The body is buried shortly after death, usually in a simple container. There is no viewing, visitation or wake involved, so no embalming is necessary. A memorial service may be held at the graveside or later. Direct burial usually costs less than the "traditional" full-service funeral. Costs include the funeral home's basic services fee, as well as transportation and care of the body, the purchase of a casket or burial container and a cemetery plot, burial vault or crypt could easily exceed $2,500 or more. If the family chooses to be at the cemetery for the burial, the funeral home often charges an additional fee for a graveside service.
Families can opt for an economical memorial service at home, a church, park or community center after the burial. You can print memorial cards on your computer, decorate the room with your loved one's pictures or favorite items, and ask everyone to share memories. One family had a wine-and-cheese memorial service in the art gallery where the deceased had volunteered.