Direct Burials: The No-Funeral Option

April 5, 2021   -   , ,

In the U.S., it’s not uncommon for a single funeral to cost thousands of dollars — with a median cost of $7,640, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. And if a cement vault is included, it’s close to 10 grand.

Today, people are moving away from the traditional viewing, burial and ceremony and exploring alternative, death-positive, and cost-effective options for saying goodbye to a loved one. One of the most popular options is the direct burial, a type of burial that occurs a few days following your passing.

If you’re like many Americans who struggle with the costs of a traditional funeral service, then a direct burial is an option worth considering. We’ll walk you through how direct burials work, their costs, the advantages and disadvantages, and ways to ensure your family receives the closure they need. 

What is a Direct Burial and How Do They Work?

A direct burial is when your body is buried a few days after your passing. Almost all direct burials avoid the typical embalming process. Unlike traditional Western funerals, which often include a wake, visitation and viewing, direct burials often forgo a ceremony. Friends and family can choose to have a graveside service, which can resemble a traditional funeral service, but it’s not a requirement. 

The main reason people choose a direct burial is because of its cost-effectiveness. In this scenario, the body is buried in a simple casket, with no public viewing involved. Since the body is not viewed, there’s no need for embalming. Additionally, because direct burials take place at the gravesite, you don’t need to host a worship gathering or book a funeral home. 

No fancy casket + no embalming + no multiple gatherings = Cost savings for your family.

How Much Do Direct Burials Cost?

Without the ceremony, embalming, and decorative casket, direct burials have far fewer factors to calculate when it comes to pricing. 

Thus, with a direct burial, a funeral home will charge for:

  • The basic fee for their services
  • A casket or simple container
  • Transportation fee
  • Burial plot
  • Headstone

Another optional charge would be a graveside service fee if you wish to have one. 

A traditional burial will typically bear the same fees as a direct burial in addition to:

  • An embalming fee
  • A florist fee
  • A dressing fee
  • A nice-looking casket
  • Use of additional vehicles if needed
  • A venue fee to use their space
  • Foodservice if there is a reception

So, as you can see, the potential savings of a direct burial are significant.

Advantages of Direct Burials

For those who see the appeal, direct burials have several clear benefits:

  • Direct burials are cheaper than other types of services. 
  • It gives family and friends time to plan a memorial service that takes place without a body present.
  • Families can still hold a graveside service if they so choose. 
  • Direct burial provides an alternative to cremation.

Disadvantages of Direct Burials

We know that direct burials aren’t for everyone, and the most common reasons include:

  • Friends and family members may not get the closure a traditional ceremony can provide.
  • Your religious tradition requires that people see you before you are buried.
  • Cultural traditions may involve an open casket funeral for viewing before burial.

You Have Many Other Options for Your Funeral

You can honor your legacy, celebrate your life, and mourn your loss in ways that extend beyond a direct burial or traditional funeral, including choices such as:

  • Donation to science. Typically, there is no cost to donate your body to science. You can also become an organ donor to save lives. 
  • Green burial. This natural kind of burial prioritizes the environment over the durability of your coffin or embalming chemicals. 
  • Cremation. Next to direct burials, cremation is another cost-effective option out there for disposition. With cremation, you can also have ceremonies, such as ash scattering and a memorial service. 

I’ve Made My Funereal Decision. What Now? 

If you’re ready to take the next step in planning your life and legacy, then consider The Postage. Whether you prefer a direct burial, green burial or something else, you can securely store your estate and funeral plans. You can also use it in the present, storing passwords, stocking up memories, and more. We help ensure your legacy, long after you’re gone. 

Click below to get started. You’re one step closer to getting your life in order and helping your family plan for the future. 

Get Started