Everything you need to know about Direct Cremation
One of the biggest decisions when it comes to death has traditionally been between burial or cremation. But if you choose cremation there’s still choices to be made, because there are three main types of cremation you can pick. These are:
- Direct cremation (no ceremony)
- Cremation with a traditional funeral service.
- Cremation with a memorial service.
What is direct cremation?
Put simply, a direct cremation is just a cremation. The body is not embalmed and there is no visitation or viewing as the body is cremated soon after death and the ashes are returned to the family. This is a modern alternative to the traditional way of doing things, which focuses the cremation on the physical act of cremating the remains with no formal ceremony to accompany it.
The other two options involve a service taking place where guests would come together for a religious or secular ceremony to remember the deceased and engage in the usual rituals, but a direct cremation doesn’t require any of these to take place.
Why do people choose a direct cremation?
There’s lots of reasons why someone might choose a direct cremation for themselves or for a loved one. The most practical reason is that it is the cheapest option. Compared to a traditional cremation with a funeral service it can cost around half the price because there is so much less involved.
Given that funeral costs can be challenging for people in some circumstances, having the option to save money on an expensive service can be the best choice. Of course, not having a funeral attached to the cremation doesn’t mean not remembering the deceased person, but gives you the option to remember them in a less traditional ceremony, like scattering their ashes somewhere meaningful to them.
These ceremonies can be no less significant or emotional than a traditional funeral but can save a lot of money, so this can make them a popular choice for someone selecting their own plans and wanting to save money for their loved ones. They can also be unique and special to that person as well as giving more time to arrange them when the family and friends are ready to say goodbye.
Another reason could be that the deceased wasn’t a religious person and didn’t want a traditional ceremony for that reason. The family might want to follow their wishes and a direct cremation allows for this.
Another aspect might be that the family aren’t ready to hold a funeral for emotional reasons and direct cremation allows for more flexibility as there is no longer a body to store. Alternatively, the deceased may have simply not wanted a funeral because they didn’t want their loved ones to go through that process.
What are the differences between a traditional funeral and direct cremation?
One important thing to state is that a direct cremation might lack some of the ceremonial aspects of a traditional funeral, but this doesn’t mean that the deceased is treated any differently. They will still be treated with the utmost respect by everyone involved with their cremation.
However, there are other differences. For example, the coffin is usually - but not always - a much more simple and practical coffin as it will not be on display like at a funeral or at a viewing beforehand, which is also not usually part of this kind of cremation. This is part of the way that direct cremations can be more cost-effective.
Another difference is with timings. In a funeral service the cremation will take place after the ceremony has finished and the timings of the ceremony itself will be agreed with the family, funeral director and crematorium. In a direct cremation, the timings will be determined by the crematorium as no family or friends will be in attendance - though this can also be accommodated and would cost more.
How does a direct cremation work?
The deceased will be collected and then prepared for cremation and cared for until the date of the cremation itself. Unlike funerals there is no need for embalming or any other preparations beyond removing any medical devices and jewellery that needs to be returned to the family.
As mentioned above, the family are not normally advised of the date this will happen unless it has been arranged for them to be in attendance. 90% of direct cremations are unattended.
The ashes will be given afterwards or scattered in the garden of remembrance, depending on the wishes of the deceased and/or their family. Some providers charge extra for the return of the ashes. After this, it will be up to the family and friends to decide how best to celebrate the deceased’s life.
Is a direct cremation right for me?
Which type of cremation is right for you depends on your own circumstances. There is no doubt that it’s a cheaper option and that might be the main appeal for some people if finances are a potential issue. And despite the reduced costs, it is no less dignified or respectful than a funeral service, just one that comes without a hearse, a viewing, an expensive coffin or any of the usual trimmings.
Best of all, it’s an option that leaves open so many more options for the deceased’s loved ones in how they choose to remember them and celebrate their lives, both in terms of what that ceremony might look like and even when it takes place.
If you want to know more about direct cremation, get in touch with us today for more information.