Selecting the Perfect Cremation Urn

Cremation urns can range from an unfinished biodegradable container to an elaborate work of art meant for permanent display. Selecting an urn to house your loved one’s creamains is one of the most personal choices you will make for that person. It can also be very challenging because of the sheer variety available.

Available Urn Shapes

Although you may have a picture in your mind of an urn that looks like a vase, there are many other shapes available. Some look like a square or rectangular box with beautiful inlays. You may also consider urn shapes that symbolize love, hope, freedom or peace:

  • Heart
  • Bird
  • Butterfly
  • Dolphin
  • Flower
  • Angel

More elaborate urns may be detailed sculptures in bronze or marble. You can even commission a custom urn from an artist to ensure it is completely unique.

Understanding Sizes of Funeral Urns

You may be advised by a funeral home to purchase an urn with a specific volume based on the body weight of the deceased. However, it is not necessary to keep all the cremains in a single container if you do not wish to do so. Many families choose to divide cremains among several “keepsake” urns. Or, you may scatter some of the cremains at a special location and retain the rest in a smaller container. A burial urn that will be placed in a columbarium will need to adhere to specific dimensions to fit the space available. There is no one standard niche size, so you should contact the cemetery for this information.

Potential Urn Materials

Urns meant for permanent display may be made of a variety of materials including:

  • Hardwoods (such as maple, walnut, cherry, or mahogany)
  • Metal (such as bronze, brass, copper or steel)
  • Glazed ceramic or porcelain
  • Opaque, colored glass
  • Marble, granite, or other natural stone materials

Themed Cremation Urns

Sometimes, family members may wish to select an urn that reminds them of something specific about their loved one. These urns tend to celebrate the life of the individual. If a particular faith was very important to the deceased, a religious themed urn is appropriate. A patriotic urn might be more suitable for a veteran. In other cases, an urn may be themed with a favorite pastime such as dance or even motorcycle riding.

If a more somber urn is desired for formal display, a themed keepsake urn might still be an option for your own home. You can also remember your loved one by adding ornamentation or engraving with a medallion or plaque. A line from a favorite poem or a personal but timeless message of love may be perfect.


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Urn Options for Cremation

Purchasing an urn for the remains of your loved one is one of the most personal choices you can make for that person. Urns come in all shapes like a heart, butterfly, flower, angel, etc and various materials such hardwoods (maple, walnut, cherry), metals (bronze, brass, copper), natural Stone (marble or granite), or glazed ceramic or porcelain.

Some families choose to customize the urn containing their loved one’s ashes in such a way that the design reminds them of their loved one and celebrates the life of the individual.