carefully collected and placed in a temporary urn. From there, you and your family have the opportunity to decide how you would like to honour your loved one's memory. Whether through a memorial service, private scattering ceremony, or another meaningful tribute, you have the freedom to choose what feels most appropriate for you and your family.

The direct cremation process with Distinct Cremations

At Distinct Cremations, we take care of all the arrangements. From arranging the direct cremation to making sure all your paperwork has been filled in correctly. From the collection of the deceased, right through to the hand-delivery of the ashes. And everything in between.

With expert guidance on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our customer service and funeral teams at Distinct Cremations will help with all your funeral arrangements as you need them, when you need them.

Funeral planning is never an easy task, but our team can help ease the load.

We’re here for you 24/7. You can call us on 01543 211997 before a passing to give you and your loved ones time to prepare or you can call us when the time comes. All we need from you is some basic information to start getting your cremation arrangements in place.

Our caring team will collect the deceased from anywhere in the mainland UK, whether your loved one is at home, in a care home or at a hospital. The deceased will be then taken to our professional mortuary facilities before cremation.

We will prepare your loved one for cremation, bathe them, remove any artificial items and dress your loved one upon request. We will then lay them to rest in the coffin, transport them to the crematorium and we will inform you of the date of cremation.

The cremation will take place at one of our 40 crematoriums in the UK. The coffin is taken through the front door, rested on the catafalque while a song of your choice is played or a moment of silence is respected, then the cremation takes place.

The ashes will be personally delivered back to you within 14 days or scattered in the garden of remembrance upon request. You may then like to arrange a memorial service to commemorate the life of your loved one.

Is a direct cremation right for you?

Direct cremations have quickly become the most popular alternative to a traditional funeral, now being favoured by over 20% of the UK population****.

Many people like having a direct cremation because they are the simplest way to have a funeral and because of the price, but there are also many more benefits to choosing a direct cremation over a traditional funeral.

**** SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs

Simple & low cost

Cremation costs

Direct cremations are the simplest way to have a funeral as they take place without mourners or a funeral service. It's also the most cost-effective way to have a funeral as it's on average 71% cheaper***** than a traditional cremation with no need to pay for any additional funeral services than what is needed.

***** 71% saving is based on the cost of a basic funeral at £4,141 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/ funeral-costs) vs the cost of a Distinct Cremations direct cremation at £1,199

More personal

Family hugging 600x400

With a direct cremation, many people like to host a personal memorial service once the cremation has taken place. This can take place anywhere and at any time you would like.

This may be at the deceased's local pub, at a local sports club or a family home. The options are endless and they all contribute to creating a more personal, intimate and unique funeral experience.

Zero fuss

Funeral Celebrant With Clasped Hands

A direct cremation is all about making the funeral process as stress free for the family of the deceased as possible. With Distinct Cremations, we take care of all organisation and logistics, and even help you with the obligatory legal paperwork.

This allows you to be with your nearest and dearest at the most difficult of times.

Frequently asked questions about direct cremation

What happens during a direct cremation?

During a direct cremation, the body is respectfully cared for and then cremated, typically without embalming or elaborate preparations. During a direct cremation, the coffin will go through the front door of the chapel, will rest on the catafalque, and a moment of silence or a piece of music will be observed to create the most dignified and respectful send off. Afterwards, the family may choose to hold a memorial service or scattering ceremony to honour their loved one's memory in a way that feels meaningful to them.

With Distinct Cremations, every direct cremation is carried out with the utmost respect and each service takes place at one of our charming 40 crematoriums located throughout the UK mainland.

Who attends at a direct cremation?

At an unattended direct cremation, the coffin is rested in the chapel with a chapel attendant or funeral operative present. They will conduct the short service and cremation.

There is an option to have an attended, direct cremation, which includes a short service and a limited number of attendees. Prices for this start at £1,599.

Do you need a coffin for a direct cremation?

Yes, an FFMA-approved coffin is mandatory to conduct a direct cremation at a Westerleigh Crematorium.

Some crematoriums in the UK will cremate the deceased with just a shroud, however, Distinct Cremations only use Westerleigh crematoriums and a simple coffin will be provided for every cremation.

Other helpful resources

Below are a few further articles that you may be interested in.

Arrange a funeral

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At Distinct Cremations, we provide non traditional funerals which are simple to arrange, affordable and delivered with care, dignity and respect. Prices start from just £1,199 if you need to arrange a funeral today.

Arrange a funeral

Funeral alternatives

Group toasting a friend's memory

Alternatives to a traditional funeral have become much more popular in recent years. In this article we outline the different options available and why people are opting for something a little bit different.

Alternatives to a traditional funeral

We offer the highest level of support, but don't take our word for it

Below are a selection of reviews from those who have purchased a funeral through Distinct Cremations.

From the very first phone call I felt things were going to be handled well. Kindness compassion and helpful ness were shown throughout. I was kept informed about all the details and the person delivering the ashes was so respectful and kind taking the time to ask about my husbands life. This is who will handle my cremation.
Received excellent service from Distinct Cremations. The passing of my stepfather was very distressing and emotional time for my family. David at DC kept us up to date with the arrangements, and talked us through each step of the plan, and kept the admin to a minimum. The cost of the Direct cremation was as advertised, which I found to be good value. Thank you everyone at DC.
Excellent service. Professional but still friendly considering the subject being discussed can be awkward for some people.
Very good very helpful customer service Price was very competitive overall very happy
Polite prompt friendly service
Great service, easy to arrange. Very friendly people
Very easy to set up.
Excellent service from Distinct Cremations. My contact was Kerry who was extremely efficient, polite, professional and thoughtful. Every step of my father's cremation was very well explained from start to finish with plenty of contact but only when required. Thank you for a smooth process. I have no issues at all with Distinct and my husband and I will be taking out a plan ourselves in the near future.
5.0
702 reviews
Feefo Gold 2024
Feefo Gold 2024
5.0
702 reviews

Arrange a direct cremation today

Arrange a direct cremation today and honour your loved one's wishes with simplicity, dignity and care.

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Call us on 01543 211997

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