The New Way to Plan a Funeral

Is it time to reinvent funerals? The David Bowie method offers a different way to celebrate someone’s life

We constantly seek out products, services and experiences that reflect our unique personality, values and relationships. So why, at the most crucial moment, do we simply accept the same basic funeral formula, unchanged for the last 100 years?

More than 75 percent of us will choose a cremation funeral, following a hearse to the local crematorium, waiting for the chapel to empty before a 30-minute service led by someone you met a few days ago.

Times have changed and, finally, funerals are changing too—with a little celebrity help.

David Bowie always carved his own path, and even after his death in 2016 this cultural icon’s choices created an important legacy, inspiring millions of people to think and talk about what kind of funeral would be right for them.

Bowie opted to separate the two elements of his funeral, taking care of his physical remains with a modest, unattended cremation that cost less than £2,000, followed by a celebratory memorial gathering weeks later in a place that was special to him.

Although respectful and perfectly legal, you could describe this as radical—so while it doesn’t take people long to grasp that suddenly they are now free to hold their goodbye anywhere, anytime and in any style, you’re unlikely to find your local funeral home promoting this kind of send-off.

Why? Most will tell you this isn’t a ‘proper funeral’ and simply refuse to discuss it. A few will carry out an unattended cremation but with no reduction in price thanks to high crematorium costs and their own overheads. So, if you want a simple, cremation-only service that doesn’t cost the earth you should seek out a specialist.

Choosing your direct cremation provider is straightforward. Check out the various websites, especially the reviews, and look carefully at the costs—the headline price may not be the whole story.

This is a sensitive and important purchase, so you need kind and compassionate people who will support you throughout the process, people who manage to make you feel looked-after even though you may be making these arrangements over the telephone.

It’s important to remember that a direct cremation is a distinctive service that happens to be low in cost, and it shouldn’t be confused with a ‘cheap funeral’. The idea behind a direct cremation is the separation of the ceremony and dealing with the body. At a direct cremation there are sometimes options to have a few people present, however, there will not be a minister or hymns and it is unlikely to take place at your local crematorium.

Take time to look at all the options and decide what’s right for you. Making your wishes clear, perhaps via funeral plan, will lift a hidden weight from your shoulders and give your family priceless confidence when they need it most.

Additionally, if you don’t like funerals, need time to gather the family for a proper goodbye or simply reject all fuss and bother, then direct cremation could be the perfect plan.

Pure Cremation is the UK’s leading provider of direct cremation. Their service covers the whole of England and Wales and could save you over £2,500 in funeral costs. To find out more, visit

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