What are the alternatives to traditional burial?

forest in summer for an alternative burial

Recent research (SunLife Report 2022) shows 65% of funeral directors have seen a drop in the number of traditional funerals taking place. More and more people are looking for different ways to remember their loved ones and looking for alternatives to traditional burial too.

But what are the options? We’ll take you through some alternative burial options below so you can see which is suitable for the funeral you’re planning.

Alternative burial options

Burial at sea

Anyone can be buried at sea. You don’t have to have worked in the Navy. But sea burials are difficult to organise because they’re regulated very carefully. You’ll need permission from a doctor and the coroner. And you’ll also need to apply for a licence from the Marine Management Organisation.

Before you apply there’s more paperwork to gather. You’ll need:

It’s also important that you choose a suitable coffin . A funeral director who specialises in burials at sea should be able to help you with this. They’ll know that the coffin needs to be made from particular materials and weighed down properly so that it doesn’t break on the sea floor. The coffin must not contain any toxic materials. And it should be biodegradable so that it eventually breaks down in the water. The government has rules on coffins for burials at sea so that everything is done safely. You’ll also need to keep in mind that sea burials can only take place in a few locations in the UK.

There’s a lot of organisation that goes into a burial at sea. But it’s not impossible. If it’s an important part of a loved one’s final wishes read our guide to organising a burial at sea for more info.

Natural burial

A greener alternative to a traditional burial is a natural burial. This is similar to a traditional burial but it reduces the environmental impact. Typically traditional burials can harm the environment. Chemicals used for embalming can be left behind in the soil along with metal fixings used on traditional coffins. And traditional coffins take decades to break down. But with a natural burial the aim is to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

What makes a natural burial eco-friendly?

More and more people are considering a natural burial across the UK. It’s an alternative burial option that could make remembering someone more personal and unique to them. Read our guide to natural burials to find out more.

Woodland burial

A woodland burial is a type of natural burial. This type of burial might appeal to someone who loved nature and getting outside. Some natural burial grounds have woodland areas where burials can take place alongside other sites like wildflower meadows for example. The same rules for natural burials apply in woodland burial sites too. The site owners will take care of the area and make sure that any plants or wildlife are left alone so they can thrive.

Want to learn more about this type of burial? Read our guide to woodland burials for more info.

Home burial

If you have the space it’s possible to have a burial on private land. Home burials are legal in the UK. But there are some rules to follow. Here’s what you’ll need to consider before organising a home burial:

A home burial could be a personalised way of saying goodbye to someone. But it can be a complicated process. Make sure you get help from experts so that you can remember the person in the way you’d like.

Burial in a mausoleum

Another alternative burial idea to consider is a burial above ground in a mausoleum. Many people think that this type of burial is old fashioned and not carried out anymore. But as cemetery space is limited this type of burial could become more popular. And if a traditional ground burial just doesn’t feel right then organising a mausoleum may be a better option.

Here are a few things you’ll need to know before deciding if a mausoleum is the right choice:

We hope we’ve given you some ideas about alternatives to traditional burials that will be suitable for you or a funeral you’re planning. Remember to get advice from experts wherever possible. You can find help near you with our funeral director finder.

 

Photo by Gustav Gullstrand on Unsplash

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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