What is the difference between a burial, memorial and cremation types of funerals?

As humans, we are all different in our unique ways; accordingly, the way we are sent off into the afterlife should also differ. As a result of this, Australian funeral homes offer different types of funerals to suit almost everyone, irrespective of their cultural and personal beliefs. Particularly as funerals are becoming more personalised and unique.

The most common among these are burial, memorial and cremation services. Here are how these funeral services differ and what their pros and cons are.

Burial Service

One of the most common ways to say goodbye to a loved one is to hold a burial service for them. A burial is a funeral option where the deceased is placed into the ground as their final resting place.

A burial can be done in conjunction with a funeral ceremony or as a standalone service held graveside. The average Australian burial service can cost as much as $15,000 including the cost of flowers, a casket and a cemetery plot for the interment. But with us, the funeral cost is $6,209 for a burial with service and reserved plot.

Pros of Burial Service

Although the burial service is a more expensive option, there are many benefits to holding a burial service, these include:

Permanence. Graves are more or less permanent fixtures that can be available for future generations of the deceased to come to pay their respects.

Tradition. Australians have been burying people for thousands of years and this custom is sure to continue far into the future.

Cons of Burial Service

Costs more. Burial services can be more costly and timely to organise, especially at such a difficult time. However, Whitsunday Funerals and Crematorium are always on your side to make things easier.


In recent times, more and more Australians are choosing to say goodbye by holding a cremation service. Today, about 70 per cent of people in urban areas and 56 per cent in non-urban areas opt for cremation.

A cremation is a funeral option where the deceased’s remains are disposed of by burning it to ashes. Although the body is usually cremated after the funeral ceremony, the cremation can also be made a part of the funeral service or a separate celebration altogether.

Pros of Cremation

Affordable. Since there is no need to pay for a cemetery plot, it is cheaper to cremate a loved one than it is to bury them.

Customisation. After cremation, your loved one’s ashes can be preserved in a variety of ways. They can be placed in an urn, scattered or used to make jewellery.

Timely. It’s a relatively quick process, with cremation taking only a few hours to cremate a body.

Cons of Cremation

Temporary. A lot of care has to be taken to store a loved one’s ashes as they are more exposed above ground.

Mixed up ashes. Many crematoriums have such a high turnover that the ashes and remains of another can often end up in with those of your loved one. However, at Whitsunday Funerals and Crematorium, you are ALWAYS getting only the ashes of your family member or friend.

Memorial Service

A memorial service is a popular way to celebrate the life and memory of a loved one. This type of funeral service can be held at any time and is not uncommon to be held weeks or months after the death takes place. It can be held in any location such as a church, at home or sites with personal significance to the deceased, such as a sporting oval or beach.

Pros of Memorial Service

Limitless. A memorial service can be held at any time; from before the death of a loved one (living funeral) to months or even years after their demise.

Closure. Memorial services are an excellent way for friends and family members of the deceased to achieve closure and move on.

Which Funeral Service Should You Choose?

The type of funeral service for your loved one will depend on several factors including your finances, the wishes of the deceased and existing family traditions.

If cost is not a problem, or you have strong local family values, you can hold a traditional burial service for your loved one. However, if you are seeking the cheapest funeral arrangements possible, you can consider cremation, holding a memorial service on a later date or other options.

At Whitsunday Funerals and Crematorium, we have been servicing hundreds of local families for decades and are a dependable name in the industry, for all types of funerals. Phone us on 07 4953 3733 to discuss your needs any time, day or night.