What do I do with the ashes after cremation?
There are many possibilities! Most commonly, you can:
- Put the ashes in an urn to display at home
- Inter the remains in a columbarium niche
- Bury them at a cemetery
- Scatter the ashes in a special location
Let's talk about these, then we'll cover some of the more unique and creative options.
What to Do With Ashes After Cremation
Here are the most popular options for where to put ashes after cremation.
1. Put the ashes in an urn & keep at home
Some people prefer to keep the urn out of sight for casual visitors, but still in a special location. This might be in the individual's room or office, which is converted into a memorial room, corner, or wall. Or you might simply keep the urn on your bedside table.
2. Inter the remains in a columbarium niche
A columbarium is a wall, building, or structure with sections or "niches" that will permanently store the cremation urn, typically at a cemetery, funeral home, or church.
Each niche is a square or rectangular area that will hold a cremation urn and perhaps some other small memorial items. Often the face of the niche is covered with marble, to which you will affix an engraved plaque with the person's name and dates. Sometimes the niche will be glass covered so that you can display the urn inside.
Read more about columbarium niches here and inquire at your local funeral home or cemetery.
Many of our cremation urns will fit into standard-to-large sized niches. See our FAQ article Will this urn fit into a niche? for more information.
For smaller niches, we have an urn designed specifically to fit into the smallest niches.
3. Bury the ashes (and urn) at a cemetery
Just like full-body burial, cemeteries offer burial plots for cremated remains. Often these plots are smaller and more space-efficient, which helps keep your burial costs down. You can often even have two people's remains buried, one after and above the other, saving you from having to purchase two separate burial plots.
You can bury the urn in a simple container, in the urn inside of a protective burial vault, in a marble urn that doubles as the protective burial vault, or in a biodegradable urn at some natural burial grounds.
Read more about using burial vaults to bury & protect an urn.
4. Scatter the ashes in a special location
Scattering is becoming a more and more popular choice for the final disposition method. Not only can you choose multiple locations (home, where you first met, favorite vacation spots, on a mountain, in the ocean, etc) but you can also divide the remains among relatives to each person can scatter (or keep, if preferred) the ashes in a special way.
More Creative Things to Do With Ashes After Cremation
We have a marvelous list of 36 Creative Ideas for Ashes. This list includes unique urns, urn alternatives, and lots of interesting things that can be done with cremated remains, including:
- Mix with tattoo ink for a memorial tattoo
- Made into memorial stones or glass art
- Shot off in fireworks or in bullets
- Placed in upcycled urns
- Scattered during a filmed skydive
- Put into a working hourglass