How to have a lower cost funeral

View of Lambeth cemetery in the sunshine. Trees line the path alongside gravestones | Poppy's funerals | London funeral directors

Three minute read

A funeral can cost many thousands of pounds but this can vary enormously depending on the choices you make and where in the UK you live. It may be one of the most expensive outlays you’ll ever make, so it’s important to spend your money wisely.

At Poppy’s, we speak to bereaved people every day about the kind of funerals they want and need. Each one is unique. We don’t have a set package to sell, and we can work with family members and friends to explore less expensive, but still high quality, options if that’s what they want.

Start by considering the things which mattered most to the person whose life you are commemorating. For example, choosing flowers from their garden, rather than buying floral arrangements, can be more meaningful and personal, as well as reducing overall costs.

You don't have to have flowers at all — many people choose to decorate the coffin with meaningful items instead, like a favourite hat and scarf or tools of the person's trade.

The same can be true for finding coffin bearers from among friends and family, rather than paying for extra bearers, or leading the service yourselves instead of a minister or celebrant.

Cremation or burial?

Cremation costs less than burial. But there can still be significant differences in price between different crematoria or between different service times. Earlier times, before 10am, tend to be available at much lower rates.

There is also the option of a simple cremation or direct cremation, where someone is cremated with care and respect, but without a ceremony. Many people will choose to hold a ceremony later. Read more about simple cremation and direct cremation.

You don’t have to choose your local crematorium either, instead you can ask your funeral director for advice on which crematoria would best meet your needs. This blog on how to choose a crematorium unpacks some of the options and suggests questions that you might like to ask.

For burials, the reverse is true. Within London boroughs, there are different rates for ‘residents’ and ‘non-residents’. So if the person who has died lived within a particular borough, you might want to look local, rather than further afield.

In general, natural burial grounds tend to be less expensive than local-authority-run cemeteries too.

Making choices

When it comes to coffins, hearses or other vehicles, there are many different options to choose from, which vary in style as well as price.

We believe that price transparency is crucial. This is why we developed this online Estimator — a tool which helps you find out how much you could expect to spend to achieve the funeral that’s right for you.

Thinking outside the box

However, we’ve supported many clients to think entirely outside the box.

Almost anything is possible — from building the coffin yourself, using a family member or friend’s estate car instead of a hearse, booking a smart taxi instead of a limousine or even burying someone on private land (as long as you have permission!).

We understand that for some people, it will be a struggle to afford any funeral costs. With help from Down to Earth, we’ve put together a guide to public health funerals, so that you can know your rights and find sources of support. We also have this list of places who may be able to financial help with paying for a funeral.

We passionately believe that lower cost doesn’t mean lower care. Nor does it mean compromises or cutting corners. It’s about thinking creatively about what’s right for you. And helping you to make informed choices.

Transparency is very important to us at Poppy’s, especially when it comes to pricing.

Use our sector-leading quote generator to find out how much you could expect to spend to create the funeral that’s right for you.

To stay in touch with all the latest news and updates from Poppy's by email, sign up here or contact us if you need help planning a funeral.

Discover more articles