Making decisions about final arrangements can feel daunting. Whether you’re honouring the wishes of a loved one who's passed, or are deciding on your own preferences for the future, it's important to understand the options available.

Cremation resonates with many for its simplicity and flexibility. In recent years, direct cremations in particular have seen an increase in popularity, with 20% of all funerals in 2023 being a direct cremation*.

This shift reflects a broader change in how we approach end-of-life ceremonies, with many now favouring a more straightforward and personal way to say goodbye. This guide explores the key differences between traditional and direct cremation, highlighting why an increasing number of people are opting for the latter.

* Cost Of Dying Report 2024, SunLife

Understanding direct cremation funerals

Direct cremation funerals differ from traditional methods, focusing only on the essentials of cremation to help loved ones commemorate the deceased in a way that’s more meaningful to them. Key aspects include:

  • No formal funeral service or attendees at the crematorium
  • Reduced involvement in funeral arrangements for families.
  • No viewing or visitation of the deceased
  • Freedom to commemorate the deceased in a personalised way at a later date
  • Options for attended services with up to 8 or 20 attendees for a family-led ceremony

Direct cremations don’t involve a funeral service

A direct cremation takes place without an attended funeral service. This allows families to remember their loved one in a more personal way, at a time that suits them. For instance, families might celebrate their loved one’s life in a personal setting like a park, pub, beach, or home, focusing on celebrating their life rather than mourning their loss.

The absence of a traditional funeral ceremony simplifies the process, meaning it often feels less daunting for those organising the funeral.

For those who prefer a no fuss funeral but wish for some attendance, attended direct cremation is an available option, blending simplicity with the presence of guests.

Man Researching Funeral Plans

Man Researching Funeral Plans

Direct cremations are cheaper than traditional funerals

By eliminating many of the services associated with traditional funerals, families can significantly reduce the financial burden. This makes direct cremation financially accessible for many.

In the UK, a direct cremation costs £1,498, which is £2,643 less** than a traditional funeral with a service. Because direct cremation omits traditional funeral elements like formal services, viewings, and floral arrangements, it is significantly more affordable.

At Distinct Cremations, we offer direct cremation services starting at just £1,199. If you’re planning for a future funeral, explore our direct cremation funeral plans.

** Saving of £2,643 is based on the cost of a traditional funeral at £4,141 vs direct cremation funeral at £1,498 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024)

Direct cremations are simpler to arrange

Because a direct cremation requires fewer arrangements than a traditional funeral, it’s much simpler to organise. The cremation service provider typically handles the details, reducing the burden on families at an already challenging time.

For example, Distinct Cremations handle everything from collecting the deceased and caring for them at our mortuary, to arranging the cremation and personally returning the ashes.

To find out how we can help you arrange a funeral, simply get in touch.

Understanding traditional cremations

Traditional cremations involve several key components that differentiate them from direct cremation options. Traditional options usually include:

  • An attended funeral service at the crematorium or place of worship
  • Involvement in arranging the funeral details
  • Viewing or visitation of the deceased
  • A wake either before or after the formal service

Traditional cremations have a formal service

The funeral service itself is an integral part of the traditional cremation process. This typically involves a formal ceremony that may include:

The ceremony is typically conducted by a funeral director, and is often held in a crematorium or place of worship. In a traditional cremation, a viewing or visitation may be arranged, offering an opportunity for friends and family to gather and pay their respects.

Additionally, a wake can be organised either before or after the cremation. This event serves as a more casual gathering, offering loved ones an opportunity to share memories and support each other.

Families are more involved with funeral planning

Families or loved ones are expected to be heavily involved with funeral planning, selecting everything from the crematorium and service type to the casket or urn. This process also involves arranging for death certificates and permits required for cremation.

On the other hand, the simplicity of direct cremation means there's less for families to manage during what’s already a difficult time.

Key differences between direct and traditional cremation

Direct and traditional cremation have several key differences. Here are the main ones summarised:

Feature Direct Cremation Traditional Cremation
Funeral service No formal service or attendants at the crematorium. Formal funeral service with attendants, often in a crematorium or place of worship.
Attendee options Options for intimate services with limited attendees for a family-led ceremony. Often less limitation on attendees, with services designed to accommodate larger gatherings.
Involvement in arrangements Minimal involvement required from families. Service providers handle most details. Families are heavily involved in planning and arranging details.
Viewing and visitation No viewing or visitation of the deceased. Viewing or visitation is common.
Timing of memorial Freedom to commemorate at a later date, offering flexibility to plan a personalised memorial. Memorial is typically held shortly after passing, in conjunction with the funeral service.
Cost Generally less expensive due to the simplicity and fewer arrangements. Typically more expensive due to the inclusion of a service, viewing, and other ceremonial elements.
Personalisation Personalisation focused on the memorial service held at a later date. Personalisation within the constraints of the funeral service and related ceremonies.

Deciding what’s best for you

Choosing between a direct cremation and a traditional funeral depends on personal preferences, family values, the deceased's wishes, budget, and planning involvement.

Direct cremation is simpler, more affordable, and offers flexible memorial timing. It suits those preferring a straightforward process and personal tributes. It's an option that appeals to those seeking a straightforward approach or who wish to focus on personal memorials separate from the act of cremation.

Traditional funerals, with their formal services, viewings, and communal rituals, cater to those seeking conventional ceremonies and communal closure.

Ultimately, the choice between a direct or traditional cremation should align with your preferences, and those of your loved ones.

Laptop For Researching Funeral Plans On Table

Arrange a direct cremation today

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

Have a question? Get in touch with our friendly team for advice.

Call Now On 01543 211997

Other helpful resources

What is a direct cremation?

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Learn what direct cremation is, a simple and affordable way to handle a loved one's remains without a funeral service.

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Traditional Burial

This article compares cremation and burial, helping you decide by discussing costs and personal preferences.

Cremation or burial?

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

Below are a selection of reviews from those who followed their instinct with Distinct and chose to buy a funeral with us.

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Mark 21 May 2024
Excellent communication, very helpful and we got just what we wanted in a service. Highly recommended and we will use again. Mark Oliver
Anon 2 May 2024
Service very efficient, and comprehensive. Understandably, you "chased me up" when there was a delay in my response to place an order, but this delay was whilst I contacted all those relatives who might have had a view to express.
Anon 24 Apr 2024
I was very happy with the service I received and they are only a phone call away if I or my sons should need advice or help in any way
Wendy 8 Apr 2024
This is a good company, the cremation was dealt with very smoothly without any problems. The staff were very courteous and professional throughout. Everything was explained over the phone and they were very patient answering my questions. The ashes were delivered on time to my door. Highly recommended.
Anon 7 Apr 2024
They gave a superb service, they were very professional from start to finish, but also friendly and empathetic too, at what was a very difficult time for myself and the family
Anon 6 Apr 2024
Dee was lovely and understanding and advice was easy to understand
Anon 5 Apr 2024
Very kind and helpful lady. She talked me through everything that I asked her about.
Anon 1 Apr 2024
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.
Based on 711 reviews
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