Considering Burial Options - Burial or Cremation?

Category: Planning A Funeral


Burial or cremation? When it comes to making funeral plans, it may be something that you’ve considered extensively, or it could be something that’s never crossed your mind. If you fall into the latter category, how do you decide which option is the best for you?

A 2016 poll carried out by YouGov found that around 58% of people want to be cremated when they die, which is more than three times the 17% of people who would opt for a burial. But the traditional option of a burial is still at the top of some people’s list, as it falls in line with many religious beliefs

With so many pros and cons for each option, here are some important factors to take into consideration when choosing either a burial or cremation.


Why opt for a burial?

Burials Offer A Proper Goodbye

For many mourners, a burial is one of the best ways to reach full closure towards their loved one, which can help to process their grief. It also allows family and friends to come together to pay their respects and to share their mourning.

Seeing the physical movement of the coffin as it is lowered into the ground can provide a much needed moment of acceptance. This process can serve as a more comforting and soothing end for some.


Burials Are A More Traditional Choice

When people think of saying goodbye, more often than not, a typical burial option springs to mind. For many, this can feel like a more natural way to offer to honour their beloved.

And as previously mentioned, there are certain religions, such as Islam and the Baha’i faith,where cremation isn’t allowed, leaving burial options the only choice for some.


Burials Provide A Place to Visit

Many people choose a burial over a cremation as they prefer the thought of visiting their loved one in a permanent memorial space at the cemetery. This can provide a sense of calm, peace and privacy at what can be such a powerful moment.

Burial plots can offer family members and friends a special place to come together collectively and lay flowers and gifts at the graveside, with their loved one’s gravestone outlining a dedicated spot. Some mourners also choose options for further reflection, such as an engraved bench to spend their own special time to sit with their beloved.


The Body Can Be Exhumed

Whilst it’s not something you’d ordinarily wish to think about, there are certain occasions when the body of the deceased might need to be exhumed. It is a rare instance and can be traumatic for the family, but if it’s necessary, then a burial option will allow for this.

This might be the case if you’re moving house and wish to move your loved one’s grave site to your new area, or if further forensic examination is required.


Why consider a cremation?

It Can Save Money

Planning a funeral can be expensive. And whilst you can achieve low-cost funerals, on the whole, a cremation saves on cost. There is no expense required for a burial plot or casket to lay into the ground.

There is also the option of a direct cremation, which where the body is cremated without the process of a ceremony. This can be considerably cheaper and as the numbers show, much more popular these days.

However, with that being said, there is no standard cost. Whilst some services in the UK sit at around the £300 to £400 mark, other areas, such as Beckenham and Chichester can charge upwards of £1000. Of course, it can be exceptionally difficult to consider this factor in a period of grief, but it can help to search around for the best price.


Environmental Impact

The idea of a cremation can be appealing to people due to its perceived impact on the environment. Whilst many would seek other factors in choosing a burial or cremation, more modern times can dictate a more green thought process towards their passing.

From funerals taking place in more woodland areas to organic burial pods, green burials are possible, but generally speaking, a burial is considered less environmentally friendly. Whilst cremations are responsible for carbon dioxide and mercury emissions into the environment, a standard burial can include toxic materials that end up being released into the atmosphere.

Burials also consume a large amount of energy and resources, and take up much more space than a cremation. They can also result in the discharge of hazardous substances to groundwater. This could help to explain why the current figure of those choosing cremation over burial is sitting at 77.05%


Adding Flexibility To A Service

Many choose a burial option because they want to ensure a traditional funeral service, but many aren’t aware that this can also take place with a cremation. By including a reception and viewing service alongside a cremation, this can allow a time for closure, but offers more time for funeral arrangements to be made, thus providing more flexibility.

A cremation provides families and friends with more time to decide what they wish to do with the ashes once the body has been cremated. Not only does this provide a more immediate time for family and friends to focus on their loss and grief, it allows them to do so without having to work out the particulars of a funeral service right away.


You Can Decide What To Do With The Ashes

A cremation can provide a much more personalised way to remember the departed. The ashes can be transported and scattered in an area that means something special, such as a spot on the seabed or in a memorial garden. They can also be placed in an urn or container and kept in a place of importance for the bereaved, also allowing for them to be transported when necessary.

The ashes of a loved one can also be shared between family members. Some wish to remember their dearest by creating beautiful pieces of keepsake jewellery, or cremation art. You can even choose to create spectacular sky displays, with fireworks made from cremation ashes.