Direct & Unattended Funerals in Essex

At Harold Wood Funeral Services, we believe that “direct” or “unattended” needn’t mean “unceremonious”. If you would like to arrange a direct or unattended funeral, you can rest assured we put the same care and respect into the arranging of an unattended cremation or burial as we would for one with a full congregation.

What are unattended funerals?

An unattended funeral is, at its simplest, a cremation or burial that takes place without any friends or family present. In the case of a direct cremation, there is also no funeral service, but unattended funerals can include a ceremony that is conducted in the absence of mourners.

Almost every element of a funeral arrangement can be organised simply without the speeches on the day.  This includes local care, washing and dressing of the deceased, chapel of rest with the possibility of prayers, procession to the place of cremation or burial.

A small attendance of mourners can also be permitted at cemeteries and some crematoria.

An on-line announcement with the opportunity to write memories and make charitable donations can also be arranged.

The Benefits of Direct & Unattended Funerals


Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding direct and unattended funerals, but if you would like to find out more, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team. 

In recent years, direct and unattended funerals have been growing in popularity, and there are many reasons why a family or individual might choose a direct or unattended funeral.

For some, affordability is the biggest consideration. Direct and unattended funerals tend to be more cost-effective than other kinds of services, and allow the family to arrange a memorial at their own pace and within their budget.

It is also often the case that people choose a direct or unattended funeral for themselves as part of their last wishes. In these circumstances, the choice relates primarily to how they would most like their own passing to be marked by their family – hoping to create the conditions for people to celebrate their life rather than mourn their death.

Direct and unattended funerals can be viable alternatives for those who do not want a traditional service for themselves or a loved one. The loss of someone close to us is always difficult, and not everyone believes a traditional funeral is the best way to honour their passing. The choice to forgo funeral planning can allow people to redirect that energy into creating a memorial event – perhaps even at a later date, when they are they longer in the first wave of grief.

As explored above, direct cremations or unattended funerals are increasingly being personally requested by the person who has died in their will or last wishes. We understand that, sometimes, this is hard on the family, who want to do what’s right by the person who has passed but who struggles with the lack of a ceremony.

We also understand that while a family may prefer an unattended funeral or direct cremation, they still want to know their loved one is being looked after by people who care when they are on their final journey.

At Harold Wood Funeral Services, we take the utmost care with every cremation, burial or funeral we help to carry out, no matter what form they take. We treasure the trust people give to us to look after their loved ones, and it is extremely important to us simply because a funeral is unattended or direct, it is not rushed or unceremonious.

Local care – washing and dressing with own clothes –  chapel of rest – uniformed staff – Mercedes hearse always used – ashes are returned at no extra cost – you can participate in any way – attendance can be arranged.

Direct and unattended funerals are often much more affordable than other options for laying people to rest. For more information, please visit our pricing page.

Our Funeral Homes

Hilldene Funeral Home

Hilldene (Harold Hill)

64 Chippenham Road,
Harold Hill,
Essex RM3 8HX.

Hainault Funeral Home

Hainault & Chigwell

45 New North Road,
Essex IG6 2UE.

Harold Wood Funeral Home

Harold Wood

43 Station Road, 
Harold Wood, 
Essex RM3 0BS.

Collier Row Funeral Home

Collier Row

309 Collier Row Lane, 
Collier Row, 
Essex RM5 3ND.