What’s included in a simple funeral service?

What is a simple funeral? And what does it include? In this article, we’ll look at the differences between simple and traditional funerals. We’ll touch on other low-cost funeral options too.

What is a simple funeral?

A simple funeral is just that – a funeral that includes the basics and nothing more. For this reason, simple funerals are sometimes called basic funerals.

Simple funerals are much cheaper than traditional funerals. Some people choose a simple service to save money, while others just prefer a straightforward ceremony without too much fuss.

It’s important to note that a simple funeral isn’t the same as an unattended funeral or a direct cremation. With a simple funeral, you’ll still have a service for people to attend. Whereas with an unattended funeral or a direct cremation there’s no service.

How is a simple funeral different from a traditional funeral?

Generally, simple funerals include only essential elements. The things that are included are more straightforward and less expensive than at a traditional funeral.

This means traditional funerals are usually more flexible. The person organising the funeral can choose when and where the funeral is held. They can usually pick extras too, like a funeral procession, a viewing or a wake.

Choosing a simple cremation or burial means giving up some of this flexibility. However, it doesn’t mean giving up the chance to say goodbye properly. With the right poems, music and readings, a basic funeral can feel just as special and memorable as a traditional service.

What’s included in a simple funeral?

A simple funeral follows the same structure as a traditional funeral, but there are a few differences. Here are some of the most important:

  • Funeral date and time: you’ll usually have less choice over the date and time of the funeral.
  • Choice of vehicles: the funeral director will transport the person who has died to the funeral in a simple, respectful vehicle, but a hearse and limousines usually aren’t provided.
  • No procession: a simple funeral service usually starts when everyone arrives at the crematorium or burial ground.
  • No pallbearers: there won’t be any professional pallbearers though family members may be allowed to carry the coffin into the service.
  • Choice of flowers: often simple funerals don’t include flowers, though you might be offered a choice from a small selection.
  • Choice of coffin: usually the coffin will be a simple design – you might have a few options to choose from or it might just be one option.
  • No wake (funeral reception): this probably won’t be included. But you can hold an informal wake at a family home or pub instead.

Bear in mind that this is just a guide. The details of a simple funeral service will vary depending on the funeral director you choose. Make sure to ask them what’s included.

How much does a simple funeral cost?

The cost of a simple funeral will vary based on where you live, the funeral director you choose and any extras you add.

As a guide, you can use our funeral director finder to compare the price for a simple funeral near you. Just type in your postcode or location and click search. You’ll see a list of funeral directors in your area, together with prices. The ‘attended funeral’ price will give you an estimated cost for a simple funeral, without extras.

Keep in mind that some funeral directors offer two or three different simple funeral options, so it’s worth getting in touch to talk about what you want included. They can advise on the best option.

Is a simple funeral the right option for you or your loved one?

If you’re not sure if a simple funeral is the right option, here are a few things to consider:

A simple funeral might be the right choice if:

  • The person who died wanted a simple send-off without a lot of fuss
  • There won’t be many people attending the funeral
  • You need to keep funeral costs down

A simple funeral might not be the right choice if:

  • You want to hold the funeral on a weekend
  • You want the funeral to take place quickly (e.g. within 72 hours of the person dying)
  • You want to have a separate service at a place of worship before or after the cremation
  • You want to have a traditional funeral service with a procession, pallbearers and flower arrangements

How to plan a simple funeral

Planning a simple funeral is very similar to planning a traditional funeral:

 

Tip: It’s fine to change funeral director. Even if you’ve already arranged for a funeral director to collect the body of the person who has died, you don’t have to use them to arrange the service. If you’ve changed your mind, it’s okay. Learn more about how to change funeral directors.

Another option: choosing a funeral without a service

Simple funerals aren’t the only type of low-cost funeral. If you don’t want a ceremony at all, an unattended funeral could be the right choice. This is a simple cremation or burial with no service – instead, the cremation or burial takes place without any mourners, music or readings.

Some people choose a direct burial or cremation to save money. They’re among the cheapest funeral options in the UK. In 2021, a direct cremation cost £1,647 on average (SunLife).

Others choose them because they don’t want a lot of fuss when they die. Remember: you can always hold an informal event to celebrate the life of the person who has died. And you’ll still have the ashes or a grave site to remember them by.

For more info, read our guide: why are people choosing direct cremations?

 

Funeral Choice helps people find local funeral directors at a fair price. You can read more helpful articles in our advice centre.

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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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