Direct Cremation: What You Should Know
Most families are unfamiliar with the term, direct cremation, despite it being a great option for many people. Learning about direct cremation can help you save thousands of dollars and give you more flexibility in how you memorialize your loved one.
What is direct cremation?
A direct cremation is when the body is immediately cremated and does not include a viewing or a memorial service arranged by the funeral home. The body is not embalmed and is generally cremated in a basic cremation container. In comparison, with a standard cremation package, the funeral home would help to arrange a memorial service and would give the option to have a viewing before the cremation.
Why choose direct cremation?
Direct cremation is a great choice if you’d like to cremate your loved one and are either choosing to not have a service or feel like you are able to plan a service on your own without the help of a funeral director. Direct cremations are usually the least expensive cremation option since they forego traditional funeral services and big ticket items like a casket. A few reasons that make direct cremations less expensive:
- No viewing or wake. In a direct cremation, there’s no need for the body to be embalmed or prepared since it’ll be cremated almost immediately.
- No casket. Caskets can cost around $2,000 or more, depending on the type of casket you’re interested in. Direct cremations are usually done in what’s known as a “cremation container” that’s usually priced at about $50.
- No added service fees. You can generally avoid service fees if you choose to engage the services of a direct cremation company directly or opt for direct cremation with a funeral home. Try searching for a company that provides cremation services online before going with a funeral home.
How much does direct cremation cost?
Direct cremation pricing will vary by city and state, but you should expect to pay anywhere from $600 - $6,000 depending on the company you go with. Choosing the services of a cremation company instead of a funeral home will lower the cost, as will choosing to use a cremation container instead of a cremation casket. You can also choose to purchase an urn online instead of through the cremation company or funeral home to save. Direct cremations are cheaper due to the lack of a viewing, lack of embalming, lack of a casket, and no added service fees. These fees can truly add up quickly, which makes a regular cremation much more expensive than a direct cremation.
How to find a direct cremation provider
It’s a good idea to search online for a direct cremation provider as many companies will have their prices listed upfront. You can browse our database of funeral homes & cremation companies to find funeral homes near you. If you’re keeping price in mind, you can search by lowest priced as well. It’s a good idea to compare and contrast multiple cremation providers to ensure that you’re going with the right company. Many direct cremation providers will provide an all-in-one package fee for their entire service, making it easy to price-shop when comparing providers. Unlike funeral homes, many direct cremation companies also provide this package pricing on their website and are glad to advertise it, so there's no need to call or visit a location to get accurate pricing in many cases.
Buying an urn
Purchasing the right urn is an important step when considering cremation as you’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing a piece that honors your loved one’s memory. Funeral homes and cremation companies usually provide their own selection of urns, but these will usually be at a higher price than if you purchased online.
Browse our catalog of high quality urns that you can have delivered directly to your chosen cremation company or funeral home. Keep in mind that no matter where you purchase the urn, the funeral home and cremation company are required by law to use it, according to The Funeral Rule.
Planning a service on your own
If you chose to have a direct cremation, you might also be in charge of planning any memorial service or celebration of life on your own. The good news is, if you can keep all of the information organized, planning a memorial service is doable on your own. You can plan a funeral service by using our Funeral Service planning tool or you can read our article on planning a memorial service for a more comprehensive overview. As a start, here are some things you want to consider when planning a memorial service:
- Choose the type of service. (What’ll be the overall “feel” of the service?)
- Choose the location and venue
- Notify people of the event & collect RSVPs
- Choose people you’d like to speak at the event
- Write an obituary
- Choose flowers, food, music, attire, and photos
- Choose readings
- Choose a service leader
- Create a funeral program
- Create a guestbook for people to leave their condolences
- Finalize small details or outstanding issues
- Notify attendees of any changes to the event
Choosing direct cremation is a good way to avoid hefty service fees and additional fees that accompany a traditional cremation. It’s also a great option if your loved one wasn’t interested in having any services or having a traditional funeral.
If you’re struggling to cover the expenses that go along with someone passing away, it might be a good idea to create a memorial fundraiser. A memorial fundraiser only takes a few minutes to set up and is an easy way for your community to help you in your time of need.