Choices are important when it comes to planning a funeral – and if you’ve never thought about the finer details of it before, you might be confused about the differences between being cremated or being buried.
Some individuals have very strong feelings about how they’d like to ‘go’ – but if you don’t, it might be time to start thinking about it.
Before you die, it’s important to make sure you’ve expressed whether you would prefer to be cremated or buried, as this will allow your family to fulfil your wishes when the time comes. It can also ensure that disagreements won’t happen between family members.
Below, we’ve outlined exactly what the differences are between a cremation and a burial, as well as the benefits of both.
What is a cremation?
When a deceased person is cremated, their remains are burnt at high temperatures, so that the body turns to ash. You can choose a cremation service where mourners attend or a direct to crematorium service, which is where the person who has died is sent directly to the crematorium, without a service. This is becoming a more popular choice in today’s society, as mourners prefer to have their own celebration afterwards, personalised towards the life of their loved one.
The coffin is cremated with the individual. This doesn’t have to be expensive – just discuss the options available with your funeral director.
You are then provided with the ashes of the person who has died. This usually happens two or three days after the cremation has occurred. These can be placed in an urn you have chosen, if you wish.
What is a burial?
A burial is where the deceased person is placed into the ground to be laid to rest. In most western traditions, the body is usually placed into a coffin or casket beforehand. The main difference between a burial and cremation is that the body remains intact for a burial. Many individuals feel comforted by this fact, which is why a burial is chosen. For many people who are religious, often the body needs to remain whole for a funeral service, so that the person who has died is preserved for the afterlife.
Burials can come in many different formats. For example, if you’re concerned about the environmental impact, a natural or woodland burial may be the right option for you. Traditionally, burials take place in a churchyard – but this can depend on the parish you live in and whether your chosen church has space in their cemetery. You may also decide on a non-denominational cemetery, which may be privately owned or run by the local authority.
If a natural burial site sounds more appealing, you’ll tend to find these in meadows or woodland, so that the natural habitat can still continue to flourish. You won’t usually be allowed a headstone for this type of burial and the coffin that the deceased is buried in, should be biodegradable – you may even not require a coffin at all.
Benefits of a cremation
Many individuals consider a cremation over burial based on the cost implications. However, at Voyage, you can choose a cremation from £1,650 and a burial from £1,800, dependent on your choices. Some individuals believe that being cremated is better for the environment, as your remains won’t be taking up space in a cemetery.
However, some argue that the fumes released when an individual is cremated can cause a negative effect on the environment, as well as the energy it takes to fuel the cremation. Compared to a traditional burial, where the individual is embalmed and buried in a coffin or casket, there is less risk of contaminating the ground, as well as taking up space for a headstone. Land use of cemeteries is often a cause for concern for those who wish to be cremated.
With a cremation, the ashes of the deceased can also be shared between family and friends, so they are able to have their own ceremonies. This allows family members to choose how they wish to commemorate the life of a loved one, whether that’s by scattering the ashes in a special location or keeping their ashes in a keepsake or urn.
Benefits of a burial
The main benefits of having a traditional burial, with a headstone and plot, is that mourners will be able to visit the site of their loved one and pay their respects. This can often be very important for religious families, who would like to keep visiting the deceased and gain comfort from their grave. For others, having somewhere to grieve that’s close to the individual’s remains is a comfort.
If you are religious, you may also have a family plot in a graveyard that you would like to be buried in or have your loved ones buried in, alongside previous family members. Having a burial following the traditional ceremonies of your family history can be a comfort, knowing they’ll always be with their loved ones.
For many, it’s important that the body is respected and a burial is the most appropriate way to do this. This doesn’t mean that a cremation is disrespectful however – it is simply based on personal preference and beliefs.
Whatever you choose, it’s all down to personal preference and there is no right or wrong decision. If you need help making these important choices, please contact Voyage on 01772 237536 or use our contact form.