Cremation or Burial?

There are many things to consider when arranging a funeral service. For many people deciding on whether to have a burial or cremation is key. So, what are the main differences between both options and what should you be aware of?

Burial and cremation both have their roots in centuries-old cultures. The Ancient Egyptians buried their dead alongside their possessions, while archaeological records have found evidence of cremation services dating back thousands of years. Both methods are still in use today, and the choice you make will depend on three key considerations:

This is of course in addition to any preference expressed by the deceased and their family.

The ceremony you want

With a burial, the body of the person who has died is placed in a coffin, which is sealed before it is placed in the ground, while cremation refers to the process in which the body is burned to ashes. A burial usually involves a ‘traditional’ ceremony, which follows a set structure and doesn’t offer much potential for personalisation. This can be a good thing, as the pressure of adding customised elements to the funeral arrangements when you are dealing with the grief of losing a family member or a loved one can feel overwhelming. However, a cremation can offer more flexibility if that is what you want. A service can follow the structure of a traditional funeral, or it can resemble a more intimate gathering. In addition, burials must be done in a relatively short amount of time, but with a cremation you can schedule a time and location to bury or scatter the cremated remains that suits everyone, which can offer you a longer opportunity to start to come to terms with your loss.

The cost of cremation and burial and other factors

When arranging a cremation or burial, it is important to consider the funeral costs such as burial and cremation fees and funeral director fees. The burial fee includes the coffin and cemetery plot, and for these reasons there is often the perception that it’s a more expensive option compared to cremation cost. . However, low-cost coffins made with veneer or chipboard, or even cardboard that can be decorated as you wish, can help ease these financial considerations. In addition, the deceased and their friends and family might want to hold an eco-friendly funeral that has a minimal impact on the planet. In terms of burial, dispensing with embalming and opting for a willow coffin – also known as a wicker coffin or basket coffin – is an increasingly popular choice. Other biodegradable  or ‘green’ materials that can reduce the impact of burial on the environment include banana leaf, seagrass, rattan, wool and bamboo. Also bear in mind that while the cremation process doesn’t involve embalming, it still uses fuel and produces emissions that not environmentally friendly.

Choice of memorialisation

If you choose to bury the deceased, either in a cemetery or on private land – providing you have permission – a headstone can mark the place and offer friends and family a physical place to visit and remember their loved one. This can still be the case when you choose cremation, so remember that scattering the ashes is just one option. You could keep the ashes in an urn, or arrange for them to be buried in the crematorium’s garden of remembrance. This means the ashes will either be scattered under a tree or bush, or placed in a sealed compartment in the garden wall that is marked with a plaque.

Whatever you decide, finding the right funeral director will take a lot of the anxiety out of the arrangements, and our online comparison service can help. Find out more here.

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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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