Cremation Vs Burial

The choice between cremation and burial is, of course, an extremely personal one. It’s one of the first decisions that you’ll need to make planning a funeral, and naturally, you want to feel informed about all of your options.

Here, we seek to address the questions you might have about both options, and set out the pros and cons to help with your funeral plans.

How much does cremation cost vs burial?

The cost of a funeral is, for most people, an important consideration. And the short answer is that cremations typically cost less than burials. According to the ‘SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2021’, the average cost of cremation is £3,885, while an average burial cost is £5,033. But of course, costs of both can vary significantly, and depend largely on three factors:

  • Funeral director fees. This includes funeral arrangements, coffins, hearse, staff, etc.
  • Third party costs. This can include doctor fees, burial fee, cremation fees, etc.
  • Optional extras. Such as flowers, catering, headstone, urn, transport, order of service, obituary, etc.

What happens at a cremation?

Cremations are far and away the most popular choice in the UK, accounting for around 75% of all funerals. Yet with so many options available, cremation services often vary. A typical service might look something like this.

If you do choose cremation, there are a number of considerations that can have an impact on the cost of the funeral. For example, would you like to keep the ashes of your loved one, keep them in a cemetery or scatter them somewhere special?

You might also wish to consider an unattended cremation. Popular amongst those who wish for a simple funeral, they are an affordable way of saying goodbye, and offer a chance to hold a memorial service later down the line, or somewhere special to your loved one.

What happens at a burial?

Like cremations, traditional burial services tend to vary. As do the reasons you may choose this for a loved one. For some, a traditional funeral is in-keeping with the values held by the deceased. For others, having a burial plot to visit helps them to remember their loved one.

Beyond traditional burial options, there are also options such as woodland burials – where the deceased is laid to rest in a woodland site surrounded by nature, usually in a wicker casket or shroud. As an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burial, it’s becoming an increasingly popular choice.

How do different religions view cremation and burial?

If your loved one belonged to a certain faith, they may have expressed a wish to be laid to rest according to their religious beliefs. Here’s how some of the world’s religions see cremation and burial:


Buddhists believe in the reincarnation of the soul, and that the human body is simply a vessel for the soul. For this reason, cremation is generally the preferred option.


The Catholic church believes bodies will be resurrected to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So although cremation is acceptable, ashes should not be scattered – instead placed in a cremation urn, buried or kept in a mausoleum.


Due to beliefs surrounding resurrection, Christians often prefer to be buried. Cremation is considered acceptable, although burying the ashes is preferred to scattering.


Cremation is preferred by Hindus, as they believe it’s the fastest way to release the soul for reincarnation.


Jewish funeral customs vary across Judaism movements, with Orthodox and Conservative Jews prohibiting cremation, and Reform Jews accepting it.


The Muslim faith adheres to a strict set of funeral customs and forbids cremation. This is due to the belief that the body will be physically resurrected.


Sikhs believe the body serves no purpose beyond carrying soul in life, so usually prefer cremation, although burial is permitted.

Whether you’re arranging a funeral for a friend or family member, or considering your own funeral wishes, it’s important that you choose a funeral service that feels right. Both have positives and negatives, but whichever you choose our friendly team at Funeral Partners can help make the day special and memorable.

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