By Last Updated: January 31st, 2022

The Difference Between Cremation Services and Burials

When your loved one dies, you have options about what to do with their remains. The right choice may not necessarily be an obvious one. Before you settle on an option, take some time to understand the difference between cremations and burials, the two most common methods used in the U.S. 

A burial is the most prevalent tradition and requires embalming a body to preserve it for wake and funeral ceremonies. It is then buried underground in a casket or entombed in a mausoleum. In contrast, cremation services involve incinerating the remains. The ashes are returned to the family and they can choose to keep them in an urn, bury them, or scatter them.

Pros and Cons of Burials and Cremation Services

Traditional Burial

Burials are deeply rooted in tradition and some find comfort in this. There’s a sequence of events that you already know and expect. Many people find that viewing the body and performing a burial ritual are healthy ways of mourning your loved one. People gathering to celebrate the deceased’s life can also provide comfort and moral support for the family.

The biggest drawback to this process is the cost. The average price in California is $4,250, but can go as high as $10,000+ depending on the elaborateness of the ceremony and casket. Embalming and transportation also rack up the costs. If a family is grieving, the last thing they need is to worry about the rushed planning and expensive bills that come with funerals. Additionally, if the deceased endured a complex death, there could be complications with preserving the body

Traditional Cremation

A traditional cremation allows you to perform a wake and funeral ceremony with the body before it’s cremated. You save on burial costs while still getting to participate in the funeral tradition. Some people see this as a comfortable middle ground. They get a little more time to say goodbye to their loved one and then get to choose how to honor their memory with the ashes.

The cons of traditional cremation are the same as with burials. Complications with the body, a short timeline to work with, and high funeral costs are all deterrents for choosing a traditional cremation. Between casket rentals, funeral costs, and cremation services, you can expect to pay $3,295 or more.

Direct Cremation

With direct cremation, your loved one’s body is cremated directly after passing. The ashes are soon returned to the family and they can then decide where to go from there. The biggest benefit is the cost. Averaging at $1,385, direct cremation is the most affordable option and won’t likely put a hard financial burden on the family. Direct cremation also gives the family the gift of time. They aren’t rushed into planning a funeral immediately after the death. They can take the time to grieve at their own pace and plan a memorial service when they’re ready.

Direct cremation isn’t for everyone, though. Certain religions such as Christian fundamentalism, Judaism, and Islam strictly prohibit cremation. Some families may just be uncomfortable with the concept. If the deceased’s will specifically requests a burial or traditional cremation, it’s also best in this case to honor their wishes.

Opal Will Help You Decide if Cremation Is Right for You

You just lost someone close to you. Between juggling funeral arrangements and mourning your loss, you’re probably overwhelmed with questions. At Opal Cremation of Southern California, we want to take some of the burden off your shoulders. We will tend to your loved one’s remains in a manner that’s simple, kind, and affordable. You can make all of the arrangements online or over the phone, and we will mail the ashes directly to you. With Opal, you’ll get the peace of mind and support that you deserve.

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