Direct cremation. If it’s good enough for David Bowie….
It's quite possible that you've never heard of direct cremation and even if you have, you may not be entirely sure what it is. But direct cremation is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the likes of David Bowie and author Anita Brookner, who've chosen it as a no-fuss farewell and helped bring it to our attention.
What is direct cremation?
It's basically a cremation at its quickest and simplest with no funeral service.
The body goes straight to the crematorium to be cremated usually in a very simple, plain coffin. After the cremation, the remains are returned to the loved ones, to be kept or scattered according to their wishes.
The appeal of cremation without a funeral
A simple, dignified send off like this is particularly appealing to people who don’t feel the need for a formal, ceremonial funeral service. Preferring instead to hold an alternative farewell ceremony, celebration of life or memorial service at a later date.
It also appeals to people who simply can’t afford a traditional funeral service and all the trappings that go with them. And when someone has died abroad, a direct cremation can save the considerable cost of transporting the body home.
The rising cost of funerals
The continuing rise in funeral costs is a concern, they have skyrocketed 122% since we started tracking funeral costs back in 2004. Today the average cost of a basic funeral is £4,271. By comparison, the average cost of a direct cremation comes in at just £1,712.*
Such a marked difference in cost is easy to understand. With a direct cremation, many of the costs associated with a funeral can be avoided. There’s no need for hearses and limos, no embalming, no service, no officiant’s fees and no extras like flowers and orders of service to pay for. It’s also cheaper simply because the cremation can be carried out when it’s convenient for the crematoria.
An increasingly popular choice
Already, cremation is the most popular choice of funeral. 75% of all funerals in the UK are cremations and of these, the number that are direct is growing. According to the funeral directors interviewed for our latest Total Cost of Dying report, 95% now offer direct cremations*.
5 reasons why people choose direct cremation
Beyond cost, there are many more reasons why people choose a direct cremation, either for themselves or for a loved one.
- Simple and dignified - If you want the minimum of fuss, this is a simple yet dignified option.
- Free rein - The simplicity of a direct cremation, leaves you free to organise a celebration of life or memorial service in any style or place you choose.
- Inclusive - For those who aren’t religious or have friends and family with varied beliefs, a simple, direct cremation followed by a personal celebration or memorial service could mean more to everyone than a traditional funeral service.
- Time to reflect - With more time to plan a gathering or celebration of life, being able to properly plan a suitable time when family and friends can come together to remember the life of a loved one is easier. And that will make it extra special.
- Less upsetting - Seeing a coffin and knowing a loved one is inside can be difficult for some people, particularly children. Bypassing this step and remembering the person in a different way, can make saying goodbye a more personal and positive experience.
Is a direct cremation for you?
This type of simple goodbye is never going to be everyone's cup of tea, and that's fine. But it does give another option for planning a funeral in a way that works for you, your loved ones and perhaps more importantly, your pocket.
If you’re currently considering your options, use our free funeral cost calculator to find out how much a basic funeral costs where you live.
*SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2018