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Deciding Between a Burial or Cremation

Arranging the funeral of somebody you love is one of the most stressful experiences anybody could go through. But, unfortunately, it’s a role that somebody needs to take responsibility for. And there will be difficult decisions to make, one of which is whether to have a burial or a cremation. 

We’ve created this article to help you find the best answer to the question for you.

The Differences Between a Burial and a Cremation

Before helping you choose which way to decide, it can help first to explain the main differences between a burial and a cremation. Some of these differences (like cost), we have little control over, while others are a matter of preference. 

Burials and cremations are both usually a part of a funeral service. A funeral involves the ceremony and other parts of the service, although funerals can vary widely in terms of the processes and ceremonies involved. A common factor that the vast majority of funerals share is that they will have either a burial or a cremation. 

Here’s a brief explanation of burials and cremations:

  • Burial: A burial is the process of placing the body of the deceased in a coffin. The coffin is then placed in a (pre-dug) grave which is then filled in with dirt. The deceased’s remains and headstone will usually remain where they were buried for generations. 
  • Cremation: A cremation will also typically involve placing the body in a coffin, but the rest of the process is quite different. Instead of placing the coffin (with the body) in a grave, it is instead placed in a high-temperature incinerator. The body is then burned with nothing but the bones remaining which are then milled into a powder. This powder is known as the ashes and is often kept or scattered. 

There are numerous reasons why somebody would choose a burial over a cremation or vice versa, and some of the most common include the following:


Cost is often the deciding factor when it comes to choosing between a burial or cremation. And while we value the lives of our lost ones over money, a tight budget will still restrict your options. 

The cost of a burial or cremation will vary depending on where you are located, while prices will also change at different funeral directors. However, generally speaking, a cremation will cost less than a burial, making it the most common option for people on a tight budget. Many funeral directors will offer pre-paid options to help spread the cost, making it more affordable. Many funeral directors will also offer packages that will help you get better value for money and help ensure your loved one gets the dignified service they deserve.

Keeping the Remains

Many people want to remember their lost one by keeping their remains, usually in an urn. In such cases, a cremation is the only option because the remains will otherwise be unavailable if you choose a burial. However, others might not want the departed left to decay underground, while others might want them to be buried as intact as possible. 

And while cremations let you keep the remains; burials have a headstone giving you a place to visit and pay your respects which many people will prefer.

There are numerous opinions regarding what is best to do with the remains. And while opinions vary wildly on the topic, many people are happy not to keep the remains at all.

Religious Beliefs

Religious beliefs are another key factor that will determine whether or not a burial or cremation is the best choice for you and the departed. Many religious people will shun the idea of having their loved one’s remains burned, insisting on a burial instead. However, beliefs vary greatly so people with the same religion will not necessarily share the same opinion.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, funeral directors have extensive experience in catering to all religions. As such, you will be able to find a funeral director that understands your requirements and will be happy to arrange a funeral according to your wishes. Many funeral directors are also happy to cater to people who have no religious beliefs. 

The Environment

As the impact of the harm we cause on the environment becomes increasingly evident and urgent, so more people are insisting on doing their part to help preserve our planet for future generations. As such, consumer behaviour is changing significantly, and funerals are no exception.

Many people will prefer not to have a cremation because they believe the process releases an unacceptable amount of pollutants into the air. Such people would likely prefer the body to naturally decay and return to nature without polluting our environment further.

However, some people have concerns over how environmentally friendly or otherwise burials are. For example, it’s thought that the coffins themselves are not as biodegradable as they could be, while it’s also possible that leaking embalming fluids could contaminate the area with toxins. 

As such, people are increasingly turning to ‘eco’ burials that are friendly to the environment. Such burials use biodegradable materials only, while the body is also sometimes planted with a tree so people have something to remember the deceased by.


There is no single answer to the question of whether you should choose a burial or a cremation. Which is best for you depends on numerous factors such as your budget, beliefs, and preferences. Regardless, get in touch with the team at Academy Funeral Services and we will be more than happy to help however we can.

Academy Funeral Services is part of Heaven Address, an online community where families can share precious memories of loved ones.