Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 11.17.2022

How to Choose Between a Traditional Cremation and a Direct Cremation

How to Choose Between a Traditional Cremation and a Direct Cremation


Cross Checked By: JOSHUA SIEGEL

Preparing for a loved one's funeral is not only a heart-wrenching time, but a cumbersome one as well. It involves taking calls on a number of  logistical and funerary decisions, and taking enough time to grieve. Resultantly, it may help to inform yourself about all funerary arrangements for you to better weigh in on which ones are best suited.  Deciding between a traditional cremation and a direct cremation is one such decision you might have come across. If you are interested in learning more about:

  • What opting for a cremation entails 
  • Comparing direct and traditional cremations
  • And how to make your final decision,  do scroll ahead. 

What is a Cremation?

A cremation is one kind of disposition of a deceased person’s body through a process of burning, and finally, leaving their remains as ashes to give to their family. It is the most common alternative to burials and works as a post-funeral and funeral rite. Many cultures and races worldwide have different customs and practices around their cremations. In the United States of America, there are also varying ones, differing  on the grounds of ethnicity and culture. However,  for the most part, people are either cremated traditionally or directly

What is a Direct cremation?

In Direct Cremation, the deceased's body is directly transported from where they passed to the crematory. No particular arrangements or preparations are made to the body, other than stripping off any jewelry and medical instruments. The body is swiftly passed through the cremation process, and this service lasts only a few days since there is no service preceding it. The only arrangements that may be in place during the cremation funeral service include basic services at the funeral home, refrigerating the remains of the deceased and collecting the legal paperwork– including the death certificate, performing the cremation, and collecting the remains to distribute to family members. There are also times when added or optional fees are made part of the direct cremation service total expenses. The purchasing of cremation urns for family distribution is one such example. If the deceased needed a pacemaker or was overweight, additional hidden costs may be adjusted to the direct funeral expenses. 

What is a Traditional Cremation?

There are many similarities between a traditional cremation service and a traditional burial. In a traditional cremation, the body of the deceased is sent for cremation at a crematory instead of being transferred to the burial site. At a traditional cremation, the deceased's body, once at the funeral home, will be kept there for a few days. Here, the body is embalmed for the memorial service, after which it will be sent to the crematory for the cremation. After the cremation, the deceased's family will be handed over the remains. The typical practices that are followed at a traditional service may be followed at a traditional cremation service. For instance, the funeral home aids you with the organization of the ceremony.  You may also choose the casket you desire for the funeral service, flower arrangement, catering, visitor's books and decisions alike. 

Reasons to Opt for a Direct Cremation

If you are looking to opt for a direct cremation for your loved one, here are some reasons for you to do so. You must consider a direct cremation if your loved one was keen on a non-elaborative and understated send-off. It is also a more affordable option for you to consider since it avoids a lot of the funeral and arrangement costs of a traditional cremation. If you want to arrange a small and personal memorial, a direct cremation permits you enough time to make these simple arrangements and do them well. Finally, and most importantly, if you are utilizing the government's funeral expenses payment, this form of cremation makes the most sense for you to opt for.

Reasons to Opt for a Traditional Cremation

If you want to send off your loved one in an elaborate fashion, then a traditional funeral is what you must consider opting for. Sticking to tradition sometimes also means honoring your loved one in a dignified way, which has been followed down generations. You can also have complete control over the preparations involved with the traditional funeral— finding the ideal funeral home, picking out a gravestone and planning out a memorial service. If you are committed to such arrangements for your deceased loved one, go ahead with a traditional funeral. 

This article is a suggestive insight for you to better acquaint yourself with two kinds of cremations. However, it does not intend to be prescriptive of any one kind of cremation. The final decision of deciding which cremation to opt for, is left entirely up to you and other members involved in the funerary decision-making process of your deceased loved-one.