[adinserter name=”Native Ad Top”]
Interment of ashes is the practice of burying the remains in a permanent place.
Interring is a preferred method across many religions and cultures, who want to give their loved ones a final resting place.
This guide will take you through some the choices and necessary decisions that need to be made when interring.
We’ll discuss options for where you can bury, a typical ceremony, costs, and also alternatives to interment.
Burying the Ashes
If you decide to bury the ashes, you will need to choose a location. Below you’ll find some of the most popular places chosen by families.
Interring Cremated Ashes in a Cemetery
The cemetery is the most common place where family and friends will bury their loved one’s ashes.
Choosing a Monument
The memorial that you choose will be guided by your tastes, religion, and the cemetery section that you’ve chosen.
If you’ve purchased a plot, it is a good idea to speak with the cemetery administration to find out what can be erected.
Most cemeteries allow the burial of multiple people in the same plot, sometimes as many as four.
Burying Cremated Remains in an Urn Garden
Typically, urn gardens are exceptionally beautiful locations.
The cemetery or other memorial location, usually dedicates a specific area for the garden. The urn containing the ashes can be either below or above ground.
Interring in Landscapes
Many times, you can actually inter the ashes within the landscape. Depending on your budget and preferences, the choices could be in a fountain, a lovely rock, a bench, or any other place within the garden.
As with the other choices, you can mark the location with a memorial marker to indicate the place where your loved one lies.
Interring Cremated Ashes on Private Property
In many cases, a personal burial is desired by the family to keep the ashes close-by on their private property.
The services of a funeral director are not required for the arrangements, however at the time of the burial, the family can certainly have a ceremony.
Most families choose to situate a lasting tribute with a marker or other type of monument by the gravesite.
Suitable Urns for Interring
You need to choose a material that can withstand being underground, which is subject to force and the environment. Metal, granite and marble options are ideal for this.
Recommended Burial Urns
If you’re burying without a container, you will need an urn material which is either sturdy and durable, or completely degradable (If you prefer a green option).
As discussed above, a burial urn would be made of either metal, granite, or marble.
Burial Urns Guide
Want to see some popular burial urns on the market? Check out burial urns guide, which goes through everything you need to know before buying one.
Catholics and Interment of Ashes
The Catholic Church maintained a strict ban against cremation until the 1960s.
Before that time, the Church believed the only way to bury a deceased Catholic was in a Catholic cemetery following a funeral ceremony in the church.
However it’s important to note that nowhere does it state that the bible is against cremation.
Changing of Attitudes
But with so many advantages of cremation and the increasing number of Catholics choosing it, the Church had to change their stance.
Even though Catholics have changed their rules on cremation, they still prohibit the scattering of the ashes.
Additionally, they maintain their belief that the ashes should be buried and cannot be displayed such as on a mantel.
Interment of Ashes Ceremonies
Whether to have a cremation ceremony is certainly a personal preference and usually not a requirement.
If you’re interested in having no service, we recommend reading our guide on direct cremation.
A Traditional Ceremony
A traditional interment ceremony usually involves friends and family gathering at the plot, with a religious leader or celebrant saying a few words about the departed.
Prayers, poems, and songs can be part of the ceremony. This can give mourners an outlet to grieve and a feeling of closure.
How long does a ceremony last?
Ceremonies are typically brief, lasting less than 45 minutes. While the ceremony can be anything that the deceased or the family chooses,
Our experts answer some more questions about cremation, in case you’re wondering about some other aspects.
Below are some of the things that you might expect at a ceremony.
Two part ceremony
Most ceremonies have two parts, which are the viewing and the ceremony.
Whether it’s a casket or urn, the ceremonies can be similar.
A typical ceremony is described below, however if a more casual ceremony is desired, it can be changed to suit your wishes.
- The viewing is for mourners to view the deceased (when an open casket is used). This time is usually open to everyone.
- The ceremony is next.
- The urn or cremation casket is then taken to the interment location
- There is typically a second ceremony at that time, which is frequently a private.
A private ceremony is when the family wants a private gathering with only family and invited guests attending.
The ceremony can be officiated by anyone the decease or the family chooses. In addition, eulogies can be given by friends and family or just story telling about happy moments that were shared with the deceased.
If the person was religious, you can ask a religious leader to officiate.
Interring Cremated Ashes in a Columbarium Niche
A columbarium or cremation niche is a room, normally in a cemetery or church, or it can be a free-standing wall. It contains small individual spaces called niches.
After an urn containing the ashes and sometimes personal keepsakes are placed into the niche, a marker identifying the deceased is placed on the outside.
Alternatives to Burying the Remains
If the ashes are not buried, you will have to decide on what to do with the ashes. The possibilities are endless. Below are just a few suggestions.
The Scattering of Ashes
This is a popular choice where the ashes are scattered at a location such as the beach, the mountains, on a boat, in the woods, or any place that the deceased loved.
Keeping the Ashes with You
For many people, burying the ashes is not an option because they wish to keep the ashes with them or they do not wish to put them underground. There is a vast number of choices for lovely and unique urns in which you can keep the ashes.
