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How to Plan a Meaningful Direct Cremation: A Guide for Families

Planning a personalised and respectful farewell for your loved one doesn't have to break the bank. Direct cremations offer a more affordable and flexible memorial service option, which can tailor the service more than a traditional burial is able to. This comprehensive guide takes you through everything you need to know on how to plan a direct cremation- from which funeral services to include to whether you need a funeral director, and what to do with the cremated ashes or cremation cremation urn choice.

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What is the Direct Cremation Process?

Direct cremations are becoming an increasingly popular choice for families looking for a simple, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly funeral service.

The specific cremation procedure with a direct cremation involves your loved one being cremated shortly after death, without any traditional funeral service or viewings.

This simplistic cremation process cuts out the need for a funeral director, funeral home and memorial site, as well as the associated costs.

In addition, costs incurred from holding the human body before it goes to the industrial furnace of the cremation chamber, are also minimised in a direct cremation-where this part of the cremation service happens quickly after death.

Is the cremation chamber different to a normal cremation?

Direct cremations are distinguished from traditional cremations because of what happens before and afterwards, not during.

There's no specifically designed furnace or exhaust system, no differences in how much ash is returned to the family and no difference in the options of what to do with the ashes of the deceased afterwards.

Just lower cost, less extras and more flexibility on timescales.

Making plans for the cremated ashes

While the direct cremation process may seem straightforward, it is possible to incorporate personal and meaningful details surrounding the cremation and funeral service of a family member.

Once cremated remains are returned in a sealed container to the family, there are a number of options on how the human ashes can be used. This allows the deceased's family to plan a meaningful service on their own time scale- without the constraints, restrictions or prices of a traditional burial facilitated by a funeral home.

Whether that's scattering the cremated ashes on the same day, or waiting some time until after the deceased person passed, there is more flexibility to decide.

Below, we explore how to plan a meaningful direct cremation that is personalised, respectful, and meaningful- not despite, but in fact of the simplicity of the direct cremation procedure.

First, let's dive deeper into how a direct cremation service could benefit you and family, and why you might consider it for you.

Benefits of Direct Cremation:


Direct cremations avoid costs of extra funeral services, such as embalming of the deceased and the need to pay a funeral director. These are largely responsible for driving up costs in traditional burials and in avoiding these additions, the direct cremation process works to reduce costs, without cutting corners on a respectful and dignified farewell for the deceased.

Efficient & simple return of cremated remains

Crematorium staff are just as respectful, and because of a lack of delays in going to the cremation chamber- the cremated remains may even be returned to the family quicker than with a more elaborate cremation process.

Environmental impact

Avoiding embalming and the need for expensive coffins to hold the deceased's body also minimise the harmful environmental impact of traditional burial. In this way, the direct cremation process is a perfect option for anyone looking to minimise their ecological footprint and makes it easier, and cheaper, to hold a green cremation.

Holding a green cremation can be a meaningful way to honour sustainability values held by the deceased person in life, more so than splashing cash on embalming or encasing a dead body.

Cremated remains can be then held in a cremation urn, or the deceased's family can choose to scatter these in an environmentally friendly way.

Flexibility in cremation process

This simplistic cremation process can offer greater flexibility to the deceased's family. Allowing them to arrange any further arrangements on their own time scale, the simpler nature of the direct cremation process can give more time throughout the process on how to further remember the deceased.

If needed, it gives a cooling period after the death for the family to arrange specific details of a service when they are ready. At any time after the cremation process is completed, they can arrange how best to celebrate their loved one.

Whether that incorporates religious beliefs, deciding on how to scatter a loved one's ashes, or arranging for a special casket to hold these- in getting it right the first time, it can help to have a bit more time.

Steps for Planning a Meaningful Direct Cremation:

Transportation of the Deceased

Immediately after death, you will need to make arrangements for transferring the body of our loved one to the cremation chamber. With Safewill Cremations, this is included in the cremation process we take care of for you.

However, it is otherwise arranged by a funeral home, funeral director or specific transport service. Either way, these specifically designed services ensure the body is placed for transportation with care, and the deceased is treated with utmost care at all times.

