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Difference between a Standard Cremation and Direct Cremation

The answer depends who you ask. However,  we will cover the main differences and the grey bit in the middle.

Most people at some stage will have gone to a standard cremation. The ceremony can be wholly or party at the crematorium, the hearse takes the coffin to the crematorium, the family and friends are in attendance. Depending on the crematorium you will get somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes to carry out your service: sing songs, delivery a eulogy, say a poem and/or a prayer. The coffin then disappears behind some curtains or is lowered out of site, you file out, see the flowers say the farewell to some and the go onto a wake for the rest. Perhaps a little simplistic, but that is pretty much it.

What is Direct Cremation

In its simplest form, the deceased is collected from the place of death taken to the crematorium and is cremated without the attendance or traditional ceremony and the ashes are returned to the family.

There is a lot of noise around this subject about what you can and can’t do, as it is a new approach there are those out trying to promote it and those trying to deride it. The common factors between the two:

  • The paperwork
  • The care of the deceased, just because it is cheaper the deceased does not get any less cared for, or less respectfully treated.

It is cheaper mainly because there is less for a funeral director to do and the crematorium can use more off peak times with less staff.

Common Questions

So, I definitely can’t attend the cremation? In most cases this is true, you say goodbye when the hearse leaves.

Can I see my loved one before they are taken away? There is no reason why not, however the reduced costs may be to do with the preparation of the deceased in that it only the basics are sorted so the funeral director may guide you away from this. If this is something you want to do speak to the funeral director see what is possible, if they are inflexible choose another one – you are the client.

So, I can’t have a service? This is certainly not true. You could conduct a service in your own time at a hotel, or church, or at the funeral directors (if they have the space) you say goodbye when the deceased leaves. Also, you will have the ashes returned to you so you can have a farewell ceremony such as a scattering or a burial as well.

Will this save me money? Almost certainly, but please do not do it for that reason. Saying goodbye and its associated grief is complex don’t save a few hundred pounds and leave someone with years of ‘I-should-have’.

I want no fuss, will make this make it simple for the kids? Not necessarily, a funeral is not all about the person who died it is for those left behind to say goodbye and shortcutting this without due consideration will not help. So if you are funeral planning be minded.

Who does direct cremation work best for:

In our opinion direct cremation works better for the following:

  • People who have a ceremony at independent venue and are able to say goodbye at the end of that.
  • People who have discussed it openly with their family and have considered the pros and cons
  • Those who have considered that a standard approach would create more debt than they could reasonably manage.

Who provides this service:

The big players Dignity and the Co-op offer this service, your independent funeral director is likely to also. For this service we recommend the independent specialist in this area Pure Cremations. Why? because I have gone to see what they do, and I think it is very caring and professional. This is their link – Direct Cremation 

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