Can you be cremated without a funeral?

Yes, you can be cremated without having a funeral.

This is known as 'direct cremation' or 'cremation without ceremony' and can be arranged by most funeral companies in the UK.

Most people choose to have a funeral service prior to a cremation, but this isn’t obligatory.

A funeral can be tailored to honour the wishes of the person who’s passed and their family.

Whether a loved one has requested there to be no funeral, or you’re thinking ahead for your own funeral, then this guide can help.

Prepaid direct cremation plans with Reassured

If you’re thinking about having no funeral, just cremation for yourself in the future, then you may consider a prepaid direct cremation plan.

A prepaid plan allows you to pay in advance for your direct cremation services - locking-in today’s prices.

More importantly, it ensures that your loved ones are protected from excessive funeral costs and from the stressful task of arranging your funeral.

Prepaid direct cremation plans start from as little as £1,495 or £15.97* a month and acceptance is guaranteed for those aged over 50.

Contact Reassured for your free personalised quote today.

Reassured is an award-winning, FCA regulated broker with over 10 years of experience helping customers secure affordable financial protection.

What is meant by no funeral, just cremation?

When we say there’s no funeral, just cremation this is what it means:

  • A cremation takes place without a funeral service or ceremony beforehand
  • The traditional aspects of a funeral, such as a procession with hearse, limousines and pallbearers, aren’t required
  • A suitable vehicle is used to transport the deceased and a basic coffin is provided
  • The cremation itself will take place at a time and date decided by the cremation provider
  • There are no mourners. Instead, loved ones can arrange a separate memorial or celebration of life at another time
  • Additional items, such as flowers or other funeral tributes, aren’t required

As mentioned, the official term is ‘direct cremation’. It means that the person who has passed may be taken directly to the crematorium for a cremation.

There is no pre-determined time and date and mourners don’t attend the crematorium.

However, some cremation providers give loved ones the option to hold a service organised and led by themselves at the crematorium before the cremation. This would be at an additional cost to them.

What happens when there is no funeral, just cremation?

After a loved one passes away, a family member would need to register the death and inform the cremation provider.

The cremation provider would then set in motion the following arrangements:

  • Collection of the deceased in a specialist vehicle, bringing them into their care until the day of the cremation
  • Completion of necessary paperwork legally required for a cremation
  • The provision of a simple coffin
  • Booking in the cremation at the crematorium and paying the fees
  • Cremation is carried out at a time and date decided by the funeral provider
  • The ashes are cooled and placed into a container to be returned to family

Leading cremation providers in the UK:

What costs are involved when there is no funeral, just cremation?

The cost of a cremation on its own is significantly less than having a cremation with a funeral service.

A recent study found that the average cost of a direct cremation in the UK is £1,554[1].

A standard direct cremation package may include the following:

  • Care and preparation of the deceased
  • Cremation fees
  • A specialised vehicle to transport the deceased
  • Return of ashes

Having a cremation without a service saves money because:

  • All the arrangements can be made efficiently over the phone
  • Costly elements of a traditional funeral service aren’t required e.g. hearse, limousines or pallbearers
  • A basic coffin is used
  • Embalming of the body isn’t required
  • There’s no need to pay minister or celebrant fees

However, there may be additional costs to consider if arranging this type of send-off:

  • Doctors’ fees to certify the death (currently £164 in England and Wales)
  • Having the deceased collected from a hospice or from a private residence
  • Out of hours collection
  • Having a service at the crematorium
  • A charge for returning the ashes
  • An urn

Some providers will include the cost of some of these elements as part of the package, therefore you may wish to compare the services and prices from several providers to ensure you’re getting the best value for money.

In the UK, the average cost of a basic cremation funeral with ceremony is £3,885, 60% more than the average cost of direct cremation.

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 your individual circumstances and how other members of your family feel about it.

Reasons why someone may choose to have no funeral include:

  • The cost of a traditional funeral seems unnecessary or is unachievable
  • They don’t want to put their family through the upsetting process of arranging and then attending their funeral
  • It would be difficult getting all family and friends together for the funeral, particularly whilst restrictions are imposed for funerals due to Covid-19
  • They don’t want people to mourn at their funeral; they’d prefer loved ones to hold a more personal memorial or celebration of life at another time

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 and have family and/or friends say a few words
  • Hold a gathering of family and friends for a celebration of life or memorial service
  • Have a permanent memorial for loved ones to visit, for example, a tree could be planted
  • 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 table below compares the services that may be included at a traditional cremation funeral and those included at a direct cremation funeral.

Services Traditional cremation Direct cremation
Advice and guidance from a professional funeral planner
Collection, transportation and care of the deceased
Choice of time and date for cremation
Choice of crematorium
Choice of coffin
Viewing of the deceased at the chapel of rest
Hearse or choice of alternative vehicle
Funeral procession with limousines
Funeral service at church or crematorium chapel on the day of the committal
Return of ashes

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 direct cremation from £15.97 a month

A prepaid direct cremation plan allows you to pay in advance for your cremation services and ensures that your final wishes are met.

With a prepaid plan in place, you’ll have peace of mind that your loved ones are protected from the stressful task of arranging your funeral (and perhaps paying out for services you don’t necessarily want).

Reassured are an award-winning, FCA regulated broker that can compare prepaid funeral plans from a variety of providers on your behalf.

As an impartial service, we simply provide you with all the information you need regarding each plan and leave the decision to you.

And most importantly, we're FEE-FREE (so there’s nothing to lose).


*£15.97 a month is for the Simplicity Cremations Lily Plan, provided by Reassured which is for a direct cremation only, at £1,495 with 10 years payment term (total amount payable £1,916.77), as of December 2020

+The £100 discount offer applies to all Dignity Funeral Plans purchased through Reassured between 10th March and 11th May 2021. For example, a Diamond plan purchased by lump sum will be discounted from £4,195 to £4,095, or from £349.58 to £341.25 if you choose to pay over 12 months. Instalment payments over a period greater than 12 months will also be discounted

[1] SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report,


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All of the funeral plans we provide are fully regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) ensuring you and your money are protected.

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