Can you be cremated without a funeral?

Yes, you can be cremated without having a funeral beforehand.

This is known as direct cremation and it’s a simple cremation without a ceremony.

Most funeral directors in the UK can offer direct cremation, and at a fraction of the cost of a traditional cremation funeral.

They can organise collection and care of the deceased, a basic coffin, a cremation at an appointed crematorium, and returning of the ashes.

If you choose to have no funeral, just cremation, then family and friends have the option to hold a separate memorial service at a later date when the ashes have been returned.

Continue reading to learn more about no funeral, just cremation…

What is meant by no funeral, just cremation?

No funeral, just cremation is simply another way to describe a direct cremation.

You may also come across the terms ‘cremation without ceremony’, ‘cremation only funeral’ or ‘unattended cremation’ but they all mean the same thing

For many people, direct cremation provides an affordable and fuss-free alternative to a traditional funeral with formal service.

When there is no funeral, just cremation:

  • There’s no procession with hearse, limousines or pallbearers and no ceremony at the crematorium or a place of worship
  • Mourners don’t attend and there’s no flowers or other tributes
  • Embalming isn’t necessary and family aren’t able to visit the deceased in the chapel of rest before the cremation
  • The cremation takes place as soon as possible, at a time and date decided by the appointed crematorium. Family can’t choose the crematorium
  • The ashes are scattered at the garden of remembrance or returned to family. They may choose to hold a private memorial service at a later date with the ashes present

Direct cremation can be arranged for a loved one today or you can arrange in advance with a prepaid funeral plan.

Nationwide providers include:

What happens when there is no funeral, just cremation?

As with a traditional funeral, the funeral director or professional funeral planner would help with all the arrangements for a direct cremation.

Once the death has been registered (which must be done within 5 days), the following usually happens:

  • The deceased is collected in a specialist vehicle from their place of death and transported to the crematorium. A simple coffin is provided
  • Once the necessary legal paperwork is completed, the cremation is scheduled for as soon as possible
  • The cremation is carried out with operational staff present, usually in the morning
  • The ashes are cooled and prepared for collection or scattering in the garden of remembrance

Depending on the direct cremation package you choose, it may be possible for a few close family members to be present for the cremation.

Or, there may also be the option to hold a simple family-led service in the crematorium chapel beforehand.

How much does no funeral, just cremation cost?

No funeral, just cremation in the UK costs on average £1,554[1].

Although how much you ultimately spend will depend on various factors such as the location of the crematorium and which services are required.

In comparison, a standard cremation funeral costs on average £3,885 and an additional £2,532 on top for optional extras such as the memorial and flowers.

Therefore, having no funeral could be the right option for people who aren’t able to easily cover these expenses.

Is having no funeral acceptable?

Yes, absolutely. More and more people in the UK are choosing to have a cremation (or burial), without a traditional service.

In fact, a recent survey by Co-op revealed that 36% of participants said they’d prefer for their loved ones to have a get-together to celebrate their life, as opposed to a full funeral service[2].

And half of the participants (51%) think that more funerals will take place outside of traditional religious settings in the future.

In another survey, conducted by SunLife, 42% of participants said that they would want their family to spend as little money as possible on their funeral and 15% said they would like a direct cremation.

Of course, the decision not to have a funeral will be dependent on the wishes of close family and the wishes of the deceased if they had left these in their will or in prepaid funeral plan.

Why have no funeral?

You may opt for no funeral, just cremation for yourself or for a loved one for several reasons, which may include:

  • A traditional funeral is too expensive and/or too stressful to arrange
  • It would be difficult getting all family and friends together for a traditional funeral within a short time frame
  • It seems more fitting to have an informal memorial service or celebration of life, rather than a formal ceremony
  • Close family and friends may wish to grieve in private, away from a funeral setting

There are other things that loved ones can do to memorialise and pay tribute to someone who has chosen not to have a funeral.

For example, they can:

  • Dedicate a time to scatter the ashes at a special location, which could be followed by a casual gathering of family and friends where they can say a few words, sing songs and raise a glass to their loved one
  • Have a permanent memorial for loved ones to visit for reflection and to leave tributes, for example, a memorial tree, bench or plaque
  • Create an online memorial where people can post tributes, fundraise and share memories and photos

What’s the difference between a traditional cremation funeral and a direct cremation?

The main difference between a traditional cremation funeral and a direct cremation is the funeral service and ceremony.

With a cremation funeral, a service is organised by the funeral director, which tends to include a procession with a hearse and pallbearers.

Following this, a ceremony would be held at the crematorium or church, led by a minister or celebrant, and attended by loved ones.

There may be funeral tributes such as flowers, music, photographs and a eulogy.

With direct cremation, there’s no funeral service or ceremony before the cremation and loved ones don’t attend, which means there’s no need for funeral tributes.

However, similar to holding a wake after a funeral, family and friends may hold a memorial service following the cremation where they can pay tribute to the deceased.

Services Traditional cremation Direct cremation
Advice and guidance from a professional funeral planner List icon List icon
Collection, transportation and care of the deceased List icon List icon
Choice of time and date for cremation List icon Cross
Choice of crematorium List icon Cross
Choice of coffin List icon Cross
Family viewing at the chapel of rest List icon Cross
Hearse or choice of alternative vehicle List icon Cross
Funeral procession with option to have limousines List icon Cross
Ceremony at church or crematorium chapel on the day of cremation List icon Cross
Return of ashes List icon List icon
Wake or memorial service following the cremation List icon List icon

Key points to consider

When there’s a cremation without a funeral service, loved ones won’t be able to:

  • Choose the crematorium
  • Choose the time and date of the cremation
  • Have the body embalmed
  • Visit the deceased at the chapel of rest
  • Attend the cremation

Prepay your cremation funeral from £19.11 a month

At Reassured, we can’t help you prepay a direct cremation but we can help you arrange a prepaid funeral plan for a simple cremation funeral.

Benefits of a prepaid funeral plan:

  • Pay in advance for your funeral services and lock-in today’s price
  • Protect loved ones from unexpected funeral costs and from higher prices in the future
  • Ensures there’s no uncertainty over your final wishes, planning the funeral you want

Funeral plans arranged through Reassured start from as little as £3,020 or £19.11 a month and acceptance is guaranteed.

Contact Reassured for your free personalised quote today.

Sources:

*£19.11 per month pricing includes a £75 discount only available to Co-operative members and is based on a 50-year-old purchasing a Co-operative Simple Funeral Plan at £3,020 over the maximum term available of 25 years (total amount repayable £5,733.40) as of 1st March 2021

[1] SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021

[2] https://www.coop.co.uk/funeralcare/funeral-trends

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