The primary purpose of a cremation urn is to hold the cremated remains of the deceased. But what will you do with the urn once it is filled with your loved one’s ashes? The answer to that question and a few others will help to determine the type of urn you will need and help you make the right decision. Consider the following as a helpful guide in making a selection.
1. Selecting the correct size
Consider the dimensions and capacity. The dimensions of the urn are the height, width and diameter. If using a niche in a church or columbarium, call ahead to find out the niche size before choosing your urn. Some columbariums have compact niches and other columbariums have family niches much like family cemetery plots with room for larger urns or multiple urns. The typical urn size needed is an adult cremation urn. Adult size will hold the ashes of anyone who was up to 220 pounds or less prior to cremation. Medium urns are needed when dividing one person’s ashes among several people or for children. Keepsake urns are for small amounts of ashes to be kept in remembrance. Extra large urns are available for very tall or larger framed individuals — over 6 feet tall.
As a general rule for an adult urn, you’ll need an urn with at least one cubic inch of space for every pound of body weight prior to cremation. For example, if the deceased had a weight of 150 pounds before cremation, you will need an urn that is at least 150 cubic inches or larger. If purchasing an urn for an infant, child or pet, call for assistance.
2. Consider the final resting place
Families may want to consider the final resting place of a loved one’s cremation urn before looking at styles. Will the ashes be scattered or buried or placed at home or in a niche? If scattering the ashes, you may want to look at the choices in scattering urns or tubes, water burial urns or less expensive urns as the urn itself is only temporary. If you plan to have a permanent memorial in a cemetery and bury the urn, there are many options. Almost any urn can be placed in an urn vault and then buried.
3. Choosing the Urn Style and Material
There are a variety of urns to choose from. These range from brass, to wood to glass to ceramic to marble. Most people choose an urn based on a style or look they like and the end use. If the urn will serve as a decorative piece, one may choose a more unique and artistic material. If permanence is most important, marble is ideal for burial as it can be permanently marked with the loved one’s information via engraving. If traveling with the urn, one may choose a material that may be x-rayed such as wood, paper or cultured marble.
4. Personalizing the Urn
Many urns may be personalized with engraving of a name or artwork. Personalization may remind you of a loved one and bring comfort. You may choose a color or an urn that may include a photo. Some more artistic urns may have a theme or shape of something a loved one cherished such as a beach house, flowers, a pet, etc.
Apart from the most practical concerns, making sure the urn is large enough to hold your loved one’s remains and making sure the urn will fit if space is restricted, most of the choices that follow are more a matter of personal preference. Call the Lifesong team with any questions and personal assistance with choosing a cremation urn for your loved one’s ashes.