Deciding on Memorialisation Options

After the cremation, you'll need to decide on a plan for memorialising your loved one when the cremated remains are returned to you.

Whether this is through scattering the ashes in a special location, holding them in a cremation urn at home, or interring them in a cemetery- what you do with your loved one's ashes can provide an extra layer of meaning to a direct cremation.

It's important to reflect on what your loved one would have wanted, as well as what will bring meaning and comfort to you and your family.

Planning a Cremation Service

A celebration of life or memorial service can also help you and your family honour your loved one's life and legacy.

You may choose to hold the service at the same place you choose to scatter the ashes, especially if the body is placed somewhere special to your loved one. Cremation order of affairs doesn't follow a rigid process, and so you have the flexibility to decide when, where and if you want this service to occur.

Consider including elements that reflect your loved one's personality, hobbies, or interests. A direct cremation can be followed by a memorial service at a later time, allowing more time to plan and coordinate.

Preparing for the Scattering or Interment of Ashes

If you plan to scatter or inter the ashes, it's important to research any legal requirements or permits necessary for in your chosen location. Some locations may require permission before scattering cremated remains, while others may have specific guidelines for how the ashes must be dispersed.

You may also want to consider having a family member or close friend perform the scattering of ashes ceremony, or hiring a professional who can guide you through the process.

Choosing a cremation urn to hold ashes

Or, if you decide after the cremation process to hold the ashes at home- you can choose to put the cremated remains of the deceased in a special urn. In choosing specific designs, this can also represent another way to incorporate the identity of the deceased into their final resting place plans.

You can even maintain an environmental focus with biodegradable urns, which can allow you to bury ashes without harming the environment.

This may be less important if the urn represents a temporary container, but a personalised urn can be a key way to further personalise the cremation process rather than going with a default container for the cremated ashes.

Additional Considerations:


To ensure that all family members and special friends have the chance to honour the deceased as a part of the cremation process, a virtual memorial attendance option can make a cremation service or scattering of the ashes ceremony more accessible to those who cannot attend.

Cremation communication with loved ones

Whether planning your own cremation ahead of time, or organising the cremation of a loved one- it's important to communicate your wishes with family members.

How a loved one is cremated, or how the ashes of the deceased are used, can be an emotional topic. Discussing in advance or at the time ensures everyone's wishes are honoured, and avoids disputes further down the line.

Financing a cremation

Whilst a direct cremation offers a more affordable cremation service than other options, it can still represent a financial burden for families in their time of grief. Financially planning ahead for the cremation process can reduce this strain at an already stressful time for the deceased's family.

Prepaid cremation

Prepaid cremation works by paying in advance for the services you want- allowing you to support your family in the future, and lock in your wishes at the same time.

From choosing the cremation chamber, special caskets, cremation association or cremation process- there are many options to set in place ahead of time to align with your personal wishes or for religious reasons.

In planning and paying for the cremation process ahead of time, you can avoid unnecessary costs incurred from your family hiring a funeral director to take care of the details for them.

To Wrap Up

Planning how you or your loved one will be cremated can be an emotional, expensive and stressful process. Making financial provisions and preferences ahead of time can help prevent this, however a direct cremation offers an affordable, meaningful and more flexible way to honour the deceased.

In giving plenty of time after your loved one has been cremated to decide on what to do with the ashes, how to hold the ceremony and where you want to lay the deceased to rest- a direct cremation process can be a better option for you, whilst avoiding the need for a funeral director.

Safewill Cremations Can Help Plan a Cremation Around You

Our team of compassionate experts provide the most affordable alternative to a funeral director, whilst maintaining the support sought after with this role.

We support you at each step of the way- from transferring the human body to the cremation chamber, returning the cremated ashes and dealing with all the medical certificates and paperwork.

Call one of our dedicated funeral planners for a one-to-one chat on how we can support you. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on1300 730 639, or via livechat now.

Last updated 10th March 2023
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Hannah Comiskey
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