Sharing the Ashes
Most people are shocked at the amount and the weight of the ashes; therefore, there is plenty to share with other members of the family or friends who would like to have ashes as well. If they live far you may need to send the ashes by mail.
Turn into Art
You may be surprised to learn that the ashes can be turned into glass and beautiful glass orbs, jewelry, stained glass, or anything else you can think of pertaining to glass can be created.
You can actually turn ashes into diamonds, with businesses using a process which mimics how the earth creates natural ones. Although quite costly, they’re a stunning and elegant, and can be integrated with most types of jewelry sets.
You maybe interested to know that cremation doesn’t have to involve the use of a fire. Also known as green or bio cremation, it is seen as an environmentally sound alternative. If you want to know more, check out our guide on water cremation.
Prayers and Poems for Interment
You may want to include a few prayers or poems in the service. Especially if you are making the arrangements or holding the service yourself.
Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
whose disciples recognized him as he broke bread
at their table after the resurrection:
we thank you for your strength upholding us
in what we have done today,
and now we ask for your presence to be recognized in this home;
bring your peace and joy to each place which stirs the memory;
give your strength and presence in those daily tasks
which used to be shared,
and in all the changes of life give us grace
to do your will day by day,
and to look for the glorious coming of Christ,
when you will gather us together to your table in heaven
to be with you for ever and ever.
we thank you for all those whom we love but see no longer.
As we remember (name of deceased) in this place,
hold before us our beginning and our ending,
the dust from which we come
and the death to which we move,
with a firm hope in your eternal love and purposes for us,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Non-Religious Ceremony Poems
Not, How Did He Die, But How Did He Live
Not how did he die, but how did he live?
Not what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away.
Miss Me but Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road,
and the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room,
why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not too long
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared
miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take
and each must go alone
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
a step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrow in doing good deeds,
Miss me, but let me go.
For more funeral poems, have a look at this resource.
Cost of Interment
Just like cremation costs, the price of interment will depend on the choices that you make. Factors like cemetery, plot, marker options will have the biggest bearing on cost.
If you want the deceased to be in a casket with a funeral service, visitation, embalming, and other services, the cost will be as much or more.
If you will be burying an urn, both the urn and plot are usually purchased in advance. Cremated remains take up less space and therefore cost less than a full plot.
You may also share a plot where a family member is already buried.
Prices will depend on the burial options chosen- contact the cemetery for exact prices.
It is a lot to think about, therefore, this was created with the basics, all in one place, and in the presumed order, so that you will at least know what needs to be thought about and which choices you will need to make.
This information will hopefully help to guide you in planning your own interment of ashes in advance to decrease some of the stress that your family members will be experiencing.
If you’re a loved one of the deceased who is making the arrangements for the interment of ashes, my deepest condolences. I hope this will aid you in your time of sorrow.
My parents ashes are in the same plot. I wish to now have them in my garden after 18 years. Am I allowed to do this
Maybe, but expect a huge cost to do all this. It will cost the same as if you originally buried the urn vault and then there will likely be associated costs with removal/transfer and possible permits. You can get the details by contacting the cemetery management or board directly, or a local funeral home that has links to the cemetery. There also may be requirements with the transfer and/or burial to private land, and possibly having this information included in the property deed. If that was the case, it would make selling the private property more difficult in the future.
My Father died in 1985. He was buried and Tomb stone was placed. My Mom passed away 22 September 2019. Her wish was for her ashes to be placed on my Father’s grave in KZN. I stay in Gauteng. And my Mom was living with me for 12 years. What do I do
i am going threw the same thing as you Katinka . my mother and i moved to nc we are from erie pa . she wants to be buried with her father , we had to have her cremated because cost and red tape to fly her home where
very high and unreasonable. so we plan on driving her up there in our car and having her buried with her father. i was fortunate enough to get her brothers ashes from his step kids . so they will both be with there father. good luck to you and i am so sorry for your loss
Does anyone know if the ashes of one person can be interred in two different places in Virginia ? Half near one family member in one location and half near another family member in another location?mthanks
I’m glad you mentioned that an internment ceremony can be officiated by anyone chosen by the deceased or the family. My father-in-law passed away from cancer earlier this week, and before he passed he made it clear that he wanted to be cremated. Your tips should be helpful as we start choosing a cremation monument and planning a memorial service for him.
A elderly relative has informed us that urns containing ashes must be placed on top of an existing coffin. We think this is not true. The cemetery does not answer the phone or return phone calls. Does anyone have any input on this..?
I asked about this a few years back. Urns cannot be placed on top of a coffin. The vault with the coffin must be buried 6 feet deeper than what it is and a vault for the urn can be placed in the site. There are costs for second right of interment, opening and closing and any other costs from the cemetery
My parents were both cremated and their ashes were placed in one columbarium niche. However, the columbarium is far away. Is it possible to open and remove some of their ashes to a site closer to me?
My sister just passed and her wishes were to be interned wi5h my already deceased parents. Can I open their crypt and add her urn?
I need to remove my father’s remains from a niche in order to honor my mother’s wish of dispersal of their ashes, and my wishes to put some with a family grave site. I just found out it will cost nearly $2,000 to have his ashes released to me.
