Article banner
Article banner author
Sharon Hunter - March 2022

How to choose a cremation urn

Add to your favourites

With cremation now outweighing burial in the United States, the selection of a cremation urn is receiving more attention. With that comes a much wider range of options so you can select a design that fits you best. Both traditional and emerging bio cremation return the remains to family, which can then be scattered or retained in an urn.

Here are a few things to think about when choosing an urn so you land on the perfect style.

When will you need the cremation urn?

For some families, a memorial service is more suitable than a funeral with the casket present. Or it could be that both happen; an intimate family funeral and a larger memorial at a later date. If the family is opting for a memorial service with the ashes present, then an urn needs to be selected in time for the service.

If not, the family can elect to receive the ashes from the crematorium in a standard cardboard box and transfer to an urn at a later day, when they find the perfect one.

Do I need to purchase an urn?

No you don’t. If you have something that is already the perfect vessel ,then go with that. You may wish to go DIY and craft something uniquely one-off and home grown. Check out the notes below on sizes. Urns typically have a lid or a removable plate at the bottom.

Can I purchase an urn directly?

You can. Just like caskets, there is no rule or law to say you must purchase an urn through a funeral home. You will have a wider choice of urns from bespoke and artisan suppliers made from glass, carved wood, carved marble, painted gourds, where you can commission something that reflects them.

With cremation now outweighing burial in the United States, the selection of a cremation urn is receiving more attention.

What size urn do I need?

Here are general volume guidelines for traditional cremation. Note that bio cremation (sometimes called aqua cremation) produces approximately 20-30% more volume of remains than traditional cremation.

1. An individual requires between 200 and 250 cubic inches - roughly the size of a shoebox.
2. A child or infant requires between 12 and 90 cubic inches
3. Companion urns enable the adding of another's ashes at a later date. Select an urn between 300 and 500 cubic inches.
4. Keepsake urns mean ashes can be given to a number of different people. You’ll be able to work out how many you wish to allocate and have fun collecting small vessels

What kind of style urn should I choose?

It’s taken a while, but urns are now receiving a long overdue design makeover. That’s not to say there was anything wrong with the traditional styles on offer, but if your tastes ran to something more contemporary or unique, then there was little choice. Now, with a little research, there is a wider range of styles to choose from.

Think about these factors when selecting an urn that’s the perfect fit:

1. Where will it be displayed? Some decide to inter the urn at a cemetery or mausoleum so friends and family can visit and pay respects. Choose an urn that is appropriate to the display space, when viewed front on only.
2. If displaying the urn at home, do you wish to choose something that fits with your home decor and style?
3. Or, select an urn that fits the personality and style of your loved one. Colourful and vibrant? Bohemian and arty? Modern and minimalist? With a bit of searching you will find the perfect urn. We can help you out with a range of urn providers who have everything from traditional to avant garde.
4. If the urn is to be buried, perhaps in a garden or natural burial ground, select something made of renewable and biodegradable materials.
5. Do you require engraving or photography? For some, an inscription is important, and possibly a photo or other image as well.

There are no rules to follow. Search and find the perfect vessel for them.
Call to action banner

Add to your plan

Add this to your plan as inspiration to share with others or just to act as a reminder

Add as favorite

You might also be interested to read

How to choose a funeral casket

Choosing a casket is one of the bigger decisions a family makes when there is a funeral to arrange. Here are some guidelines to help you make the best casket choice, and a few thin...

Caskets & Urns

Caskets and urns in Portland and surrounds There is now greater choice and more options than ever before when it comes to choosing a casket, casket alternative or urn. All funeral...

How to choose funeral speakers

Funerals are slowly shrugging off historical “rinse and repeat” formats and becoming a more authentic reflection of someone’s life. Bespoke caskets, unique venues and gorgeous them...