With over 70% of UK funerals in 2023 opting for cremation+, it's clear that cremation has become the preferred choice for many. Despite its popularity, there's still a lack of awareness about the diversity within cremation services themselves.

+Sunlife Cost Of Dying Report 2024

From traditional to direct and attended cremations, each type offers a unique way to commemorate a loved one, with varying costs and considerations.

In this guide, we'll explore the most common types of cremation services, outlining how they work, what you can expect to pay, and why each might be the fitting choice for your needs. Whether you're seeking simplicity, flexibility, or tradition, understanding these options can help you make a decision that remembers your loved one in a way that feels right.

Direct cremation

Direct cremation is the simplest and most affordable type of cremation, involving no formal funeral service or viewing beforehand. This option stands out due to its simplicity, low costs, and the freedom it offers families to plan a memorial that truly reflects their loved one's life and wishes.

The process begins with the collection of the deceased from the place of death, followed by transportation to the crematorium. The necessary legal documentation is handled by the cremation provider. Once paperwork is completed, the cremation takes place, without family or friends present.

Since the cremation itself takes place without a formal service, families often organise a separate memorial service at a later date, in a location and manner that feels more fitting to them and the life of their loved one. Some choose to hold a private memorial at home or another meaningful location, allowing friends and family to share memories, stories, and celebrate the life of the loved one.

After the cremation, the ashes are handed back to the family. This allows for a range of choices on what to do next. Some may choose to scatter the ashes in a meaningful place, keep them in an urn, or even incorporate them into unique memorial objects like jewellery. The decision on how to memorialise a loved one with their ashes is a deeply personal one, offering families the opportunity to reflect on the best way to commemorate their life.

To learn more, read our guide on what is a direct cremation?

Direct cremation costs

The average cost of direct cremation across the UK is £1,498#, making it significantly less expensive than traditional funerals with a service.

At Distinct Cremations, we offer our services starting from £1,199.

For those looking to plan ahead, we offer direct cremation plans starting at £1,699 or as low as £19.44 per month*. Opting for a direct cremation can alleviate financial stress, allowing families to focus on a memorial that truly reflects the life and preferences of their loved one.

For a breakdown of direct cremation costs from various providers, helping you make an informed decision, explore our comparison of direct cremation costs.

#Sunlife Cost Of Dying Report 2024
* Price advertised is for a 50 year old paying over a 10 year period. Total cost is £2,332.80 and includes administration fees.

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Why choose a direct cremation?

Direct cremation offers several benefits:

  • Cost-effective: according to the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, over a third (37%) of people want their families to spend as little as possible on their funerals. Direct cremations significantly reduce the financial burden on grieving families. The money saved can instead be allocated towards a celebration that better suits the person’s life and legacy.
  • Simplicity: this type of cremation simplifies the process at a difficult time. Without the need to arrange a formal service immediately, it lessens both the emotional and logistical load on families.
  • Flexibility: it offers the freedom to decide how and when to celebrate the life of a loved one. Families can plan a memorial that feels right for them, whether that’s immediately or in the future.
  • Not everyone wants a traditional funeral: this option allows for a goodbye that can better reflect the individual’s personal beliefs and views.

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Attended cremation

Attended cremation combines the simplicity of a direct cremation with the option for family and friends to be present during the cremation process. This type of service allows for a more traditional form of goodbye while still offering the flexibility and affordability of direct cremation.

The attended cremation process typically includes a short ceremony at the crematorium where loved ones can share memories, readings, and music to celebrate their loved one’s life. This provides a dedicated time and place to say farewell in a more personal setting before the cremation.

Our services offer up to 8 people for a 10-minute ceremony, or up to 20 people for a 20-minute ceremony.

Following the cremation, families have the option to collect the ashes and decide on the most fitting tribute. This could range from scattering the ashes in a meaningful location, keeping them in an urn, or using them in a variety of memorial items.

Attended cremation costs

Attended cremation provides a personal and meaningful service at an affordable cost. Our prices begin at £1,599, allowing for a dignified ceremony without the high expenses of traditional funerals.

For smaller, intimate ceremonies of up to 8 people lasting 10 minutes, plans start from £2,099 or £25.23 monthly**. Larger services for up to 20 people and lasting 20 minutes begin at £2,299, or £28.45 monthly***.

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** Price advertised is for a 50 year old paying over a 10 year period. Total cost is £3,027.60 and includes administration fees.
*** Price advertised is for a 50 year old paying over a 10 year period. Total cost is £3,414.00 and includes administration fees.

Why choose an attended cremation?

Attended cremation is a straightforward, flexible, and affordable way to say goodbye. Here’s why it might be a suitable choice:

  • Simplicity and ease: it’s a straightforward service without the extras of a traditional funeral, but still allows friends and family to be present.
  • Affordability: it costs less than traditional funerals, making it easier on your budget while still remembering your loved one.
  • Flexibility: you can tailor the service to your needs, choosing either an intimate gathering of 8 people for 10 minutes or a larger one of 20 people for 20 minutes.

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Traditional funeral service with cremation

In 2023, about half of all funerals were traditional cremations, showing they're still a common choice. However, their popularity has slightly decreased from 74% in 2019. At the same time, direct cremations are on the rise, making up 20% of cremations in 2023++.

Despite the changes, traditional funeral services with cremation continue to play a significant role in how we remember our loved ones. This type of cremation typically begins with a ceremony attended by family and friends, which can be either religious or non-religious. This service is often held at a crematorium or a place of worship, depending on the family's preference. Following the ceremony, the body is cremated.

A traditional service is usually arranged with a funeral director, and will involve a hearse and procession. The funeral director plays an important role on the day, running the service in line with the family’s wishes.

Venues for traditional cremation services can accommodate varying numbers of attendees, subject to their capacity. This flexibility ensures that anyone wishing to pay their respects can do so, making it a suitable option for those anticipating a large gathering of mourners.

For families looking to avoid the expenses of a full traditional funeral, smaller attended cremations or direct cremations present more straightforward, affordable alternatives.

Learn more about the differences in our related guide: direct vs traditional cremation.

++ Sunlife Cost Of Dying Report 2024

Traditional funeral costs

The cost of a traditional funeral with cremation in the UK has seen its first increase in three years, now averaging at £4,141—a 4.7% rise from the previous year****. This includes the ceremonial aspects, such as the service and procession, which contribute to the higher cost compared to other types of cremation.

For those seeking more budget-friendly alternatives, attended and direct cremations offer significantly lower costs. These options eliminate many of the expensive elements of traditional funerals, providing simpler, yet dignified ways to say goodbye.

**** Sunlife Cost Of Dying Report 2024

Eco-friendly cremations

Eco-friendly cremations are becoming a popular choice for those who want to leave a lighter footprint on the earth. These types of cremation focus on reducing environmental impact.

Our Go Greener option, available for an extra £100, is a great choice for anyone looking to make their cremation more eco-friendly. Here’s what it includes:

  • Eco-friendly coffin: this option comes with a coffin made from wood fibre, using fewer trees than traditional coffins.
  • Carbon offsetting: we also offset the carbon emissions from the cremation process, helping to balance the environmental impact.
  • Tree planting: additionally, choosing Go Greener means we'll plant a tree in memory of your loved one, contributing to reforestation and fighting climate change.

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Get in touch with us today

Whether you're wanting to arrange a funeral today, planning for the future, or looking for something else, our customer service specialists are here for you 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.

Ask a question today or call us on 01543 211 997.
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Other helpful resources

What is a direct cremation?

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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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