You might have seen that your chosen funeral director offers both traditional funerals and simple funerals, depending on your budget. But what do these terms mean, and what’s the real difference between the two options? Let’s take a look …


What is the difference between traditional and simple funerals?

A simple funeral is a more affordable, no-frills approach to a traditional funeral. While traditional funerals include a lot of the standard services you might expect a funeral director to provide, simple funerals leave out the less essential services, and give you the most important ones in a lower cost format.

What that means in practice will depend on your funeral director (they will have their own way of doing things) but we’ve broken down what you can usually expect from both traditional and simple funerals below.


What is a traditional funeral?

A traditional funeral service tends to follow this structure:

  • Viewing: A 2-3 day period during which the family can visit the person who has died in the funeral home.
  • The service: A funeral service held in a place of worship, funeral home, crematorium or at the graveside. This includes any further ceremonies (dependent on religion).
  • Burial or cremation: Following the service, burial or cremation will take place. In the case of burial, friends and family may go in procession to the cemetery. Hire of a hearse and limousine(s) to follow in procession is usually included in a traditional funeral.
  • The wake: A reception held after the funeral, usually with food and drink, where mourners can remember the person who has died in a more relaxed setting.

On Beyond’s find a funeral director tool, you can expect the costs shown for a traditional funeral to include:

  • All funeral director fees
  • Burial or cremation fees (including doctor’s fees)
  • Classic hearse
  • A wood veneer coffin
  • A wood ashes casket
  • One limousine
  • Celebrant/religious representative
  • A standard 4ft floral coffin spray


How much does a traditional funeral cost?

The familiarity of a traditional funeral can offer a lot of comfort and reassurance at a difficult time. That said, the average cost of a traditional funeral in the UK is £4,078. This can often be brought down by shopping around and finding the best funeral director to suit your budget. On Beyond, the usual quote for the services listed above is about £3,300. Here’s how to compare funeral costs using Beyond.


What is a simple funeral?

Simple funerals have about the same structure as traditional funerals, but at a more affordable price. However, you might need to make a few compromises:

  • The funeral director will usually choose the time and date of a simple funeral service. This means it will probably be early in the morning and/or on a weekday.
  • The funeral director might not include out-of-hours collection. You may have to wait until normal working hours before the person who has died can be taken to the funeral home.
  • A less-decorative coffin or ashes container. A simple wood coffin, for example.
  • No additional funeral cars or limousines. Close family members usually make their own way to and from the funeral.
  • Less or no flowers. Some funeral directors offer smaller, less elaborate floral arrangements for simple funerals.
  • The wake might be held at home, or at a friend’s house. This helps save on venue and catering costs, especially if friends help by bringing food and drink.

If you’re searching using Beyond’s find a funeral director tool, the costs shown for simple funerals include:

  • All funeral director fees
  • Burial or cremation fees (including doctor’s fees)
  • Estate car hearse
  • A simple wood coffin
  • A simple ashes container

We also have a “direct” option, which covers a simple cremation or burial without a funeral service. Direct cremation in particular is becoming increasingly popular: the funeral director collects the person who has died, and they are cremated with no one present. The ashes are then returned to the family, who can then hold their own memorial service as they see fit.


How much does a simple funeral cost?

Simple funerals are the cheapest and most basic kind of funeral. On Beyond, a simple funeral typically costs about £2,400. Costs will vary depending on how simple the funeral really is, and where you are. Our direct cremation service costs just £1,195, with hand delivery of the ashes included.

When it comes to the type of service you’d like for yourself, if you have any strong feelings either way, your best bet is to take out a funeral plan and specify within it whether you’d like a simple or a traditional service.


Do you want a traditional or a simple funeral service? Why? We’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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