Most of us have not put much thought into all of the different options of coffins out there. When the time comes to have to choose one for a loved one it can be an overwhelming and difficult decision. Here in Britain, we pride ourselves in having more coffin options than any other country in the world. In fact, we have alternatives that many other places do not have. One of the most popular alternatives to a coffin is a shroud.

Do I Have to Buy a Coffin from an Undertaker? - Coffins

No, you don’t. It’s becoming more popular for people to want to buy a coffin on their own and not through an undertaker. There should be no problem using a coffin you bought yourself. If there is a problem or an undertaker doesn’t want to use your coffin, move on and find a different provider. 

How Much Should a Coffin Cost? - Coffins

There are fairly cheap coffins and some that are as much as a new car. The price can range from 150 pounds to several thousand.

Obviously, most people feel like they want the very best for their loved one and feel like they should choose one of the more expensive options for them.  But truth be told, there is very little difference in appearance between a coffin on the cheaper end with artificial “oak” and one on the more expensive end made from real oak and with a price tag over five times as expensive. Do not feel obligated to purchase an expensive coffin if it’s not what you want to do or you feel like it will cause a financial strain. Your loved one will love you just the same and no one else will be able to tell the difference. Do what feels right to you.

Why Are Coffins So Expensive?  - Coffins

That’s a good question. Honestly, funerals are like any other retail business. The undertaker buys the coffin at a certain price and then marks it up just like any other physical product. If they didn’t, they would not be able to stay in business. It’s a normal practice. In recent years undertakers have adjusted their fee schedules and made things more transparent so that business runs more smoothly with less hidden or buried fees. If you have any questions about the fee structure please ask your provider. They should be willing to fully explain everything so that you are not left with any questions. Either way, you are still at liberty to purchase your own coffin independently of the undertaker

Why Is There Such A Huge Range? - Coffins

With the demand for more variety, British funerals are changing and becoming very creative to fit the needs and wants of grieving families. For that reason, we have coffins now that go far beyond the classic wooden coffin.  We now have coffins made from various materials such as cardboard, sea grass, banana leaves, willow etc. It’s softening the feel and appearance of the coffin and sets a tone and mood for the whole funeral. 

Many people prefer more eco-friendly coffins. We have scoured the market and found that Ecoffins have the largest variety. They boast over 37 different types of coffins made from all sorts of materials. There is sure to be a coffin for every taste and variety. 

Do Undertakers Offer the Full Range? - Coffins

For the most part, undertakers have a limited range of coffins and usually stick with the tried-and true traditional variety. They don’t usually go into all the different options that they do not carry because they can’t get them or don’t want to bother with them. If you see something you like and your undertaker can’t or won’t order it for you then try to buy directly from the other source.  Most undertakers however, are happy to try and get what you want even if they don’t carry it, if it’s possible. Just make sure they go directly to your source for the purchase, otherwise they may find a similar but cheaper option in order to maximize their profits. 

Can You Make Your Own? - Coffins

It’s very uncommon for people to make their own coffins. We say uncommon but not unheard of. If you are going to make one yourself, it must be strong enough and lined with waterproof lining that will keep emissions to a minimum and offer leak protection. Honestly, we would not recommend this option unless you have previous experience with such projects. But again, to each their own. 

Which Coffin Is the Greenest? - Coffins

It’s pretty standard for commercially produced coffins to pass green credentials. If we had to single in on one type of coffin, we’d say that the coffins made from willow here in the UK are probably the greenest. The material sourced is sustainable and local to our environment. 

What Are Shrouds and Soft Coffins? - Coffins

For a long time shrouds weren’t the most popular option in the UK.  We think because the shroud outlines the body and frankly, it wasn’t used as much as traditional coffins and sometimes we are creatures of habit and/or tradition.

Shrouds should not be discredited though. They are inexpensive and suitable for burial or cremation. Some people also like to use soft coffins.  We have also searched for providers who offer beautiful soft coffins. One such provider is Bellacouche. They hand make to order their felted Leafcocoons; which softens the outline of the body and is covered in a beautiful leaf pattern.  Another nice thing about soft coffins is that they do not require a liner. With these soft coffins, natural and recycled absorbent materials are hidden inside the wooden base that is lined or encased with felt. The shroud inside has an adjustable cocoon and cover that can be detached and kept as a keepsake if you decide not to bury it with the body.

List of Coffin Types:

Willow Coffins

Plain Coffins

Card Board and Picture Coffins

Wool Coffins

Seagrass, Ecoper And Curve Coffins

Flat Pack Coffins

American Caskets