When it comes to planning a funeral, there are a number of different types of service to choose from.One of the first big decisions is the choice between a cremation or a burial.Whichever is chosen informs the rest of the service – though they can remain similar.
Alongside these options, you can also choose whether or not the funeral is attended by close family and guests or not. This is known as a direct cremation or an unattended burial.
With these kinds of funerals, there is no service, and the cremation or burial is also not attended by mourners like a more traditional funeral would be.While it might sound strange not to attend a funeral, there are some perfectly valid reasons why people choose them.
Why do People Choose These Kinds of Funerals?
Unattended funerals have been brought to light partly due to the pandemic, where an unattended service was the only option. They should not be seen as a negative though, a funeral service and a burial or cremation is only a small part of celebrating the life of someone.
With unattended funerals, families are left to pay tribute to their loved one in their own way and on their terms. You don’t have to rely on the process of a church service, plus many people host their own funeral receptions at their homes anyway.
Advantages of an Unattended Funeral
Is there anything that makes an unattended funeral the preferential choice? A few things could be considered. For example, the most practical two advantages are cost and travel. But there are also other reasons…
Family and other guests will only need to travel to the reception venue (if you have one), rather than needing to drive or hire limousines for travelling between venues like the church, crematorium or cemetery.
In terms of cost, unattended funerals are much cheaper than full service funerals as money is saved from not needing a whole host of things like limousine hire, venue hire, and so on
The costs of funerals seem to be on a (mostly) continuous rise, peaking at £4,200 for a basic funeral in 2020 and then dropping gradually by a few percent in 2021 and 2022, though it remains to be seen if after this year it will continue to rise again.
As with most other expenses, it’s possible that costs will start to rise again slowly, sosaving money on a traditional service and instead planning your own unique tribute may be a good idea.
To put things into more perspective, a basic funeral today currently costs around £4,000. If you factor in professional fees, services and holding a wake, that number goes up to almost £9,000. The cost also varies across the country, with London being one of the most expensive places.
Burials are the most expensive, with cremations being about £1,000 cheaper and a direct cremation costing an average of £1,500.
You can protect yourself from the risk of rising costs with a prepaid funeral plan, this locks in the price of a funeral at today’s current costs. Most funeral directors offer plans like this.
There may also be some emotional benefits to an unattended funeral. For some, attending a funeral might be too difficult or upsetting, so taking this part of the process out of the equation can give people their own personal way to mourn in a less formal environment. It helps people struggling with the choice whether to go to a funeral or not, taking that pressure off of them.
People are beginning to stray from old traditions in a positive way, not having a funeral can be seen as liberating. So unless you or the person who passed was particularly traditional, consider a different kind of funeral like an unattended one.
In fact, David Bowie is said to have been cremated without a funeral or any family and friends present as he wanted to “go without any fuss”.So you canlook to that example for inspiration.
Unattended Funerals, Should You Have One?
Unless your religion dictates a particular type of funeral, no one can tell you what sort of funeral to have. It is a deeply personal choice. An unattended funeral is simply just one option, so speak to your funeral director for more advice.