Basic features of direct burial
- The body is usually buried in a simple container, rather than an expensive casket
- There is no viewing, visitation, or wake before the burial, which eliminates the need for embalming
- A graveside funeral service may be held when the body is buried (often at an additional cost), or a memorial service may be held at a later date
Direct burial funeral service options
Often, direct burial takes place with no formal ceremony and no mourners at the gravesite. If you want to have a direct burial and you want a brief service, you may be able to pay a fee to hold a brief graveside service. By holding a graveside service, however, the arrangements may change the type of service to a “graveside service” from a “direct burial” and the cost may increase significantly. If you are interested in an immediate burial with a graveside service component, talk to the funeral director you’re working with to learn about how they handle these types of arrangements.
If you are interested in a direct burial but want to have a formal service as well, that service will likely take the form of a memorial service after the burial. The memorial service can take place immediately after the burial, or some time in the future.
How to arrange a direct burial
If you want to arrange a direct burial, you’ll likely want to work with a funeral home and a cemetery to begin making arrangements.
To find a funeral home, use our resource Guide: Finding a Funeral Home.
Direct burial cost
Direct burial is the least expensive burial option, as some of the most expensive purchases—casket, preparing the body, elaborate funeral service—are avoided. In addition, some funeral homes will charge a lower Basic Services Fee (the non-declinable flat fee funeral homes charge) for direct burial. If you are interested in saving money, it's worth calling a number of different funeral homes to find one with a lower direct burial Basic Services Fee.