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Direct Cremation Guide


What is a direct cremation?

A direct cremation, also referred to as a cremation without ceremony or service, is a cremation with no funeral service performed beforehand, and no attendees.

As a direct cremation does not include a funeral service, it allows you to choose your own way to remember your loved one at a place and time that suits you.

Direct cremation is the most affordable funeral option available in the UK and becoming an increasingly popular choice, with 14% (up from 3% in 2019) of people describing the funeral they arranged in 2020 as a direct cremation in a recent report*.

If you’re interested in a direct cremation, read below to find out if it could be right for you and your funeral wishes.

On this page:
How does a direct cremation work?
How much does a direct cremation cost?
Can you attend a direct cremation?
How to choose a quality direct cremation provider
Why choose direct cremation?
How to arrange a direct cremation with Simplicity
Direct cremation funeral plans


How does a direct cremation work?

A direct cremation also takes place without a funeral service or ceremony at the crematorium, and without the attendance of any mourners. The direct nature of this service also means that there is no embalming and no opportunity to view the deceased.

Following the collection of the deceased from the place of rest, we care for and prepare them for cremation at our professional mortuary facilities. On the day of the cremation, we will transport them to the crematorium in a specialised funeral vehicle. The cremation will take place at one of our preferred crematoria, at a time and place of our choice. We’ll let you know when the cremation has taken place.

Before a direct cremation can take place, there is some paperwork that needs to be completed. At Simplicity, we provide assistance to our clients with this.

Following a Simplicity direct cremation, the ashes will be scattered in our gardens of remembrance or can be returned to the family upon request, at an additional cost. If you are planning a memorial with the ashes present, please allow up to 4 weeks for the return of ashes.


How much does a direct cremation cost?

Direct cremation is one of the most affordable funeral options available in the UK, costing considerably less than the average traditional funeral you’d arrange with the assistance of a Funeral Director. As a direct cremation is undertaken without any mourners, there’s no need to spend money on flowers, limousines or other extras that increase the overall costs.

At Simplicity, we refer to our direct cremation package as an Unattended Funeral, which starts from £995.

Visit our direct cremation costs page for more information about pricing and for details on what our direct cremation package includes.


Can you attend a direct cremation?

You cannot attend a direct cremation, as it does not offer any kind of funeral service or the presence of a minister or officiant, and therefore takes place without the presence of any mourners.

If you’d prefer a funeral with the option to attend, you may find our Intimate Funeral (up to 12 people) or Attended Funeral (full capacity at the crematorium) will suit your needs better.


How to choose a quality direct cremation provider

It’s important to do your research before choosing a direct cremation provider. The cheapest direct cremation may look appealing but may not include all the services you need or cover them in the advertised headline price.

We’d recommend selecting a reputable direct cremation provider with the relevant knowledge, experience and facilities to carry out a respectful funeral for your loved one. Just because a direct cremation is low cost, it should not mean substandard care.

As part of the UK’s largest funeral group, we’re the only nationwide direct cremation service provider that has its own staff, vehicles, mortuaries and crematoriums. Our network of facilities ensures a consistently high quality of care, teamed with decades of experience in conducting funerals.

When someone close to you dies, it can be an extremely stressful and emotional time. At Simplicity, we are dedicated to supporting people through what can be a difficult time. From the moment we collect your loved one from their place of rest to the moment the ashes are scattered in our gardens of remembrance or returned to you, every stage of the process is carried out with the utmost care.

Visit our reviews to see what our clients have to say about our service.


Why choose direct cremation?

There are several reasons why an increasing number of people are choosing a direct cremation, for their own or a loved one’s funeral:

A direct cremation is significantly cheaper than a traditional funeral
Direct cremation is a less costly option that a traditional funeral, and in many cases, the deceased expressed their wishes for the money that would have been spent on a traditional funeral to be spent in a more meaningful way by their family.

Your loved one expressed their wishes for a low key funeral
Some people do not want a fuss when they are gone. Many people do not see the value in some of the ceremonial aspects of a traditional funeral such as a hearse, limousines or floral tributes and would prefer a simpler affair.

Your loved one did not wish for a funeral with a religious ceremony
We provide the cremation without any religious features. Should your loved one have wanted a religious service, you may wish to organise a separate memorial at a later date.

Family or friends of the deceased live far away
Distance can often make it hard for the family of the deceased to travel to a funeral, particularly if they live abroad. Arranging a direct cremation now, and a more personalised memorial service at a later date, may make it more practical for all family members to attend.

You want to hold a celebration at a different time and place away from the crematorium
Many people opt for this kind of funeral alongside holding a memorial service or celebration of life in honour of their loved one at a later date.

Whatever your reason for choosing direct cremation, we will guide you through the entire process.


How to arrange a direct cremation with Simplicity

Arranging a direct cremation with Simplicity is a simple, straightforward process.

Unlike arranging a traditional funeral, you will not have to visit a funeral home or spend hours face to face with a Funeral Director. You simply have to call us to begin the process of arranging a direct cremation for your loved one. You can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Most of the arrangements can be made over the telephone by our expert team of funeral arrangers. We will take all of the details we need to arrange the funeral for your loved one, and keep you informed every step of the way.

If you would like to have more involvement in the arrangement process, or the opportunity to attend the funeral, our Intimate and Attended Funeral services may be preferable.


Direct cremation funeral plans

If you like the sound of a direct cremation for yourself, you may be interested in a direct cremation funeral plan.

Not only will a direct cremation plan allow you to freeze the cost of your funeral at today’s price, it will also alleviate your family from the stressful task of making your funeral arrangements when the time comes. They will simply need to call us and we will set the funeral plan into motion.

If you do not feel ready to purchase a direct cremation funeral plan, you may wish to share your funeral wishes with a member of your family. This will let them know what you’d like when the time comes but doesn’t require any payment or arrangements.


To arrange a direct cremation for a loved one, or to plan ahead for your own direct cremation funeral in the future, contact us to talk to one of our friendly professionals. Alternatively, download our free Unattended Funeral brochure.


* SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report,

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