Should You Choose Cremation or Burial?

When you’re creating your funeral plan, thinking about whether you would prefer cremation or burial is one of the most important decisions, and it’s a highly personal one. So — which is right for you? Here, we take a look at four things you may want to consider.

Our bespoke planning tool at The Farewell Guide makes detailing your funeral wishes — such as whether you’d prefer cremation or burial — simple. You can store your information safely in one place, and share your plan easily with your loved ones. 


Which is Right for You — Cremation or Burial?

According to a SunLife report published in 2020, more and more people are choosing cremation over burial: in 2019, only 23% of the funerals organised were burials (a decrease of 4% since 2018), while 77% of them were cremations (an increase of 4% from 2018). 

Like your other funeral wishes, the decision between a cremation or burial service can be influenced by a range of factors — from religious beliefs to eco-friendly concerns — but the most important thing is that you make the right choice for you. 

1. Religious beliefs

When choosing between cremation or burial, many religions often have their own practises — so you may decide to choose an option in line with your religious beliefs. For example, burial is traditional in Islam, as Muslims believe in the physical resurrection of the body after death. For Hindus, cremation is tradition and usually takes place within 24 hours after death. Your funeral plan is a safe place to record your religious beliefs and wishes. 

2. Affordability

One of the most important factors in choosing between cremation or burial is cost. The average cost for a basic cremation is £3,858, while a basic burial is more expensive at £4,975. When making your decision, it may be important to consider the cost of the funeral: is cremation or burial more in line with your budget? If affordability is a primary concern, there are many options for low cost funerals for both burial and cremation — such as selecting a biodegradable coffin for burial or opting for direct cremation, which costs an average of £1,712. 

3. Environment 

If sustainability and eco-friendly practises are important to you, this may be a key factor in your decision. So — which is the best green option? Cremations tend to have a bigger carbon footprint, releasing an average of 400kg of CO2 into the atmosphere per funeral (did you know that cremation is reportedly equivalent to a 500-mile car journey?), while burial can be a good planet-conscious alternative. Many funeral directors offer green funerals — these often involve coffins made with biodegradable materials, taking place in woodlands or green cemeteries. More and more people are choosing this type of burial: in 2017, one in 11 funerals were eco-friendly. The cost of a green funeral varies hugely, from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds — you will need to buy the woodland burial plot, as well as a gravedigging fee, but this can vary between funeral grounds. If you’d like a tree to be planted in the woodland, you may want to factor this cost in too. There are 270 natural burial sites across the UK, and fees will vary between them, so it’s important to investigate which is right for you. 

4. Visiting place

Having a special place to visit the grave of a loved one can be an important factor in choosing between cremation or burial. You may want to give your loved ones this option: if so, a burial with a headstone might be the right choice but it will be more expensive. However, this is also a possibility with cremation. You may choose to specify a place — a favourite area of local woodland, for example — for your ashes to be scattered in your funeral plan or even stay put in the front room with your loved ones? 

Want to know more about cremation or burial options? The Farewell Guide is here to help. With our comparison tool, it’s easy to compare cremation and burial costs and services from different funeral directors at the touch of a button — providing you with the support you need to make the right choice.

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