Planning a funeral can be overwhelming and stressful at a time when emotions are already high. So, if you are arranging an unattended cremation, we have put together this step-by-step guide to help make the process that little bit easier. 

In this guide, you will find advice on getting started, choosing a funeral director, organising costs, and much more. We hope that these steps will give you all of the information you need to get started on arranging and organising the perfect send-off for your loved one.

What is an Unattended Cremation?

An unattended cremation, also known as a direct cremation, is a funeral process in which the deceased is cremated without a traditional funeral service or any mourners present. Instead, family and friends can come together somewhere more personal to celebrate the life of their loved one. The idea behind an unattended cremation is to provide a simple and affordable option for those who wish to have a more personal send-off.

How Does an Unattended Cremation Work?

An unattended cremation does not involve any service or invited guests during the cremation process. Instead of holding a ceremony on the day of the cremation, you can opt to have a memorial service at a later time, after your loved one's ashes have been returned – this is known as a ‘Celebration of Life’.

Here’s how it works:

  • A professional team will collect your loved one from the place of death, which may include a hospital, their residence, a mortuary, or a care home.
  • Their body will then be transported to the crematorium, where it will be identified with a physical tag and made ready for cremation.
  • The cremation process will be carried out by experienced professionals and typically takes between two and three hours to complete.
  • Once the cremation has taken place, your loved one's ashes will be collected in a temporary urn, and you will be notified accordingly.
  • You will then receive communication to arrange for the hand delivery of your loved one's ashes.
unattended cremation

Arranging an Unattended Cremation: Getting Started

There are several things that have to be done straight away. If you have not yet registered the death and received a death certificate, you should do that first. Read more about registering the death.

1. Find Out Any Funeral Wishes or Instructions

If you were close to the person who has died, you may have a good idea about what kind of funeral they wanted. They may also have written down their funeral wishes in their will. You may discover that your loved one had taken out a pre-paid unattended cremation plan, which will help guide you in the right direction in terms of their wishes.

2. Work Out How Much the Funeral Will Cost

According to SunLife, the average cost of an unattended cremation in the UK is £1,511. Depending on the provider, the price and services included can vary so be sure to always research properly before committing. Additionally, your loved one may have arranged a pre-paid plan, which can help towards the overall cost of the funeral.

Usually, these prices include:

  • Collecting the deceased
  • Preparation of all paperwork needed for the cremation
  • The cremation fee itself
  • Carrying out the cremation
  • Hand-delivery of the ashes back to you

In some cases, additional fees may apply, such as for:

  • Doctor’s fees
  • Complex collection fees

Currently, the most affordable unattended cremation in the UK is offered by us here at Celebration of Life, starting at £759.

cost of unattended cremation

3: Choose a Provider

An established and experienced direct cremation provider can help unburden you from much of the stress of arranging a funeral, so you can focus on the things that are most important to you.

It is always recommended you look at every option properly before deciding on the provider, as mentioned before, not all funeral providers offer the same services for the same price. Once you have carefully selected your provider, the rest is then left to them to sort out, so you and your family can focus on celebrating your loved one’s life.

4: Plan a Celebration of Life Ceremony

Once you have received your loved one’s ashes, you can plan a Celebration of Life ceremony to honour their memory and pay tribute to their life. A Celebration of Life ceremony is a meaningful way to bring together family and friends to remember your loved one, share stories and memories, and find comfort and support in each other during this difficult time – many people also use this time to scatter or bury the ashes of the deceased. 

When planning a Celebration of Life ceremony, consider what elements will make it unique and reflective of your loved one. You may choose to include readings, poems, or songs that were meaningful to them, or invite family and friends to share stories or memories during the ceremony. You can also incorporate their hobbies or interests into the ceremony, such as displaying their artwork or playing a game they loved. Head to our previous blog for more Celebration of Life ideas.

celebration of life after an unattended cremation

Unattended cremation Services from Celebration of Life

If you are looking to arrange a Direct cremation, at Celebration of Life, we offer one of the UK’s lowest-price, simple and fully inclusive direct cremations, both pre-paid and at-need.

We’re authorised by the FCA, and available whenever you need us. So, if you’re looking for an affordable and fuss-free direct cremation service, contact us at Celebration of Life today – we’re always happy to help.

Plan a Unattended Cremation with Celebration of Life

Celebration of Life™ offer an industry leading direct cremation service. We are confident that we won't be beaten on price. Speak to our friendly in-house customer service team, anytime day or night.

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arrange an unattended cremation