If you’re lying your loved one to rest in cremation, you may need to consider their resting place. Some people request to be scattered in their favourite destinations while others want to stay close to their families for as long as possible. Cremation urns can be used for both of these, as a storage and carrying container to keep their ashes safe and secure. The planning of the cremation is one filled with grief and strong emotions. And, for this reason, it can be hard to find the time to make sure everything is ticked off of your list. Choosing an urn can help you and your loved ones find peace and celebrate the deceased’s life. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about choosing an urn.
What Is an Urn?
The word ‘urn’ can conjure up a multitude of visions. An ornate ceramic vase. An engraved wooden box. Or, even, a simple plastic box. An urn is simply a container that is used to contain the ashes of the deceased after a cremation. Over time, many different styles have been used – largely depending on the available budget and the individual’s personal preference.
Do You Need to Have One?
While you do not need to invest in an expensive urn if you don’t want to, you will need to provide a container to the funeral home for use after the cremation. By law, once a coffin enters the crematorium, it cannot be opened. Normally, within 2 hours of the cremation ceremony, the procedure is completed. The remains are cooled down, raked and ground into a sand-like temperature which is then placed in the urn, ready for collection by the family.
Once the urn has been taken into the custody of the named individual, the ashes can be scattered or held, depending on the deceased’s wishes.
Different Types of Urn
There are many different types of urn to choose from and the one that best suits your needs is entirely individual.
Individual Cremation Urns
As the name suggests, individual cremation urns are for the ashes of a single person. They are designed to house a maximum of 200 cubic inches of ashes and can be manufactured in materials including glass, metal or ease. Some people choose to have them personalised or decorated to suit the personality of a loved one. With so many options to choose from, they are also a versatile option to suit every budget.
Companion Cremation Urns
In some situations, a couple or two people may wish to have their ashes stored together. They come with two individual internal chambers which keep the ashes separate but still within the same vessel. Again, these can be manufactured from the same variety of materials as individual urns with similar options for design and personalisation.
Biodegradable Cremation Urns
There is an increased focus on offering sustainable and eco-friendly options for laying someone to rest. And, biodegradable designs are now rising in popularity. They can be manufactured from a range of materials, including sand, salt, corn, gelatin or even recycled paper. Many designed at 100% environmentally friendly, naturally disintegrating over time without negatively impacting the environment surrounding them.
Choosing the Right Sized Urn
In general, the ashes of a single person will weigh the same amount and urns are designed to accommodate these perfectly. So the main consideration when it comes to size is whether you’re going for an individual or companion urn. Some families choose to invest in larger urns to keep multiple members of the family together.
There are also micro-urns, designed to store the bodies of small children or babies.
The Right Way to Store an Urn
Many people choose to keep their loved ones close to them, at home, for as long as possible. Some feel more connected to these individuals and feel that they can still experience their energy long after they’ve left their physical bodies. There is no right or wrong way to store ashes. All you need to do is make sure that the urn or storage container you’ve chosen is on a flat, secure surface and in an area where it is unlikely to be knocked over. There are also more innovative ways to keep the ashes of your loved one close to hand at all times.
Some people choose to mix the ashes into compost and plant a favourite tree. Others will store the ashes within a sculpture that brings to life the personality of your loved one. Ashes can also be mixed into glass to create jewellery or even blended into paint to make a piece of art. Or, some people choose to create a concealed storage space, such as a hollowed-out book or within a beloved teddy bear.
Scattering Ashes from an Urn
Many people use an urn as an interim storage space before scattering them in the location chosen by the deceased. It makes it easier to transport them and provides a secure place from which you can scoop and scatter them out. Remember to scatter the ashes from waist height and to make sure you have permission from the landowner before doing so. We’ve created a Guide To Scattering Ashes which provides all the legal advice and requirements to do this in the UK.
Wallace Stuart Funeral Directors are dedicated to helping you lay your loved ones to rest in the most thoughtful, cherished and memorable way. If you’re opting for cremation, we’ll be there every step of the way to help you collect, keep or scatter their ashes to meet your needs. If you would like to speak to one of us and gain support to make your way through this emotional time, please do get in contact here today.