What is a Cremation Without a Funeral?

Amanda-Louise Funeral Services
December 9, 2023

The Growing Demand For Direct Cremation - Is It All That Its Cracked Up To Be?

We've heard it on TV havent we : "when I die, I don't want a funeral.  I just want my body taken to the crematorium and cremated without any fuss. I don't want any sort of ceremony and I don’t want anyone else there.”This is often called ‘Direct Cremation’ or 'Pure Cremation' (Direct Burial is also possible) - it simply means an unattended cremation or burial (in other words no family or friends can be present). The deceased typically is taken from the place they have died into the care of a funeral director, who places the person into a simple coffin, then quickly off to the crematorium where the cremation will take place.

As this provides only the essential minimum amount of services, and all the decisions are made by the funeral director (ie date/time/location of crematorium/coffin type) the cost can be 60% cheaper than other funeral choices.

Here at Amanda-Louise Funeral Director Services we offer direct cremations for those who want a funeral without a ceremony, which includes the assistance from us in many aspects of the funeral arranging. So lets question the facts so that families can explore if a direct cremation is right (for the person and for all of the remaining family) before making this important choice:-

Top 10 Reasons Why People Choose A Direct Cremation?

Covid and influential media advertising, we have seen an increase in direct cremations. And don’t forget you would be in good company choosing a direct cremation – David Bowie did.

So we have found the Top 10 reasons for choosing a direct cremation are:- 

1.      If funds are limited it is the cheapest way of laying someone to rest.  

2.      It stops family and friends getting upset at the crematorium

3.      Saves money so you can spend it in other ways

4.      It is still possible to have a separate Memorial Service or Ceremony of Thanksgiving (Celebration of Life) without the body (for example in your home, hall, favourite restaurant or hotel and have any tone and style you wish from gentle to party vibe), so still gives flexibility to say your goodbyes in other ways at a location, date and time that suits better. Or simply opt to say goodbye if the family wish to scatter the ashes afterwards.

5.      Emphasis is on the life and not on the death – so people go straight to the funeral reception

6.      Less stress on the family to organise the funeral ceremony with mourners

7.      People simply do not believe in funeral ceremonies

8.      Family disputes make it difficult for everyone to come together at a crematorium

9.      Family live abroad or long way from the crematorium

10.  There isn’t any surviving family or friends to attend

So its not all about being the cheapest option, but before you make your important decision of the type of funeral you want, consider all the options if in fact a direct cremation is right for you and the family....

What Doesn't a Direct Cremation Include?

Typically the following are not provided by funeral directors for a direct or pure cremation:

  • The family does not decide which crematorium*, date or time or choose a coffin (some funeral directors do not inform the family the date of the cremation to avoid them attending
  • Conveyance of the deceased outside office hours and outside the local district.
  • Embalming and/or any preparation of the body including any change of clothing ie cremated in what they died in
  • Visiting the Chapel of Rest - no time spent with the person who has died before their cremation
  • Provision of funeral limousines or traditional hearse -a suitable vehicle will be used instead
  • Provision of a funeral ceremony at the Crematorium Chapel
  • There are no pallbearers carrying the coffin - the coffin is placed on a trolley and wheeled into the building
  • The funeral director isnt typically presents - its their staff team who attend
  • Discussion and co-ordination of all matters relating to: floral tributes, obituary notices, dispersal of cremation ashes, catering and printing of funeral stationery.
  • Additional charge if oversize coffin required or more staff needed
  • Not all funeral finance plans cover a direct cremation

(This list is not exhaustive so provided as typical guide)

*Depending if you use one of the online funeral director services, they will either outsource it to a local funeral director to provide above, or they may convey the deceased to one of the busy out of county 24/7 cremation centers. Alternative one of the big chain corporate funeral directors may also use those cremation centers as they will have negotiated a reduced fee with them, or use a local crematoria.

What's the Main Disadvantage of Direct Cremation?

Because there is no provision for family and friends to say goodbye. A meaningful funeral service/ceremony helps people to come to terms with their loss, gives them a chance to say goodbye, to pay their respects, honour and celebrate that life - all of this helps with their grieving process.

Funeral Trends for the Future

Our experience as funeral directors and trained in bereavement counselling, we know it remains very important to acknowledge someone's death. If you have a funeral with a ceremony (the traditional way) families not only have chance to acknowledge a death, it helps their grief journey as they wish to pay their respects, acknowledge what the person meant to them, to celebrate their live -this is all part of their memories and a chance to adapt to their new life- so a meaningful funeral is very empowering.

After all a funeral isnt just about the deceased

Its important to reflect the wishes of the deceased AND of their loved ones. Here's how Amanda-Louise is helping all the family with this on trend funeral choice:-

1.      Supporting our families to celebrate the life with a separate event coming together with family and friends – the emphasis here is to celebrate the life in their favoured tone and style

2.      Support families to separate the cremation of the body from the ceremony

3.      Offer bereavement support to adults and children as often a direct cremation takes place quickly after the death

4.      For those people who plan in advance of their funeral, we give all the practical information about a direct cremation in comparison to our other funeral types, so they have all the facts to empower them to make the right decision for them (not for us!)

5.      Promote the advantages to them of using a local independent funeral directors……..

Does a Local Independent Funeral Directors Offer a Different Level of Service of Direct Cremation?

Yes potentially. Being local means they are trusted in the community and know the local customs and the local area. They tend to be more flexible, provide a consistent approach and offer a more dignified direct cremation, without having to use these big cremation centers where the person is handed over at the gated facilities. Here's what our Funeral Director Amanda-Louise says....

Being local and compassionate, my ethos means we prefer to use local crematoriums and do not skip on quality of care. For example our direct cremations families have the ability to have the deceased dressed or to spend time with them, to opt for an attended direct cremation (where a small number can accompany me into a local crematorium) - where I do not take the person via the back door, or dropped them off earlier, but escort the deceased in via the front door to music and place them on the catafalque with dignity as I bow in honour for their last passage in life. But I know its about individual choice - whats right for one person, wont be for the next, so not only does my funeral directors business offer a funeral without a ceremony we also offer a whole range of funeral types to meet everyone's needs and wants. - Amanda-Louise Funeral Director

Here is a review from one of our clients who opted for a direct cremation with us:-

What Should I do Now?

We hope this guide has been useful in helping you to decide which funeral suits your wants and needs

We are always happy to discuss more about direct cremations, or other questions, so please do get in touch. You can find more information and costs on our website.

Amanda-Louise Funeral Services
Amanda-Louise Funeral Directors 3 Blenheim Road, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5PY (by appointment only)
‍Blog Disclaimer - the article is opinion based by the author only, the content is for information purposes only, and as such is not guaranteed. Whilst is intended to be accurate there may be some unintentional errors, mistakes or omissions and therefore may be subject of updating. In accordance with advice articles should the reader wish to rely on this information, they do so at their own risk. Any prices quoted are accurate at time of writing content.

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