Help Selecting an Urn

What size urn do I need?
What should the urn be made from?
Why does the final resting place matter?
What if I want to scatter the ashes?
Are there ways to personalize an urn?


What size urn do I need?

Companion urns hold the cremains of two individuals. Often times, there is a panel that separates the urn into two chambers to prevent intermingling of cremains. This is required by law in some states, so most manufacturers include the divider. Companion urns generally hold 400+ cubic inches.

Single or Adult urns hold the cremains of one individual. These urns generally hold a minimum of 200 cubic inches.

Youth urns are designed for children between the age of 5 to 12 years old. These urns typically hold between 100 and 180 cubic inches. Adolescents typically are placed in adult urns.

Infant urns hold between 80 to 100 cubic inches, and are used for infants and children up to 5 years old.

Partials and Keepsakes are minute urns. Typically, they hold less than 20 cubic inches, and aren't much larger than a salt shaker. These products are purchased when various family members want some of the cremains to take home or to scatter themselves.

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What should the urn be made from?

The material in which urns are made is limitless. Wood, bronze, marble and various metals are very common, but on occasion will you find some made from plastic, ceramic, glass or other untraditional materials. First and foremost, find something you like, and possibly that reflects the person for whom it will be used. For example, if you are a nature enthusiast, you may want to purchase an urn that has a nature scene or birds. This is especially the case if it will be placed in a glass front niche where it may be seen by others.

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Why does the final place of resting matter?

The final resting place of the urn is another thing to consider when choosing an urn. If you are going to be burying it or placing it in a closed faced niche, you might want to go with something more utilitarian. Some cemeteries will allow you to bury a combination urn/vault. This way you only need to purchase one container versus two. Check with your cemetery personnel on what they will and will not accept. Some niches have glass fronts, so you may want to choose an urn that represents the deceased, maybe an urn with a religious or fraternal emblem.

Depending on where the urn will be after the service, may determine the outside dimensions of an urn. For example, many columbarium's around the country advertise a standard niche size of 12"x12"x12".

When niches are manufactured, they are generally made from molds that taper from the front to the back of the niche. So, you will need to get an exact measurement from the organization from whom you purchased the niche, and compare that to the outside dimensions of the urn when selecting one. Also, niches come in a variety of sizes that allow for multiple or companion urns, so be sure to shop around before choosing one. The same goes with burial vaults at cemeteries.

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What if I want to scatter the ashes?

If you decide to scatter the ashes, whether immediately or in the future, there are a wide range of urns available. Some companies do make an urn specifically for scattering. Some have hinged lids for easy access to cremains, others have special handles to help while scattering and some are designed to be taken home after scattering and can be used as a keepsake box for personal items. Although some urns are labeled as scattering urns, in most instances any urn may work.

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Are there ways to personalize an urn?

All of our urns may be personalized with a brass plate with up to three lines of text. In addition to the brass plate, we offered a range of appliqués and medallions including a rose, wheat, praying hands, dove, cross and all branches of the military.

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