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Why Direct Cremation is the Best Option

What is a direct cremation?

A direct cremation (sometimes referred to as a simple cremation) is a cost-effective alternative to a traditional funeral. With a direct cremation, the cremation is done without a ceremony. At the end of the process, the ashes are either scattered in the crematorium’s garden of remembrance, or handed back to the family who is then free to organise a remembrance ceremony as they wish.

This service is not only more affordable than a conventional attended funeral, it helps reduce the stress and the pressure in the days following the death by eliminating the need to organise a funeral ceremony then and there. With a direct cremation, you are free to organise a remembrance ceremony at a later date, as you see fit, when you feel you are ready.

At NEO Cremations, our direct cremation service can be easily booked online at the click of a few buttons, costs between one-half and one-third of a traditional cremation, and frees your time to focus on other aspects of dealing with the death of a family member such as finance, succession, and insurance. Our direct cremation service is also the only cremation service in the UK that will provide you with a certificate of reforestation as evidence of the trees that have been planted in memory of the deceased.

Why should I choose a direct cremation?

Funerals are expensive and their costs are rising every year. The average cost of a funeral in the UK has more than doubled in the past 14 years, going from £1,920 in 2004 to £4,300 in 2018. This is even before ancillary disbursements such as catering and flowers at a wake are taken into account. Quite simply, funerals are unaffordable. A direct cremation, on the other hand, only costs a fraction of the cost of a traditional funeral  and is increasingly gaining popularity in the UK.

The service generally included with a direct cremation is straightforward. It covers the collection of the deceased, preparation for the cremation, the cremation itself, and a return of the ashes to the family of the deceased. Our service even goes a step further by offering tree planting certificates, a biodegradable urn, hand-delivery of the urn, complementary audiobooks to help process grief, as well as setting up a memorial Facebook page for the deceased.

Are direct cremations common?

Cremations represent 78% of funerals in the UK and are therefore three times as common as burials. Direct cremations still represent a small proportion of that 78%, but the share of direct cremations has been steadily increasing in the past few years as more families in the UK are realising that funerals do not need to be elaborate to show respect. Clearly, the fact that celebrities such as David Bowie have opted for a direct cremation is contributing to its increased popularity. David Bowie made headlines one last time when it was revealed that he had been cremated without family or friends in attendance and requesting that they celebrate his memory in a place of special value to him.  Surrounded by cameras and faces for much of his life, David Bowie wanted to ensure that his death remained a private matter and that he would be celebrated for his life rather than mourned for his passing. We know that Bowie’s music will stay with us, just as the memories and deeds of our loved ones will live on through us.

Such “simple” cremations are increasingly common, including among celebrities ranging from John Lennon to Karl Lagerfield.  Although they had the money and fame to be commemorated with lavish services attended by thousands, these superstars opted for the intimacy of a direct cremation instead.

With this new awakening, individuals are also choosing alternative forms of commemoration with remembrance and celebration of life ceremonies. Perhaps better defined by what they don’t have than what they do, the idea of a cremation without the typical flowers, ceremony, and eulogies was up until recently a very new concept. Direct cremations provide you with the freedom to experiment with different and novel ways to hold a remembrance ceremony because they give you the time and flexibility to organise a ceremony without the time pressure of a traditional funeral that needs to be held immediately after the death.

That extra time can be used to arrange the scattering of ashes in a place that was dear to the deceased, but that requires family members to travel (e.g. the place where someone grew up, a specific location that holds emotional importance, or a location that was never visited but was always on a wish-list). Holding a scattering of ashes can have far more meaning than simply having a traditional ceremony. This is often out of a common desire to remember the life of those we have lost rather than focusing on the loss itself.

Quick steps to organize a direct cremation

A direct cremation can be arranged by following those few easy steps:

  1. Paperwork: Our website lists the necessary paperwork you will need and how you obtain them.  Where possible, we have pre-completed the form so that you only need to read and sign.  We also have helpful videos that will guide you on how to obtain these forms and how much they will cost.
  2. Pickup: Once you the paperwork is completed, use the “Arrange Now” button on our website to book a time for us to take your loved one into our care with our fleet of private ambulances.  We will come at a time of your convenience, including out of hours.
  3. Cremation: We have carefully selected crematoria in the UK that abide by the latest and most stringent standards of emissions regulation. We will keep you updated of the time and place where the cremation will take place.
  4. Return: the ashes will be returned to you in our biodegradable urns within three weeks of the cremation. We pride ourselves in hand-delivering the ashes to provide you with that necessary element of human comfort at what is usually an emotional moment.. We will also dedicate a tree with one of our charity partners in the name of the deceased.

The process to arrange a direct cremation is straightforward and simple. However you choose to commemorate the departure of a loved one  will always be a personal decision. There is an abundance of choices readily available – everything from traditional church services to joyful celebration of life ceremonies. Whether a person is driven to a no-fuss process, a more agnostic approach, or for financial reasons, a direct cremation is a more affordable and more flexible option that will only continue to grow in popularity.

Nick Weinstein

Lead Funeral Specialist

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