What Can You Do with an Urn?

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Alecia Milano
Posted by Alecia Milano on March 16, 2021

Historically, burial far outnumbered cremation as the preferred final disposition method in the U.S. However, the cremation rate has steadily increased in recent years, and is expected to rise to 78% in the next two decades. With this growing trend, it’s important to know about the cremation process, especially when it comes to memorialization.

We often hear from families a misconception that cremation means you can’t memorialize a loved one. But that simply isn’t the case—cremation offers nearly the same memorialization options as burial, and in some cases, even more.

Following a cremation, many families chose to keep their loved one’s remains in an urn. Continue reading below as we discuss what you can do with a loved one’s urn to continue to memorialize and celebrate them following a loss.

1. Bury the Urn

While you may think the term “burial” is limited to the traditional act of burying a loved one, you can also bury an urn. Cemeteries, memorial gardens or parks offer a number of options for those who prefer to bury and memorialize an urn in a physical location, versus scattering cremated remains.

Urn burial options include:

  • Burial plots allow cremation urns to be buried and accompanied by a headstone or memorial. Most cemeteries require an urn vault, which helps support the ground and soil, as well as your loved one’s remains, to ensure the plot doesn’t collapse.
  • Recessed urns. For large monuments or memorial benches, urns can be sealed inside. The monument can be personalized with engravings, artwork and photographs.
  • Above-ground memorials are also known as columbariums or mausoleums. The face of the niche in either can be personalized the same way as a headstone. A columbarium is a public or private structure that holds cremated remains. It is comprised of small niches that retain a single urn. A mausoleum is a building of any size, usually made of stone, where family members can be placed together. Mausoleums can house both cremated remains and caskets.
  • Cremation gardens. Some cemeteries or other locations (like parks) offer landscaped areas designed to house cremated remains. Tribute options include benches, boulders, markers, pedestals and statues.


2. Keep Them Close to Home

Choosing an urn as your loved one’s final resting place means you can keep them close to you—even at home. If displaying in the home (think: a mantel, table or other focal point), many families opt for a more personalized, decorative urn.

Decorative urns are available in various sizes, shapes, styles and personalization options.

Additionally, for those who want to hold their loved ones close at all times, memorial jewelry lets you carry them with you wherever you go. Charms, bracelets, necklaces and pendants are designed to hold cremated remains or something that was symbolic to the deceased (a lock of hair or thread from a favorite shirt).


Tips for Choosing the Right Urn

Your loved one’s final resting place will be key to the kind of urn you select. Your memorial provider can explain the specifics required for different situations and locations. Some of the questions they may ask include:

  • Is the urn for an infant, child or adult?
  • Is it for a single person, or will it be a companion urn for two people?
  • Will it be buried or displayed?
  • Will the cremated remains be split up among family members? If so, different size urns can be chosen accordingly.
  • Does the urn need to be a certain size or shape to fit in a memorial or burial site?
  • What’s your preferred material? The best material for an urn depends on where it will be placed. Urns displayed in your home can be made of wood, metal, stone or something unique.

Interested in More Information About Cremation Memorialization?

We created The Comprehensive Guide to Cremation Memorialization, so you and your family understand the extensive memorialization options available when it comes to cremation.

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Topics: Memorialization

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