No Funeral Just Cremation: Direct Cremation in the UK

No Funeral Just Cremation: Direct Cremation in the UK

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Direct cremation is an increasingly popular option in the UK. This 5-step guide breaks down the planning process, cost and guidelines for a direct funeral. 



No Funeral Just Cremation: Direct Cremation in the UK 



Direct cremation is an alternative funeral option. It is cheaper, simpler and easier to organise than most conventional funerals. This guide will answer the 5 most common questions about direct cremation, thus enabling you to plan a funeral service appropriate for your needs.



What is a Direct Cremation?


A direct cremation is a cremation without ceremony. There is no funeral service and no mourners are in attendance. After death, the deceased’s body is taken to the crematorium and an unattended cremation is carried out at an available timeslot. The cremated remains are then returned to the family in an urn or container. The family may bury or scatter the ashes. They may also choose to hold a memorial service at a later date. 


A ‘no service cremation’ is a cheap funeral option that omits many standard funeral costs, such as:

  • embalming
  • an expensive coffin
  • a viewing ceremony or wake
  • a minister or officiant
  • transportation for mourners
  • flowers, catering or venue hire for the funeral service



How to Arrange a Direct Cremation?


There are two ways to plan a direct cremation. Either the next of kin plan the cremation service directly with the crematorium staff, or a funeral director (which is largely the same as a funeral parlour or funeral home) is appointed to oversee the process, for a fee. The crematorium staff or funeral service will help to:

  • organise a death certificate
  • transport the body to the crematorium
  • arrange for a coffin or an acceptable box 
  • arrange a time for the direct cremation to take place
  • sign an authorisation form for the cremation of the deceased
  • return the cremated remains to the family of the deceased



Choosing a casket:

If there is to be no funeral just cremation, then you are not required to purchase a casket. The cremation can take place with the deceased placed in an unfinished wooden box or an alternative container. Your chosen funeral service’s undertaker can make these options available to the family for a direct cremation. If you decide to purchase a coffin, your funeral director can advise you on the choices available.



An urn for the ashes:

The next of kin may provide the crematorium with an urn for the cremated remains of the deceased. If the family do not have an urn, they may purchase one through their chosen funeral directors. Keep in mind that you are under no obligation to purchase an expensive urn. The crematorium can also return the ashes in a simple cardboard box if that is preferred. 



What Happens at a Direct Cremation?


A direct cremation is a simple option because it doesn’t include most of the events and traditions associated with most conventional funerals.


A direct cremation usually follows these steps:

  • a doctor completes the death certificate and any necessary paperwork
  • the deceased is collected from home or the hospital 
  • the body is transported to a funeral home or taken directly to the crematorium
  • the deceased is placed in a conventional casket, or a simple container
  • an unattended cremation takes place at a time chosen by the crematorium 
  • the family do not have a viewing, nor a ceremony with the deceased 
  • the cremated remains are returned to, or collected by, the next of kin
  • ashes may be scattered, buried, or kept in an urn
  • the family may choose to hold a memorial service at a later date



What are the Direct Cremation Costs?


A cremation without a funeral service, booked directly with a crematorium, can cost as little as £1300. A cremation only, booked through a funeral director, could cost around £1600. In comparison, the average cost of a basic funeral service in the UK is £4417. Direct cremations can make suitable alternatives to a funeral if you are looking for a more cost-effective option.



Cost of direct cremation services:

The costs associated with a direct cremation include:

  • doctor’s fees
  • transfer of the deceased into the care of a crematorium
  • a basic coffin
  • transport of the coffin to the crematorium
  • an unattended cremation
  • a simple container for the deceased’s ashes




Keep in mind that if you arrange a direct cremation for your loved one, the fee will most likely not include:

  • viewing of the deceased
  • a funeral service in a church, graveside or crematorium
  • newspaper announcements
  • flowers
  • attendance at the cremation
  • a chosen timeslot for the cremation


Keeping the cremation unattended allows the crematorium to arrange their own schedule. This helps them keep costs down. 



What are the Benefits of a Direct Cremation?


Direct cremations are becoming an increasingly popular choice. In recent years, even celebrities like David Bowie, Prince and Christopher Reeve have chosen no-service cremations over conventional funerals. There are a number of benefits to choosing a direct cremation:

  • cost – a direct cremation is cheaper than conventional funeral options
  • religion – a cremation without service does not include any religious or cultural traditions
  • time – by having a direct cremation, the family can hold a memorial service at a later date, without the stress of planning a service so soon after death
  • stress and fuss – sometimes the deceased may have specified (and even paid for) a direct funeral, to save their loved-ones the stress of organising or paying for it themselves
  • body repatriation – direct cremation is a useful option if the deceased passed away in a foreign country, as it is a much cheaper and easier process than repatriating a body


At Fenix Funeral Directors, we can advise you on the different kinds of alternative funerals available for you and your loved ones. Whether you’re looking at cremation only, or a direct cremation followed by a memorial service, our funeral operatives will offer you caring guidance and support.





Can I arrange my own cremation?

It is possible to pre-plan a cremation for yourself, and pay for it in advance. If you choose a direct cremation, is important to include all the details of your funeral plan in your last will and testament. This helps the executor and your next of kin carry out your wishes.



How much is a direct cremation in the UK?

A direct cremation can cost between £1300 – £1700 in the UK. Scotland may be a slightly cheaper option than England and Wales because of their different laws regarding doctor’s notes.

If you’re arranging a direct cremation, please speak to us at Fenix Funeral Directors (insert hyperlink) about the variety of cheap funeral plans we can offer you.