I just learned the same thing, same pricing. Dad qualifies for burial in Arlington National Cemetery, and the cemetery where Mom’s ashes are (on Indian land adjacent to Scottsdale, AZ) wants to charge me $2k to “disintern” her. Then they get to sell her niche to someone else and said they will charge $4,100 when they sell it! I asked to borrow a ladder and a screwdriver so I could get them myself, since they are my personal property as only living child. The “counselor” suggested I put the space on Craig’s list, since it’s considered real estate. Great, 6″ x 6″ x 18″ of air space at the 8′ high level. Like anyone would buy that from a private party. Is there a legal remedy for this?
I’m Catholic and I was told $10,000 per person to intern ashes of my Mom, Dad and Brother. I can’t afford that. I don’t need a ceremony. How do I find reasonable pricing?
Check with the cemetery where you would like the ashes interred.
My Mother’s Widower had her put into a Funerary Wall at a military cemetery (she has no affiliation) and she has been gone less than 2yrs. her widower husband(step father)I guess I’ll refer to him as..has since moved on and is currently in a new relationship and cleaned the house and got rid of most of anything that was slightly tied to her..so when I asked him if my older sister (only sibling) and myself could have our mother since he clearly does not have any need to keep her any longer He said ABSOLUTELY NOT!! He won’t even allow us to have or touch any of her ashes and he did not carry out her final wishes as to where she wanted her final resting place to be…nor release her to get only two children to carry that out for our beloved mother…Is there anyone who can give me some solid info on this and how or is it even possible to obtain our only mother’s ashes…This makes me so unbelievably disgusted in this inhumane individual..So selfish…Help me get our mother back if anyone knows of anything plz lmk
Thank you in advance
Sorry for the loss of your mother. Unfortunately, she was married to your stepdad at the time of her passing. He has control over her ashes.
Can family members bury ashes in a purchased gravesite?
My husband ashes were placed in a niche at a veteran cemetery in the container from the funeral home. I am wanting to place them in a urn back in the niche. Can this be done without a hassle. I am just wanting to switch the containers.
Looking for boat service for my dad’s ashes
have plot and purchased 2 vaults do i need an urn for the ashes in california
My Mothers ashes in urn are in one niche, my fathers ashes in urn are in a niche next to Moms. I’d like to move my moms ashes/urn to my fathers niche, and I’d like to use my moms much for my sister and I, my sister is my Mons power of attorney. Is this possible
I finally found my dad! He passed away 10 years ago and was unclaimed. They cremated him and put his ashes in an urn and they keep him in a large crypt for the unclaimed. I’m trying to claim him and bring him home BUT the cemetery director doesn’t know how to disinter him. We are stuck,,,again!
Help I need some advice my name is Laurie I live in California. After my mom passed away my dad remarried he had bought spaces in a columbarium niche for my mom’s ashes and for my sister and me and our children my dad was diagnosed with Cancer a short time after he remarried after he remarried he placed my mom’s ashes in a space that he purchased After my dad passed away his new wife Linda g Murphy of sacred heart parish in Turlock California took my name off the paperwork my dad himself had done with Turlock memorial park My dad had prearranged and paid for his funeral and wished to be placed with my mom’s ashes. Well my dad’s new wife removed my name after his death and has stated to our family all the placement spaces in the Columbarium niche are hers and she can do whatever she wants with them Linda has already put her exhusbands ashes in one of the spaces and he had passed away 7 years prior and now had placed her dad’s ashes there also I know my dad would not have a problem with that but to have her take my name off is not what he wanted before my dad passed away he bought all his grandkids a house set up trusts funds for each of them and made prearrangements to keep the family together at our passing what can I do
My mother purchased a double niche and had her partner’s ashes interred in that niche in 2006. Although not related she had the rights to control disposition of her partner’ ashes. She also purchased an urn for herself and prepaid for her interment when she passed. She had recently passed and the cemetery is telling me we cannot open that niche to place her ashes in a separate urn in a niche she owns until we seek approval from her partner’s family. Despite the fact we have no plans to disturb the existing urn, she owned the niche, prepaid for everything, why do we need the family approval to open the niche? Also is a double niche considered one or two graves?
It is incorrect to say the Catholic Church had to change her stance on cremation because it became more common; that’s not how it works. (For example, the Church has preached consistently against rape for almost 2,000 years even though it was tolerated in most cultures, and only in the 19th century did governments begin to comply.) Second a mere lack of quotes from the Bible does not define dogma, doctrine, or discipline. Rather, it is the Church which Christ founded that has such authority. In fact, it was the Catholic Church who compiled the Bible for us. Only recently has technology advanced enough to meet the expectations of Church teaching. To burn the body in the past risked the loss, separation or scattering of remains, a disrespect to the dignity of the person. Now cremation can ensure the complete remains are together. Second, there is a long history of cremation used in denial of the faith or embrace of pagan beliefs so the Church is logically cautious. For these reasons, the Church did not support cremation as an acceptable option, under normal circumstances, until the 20th century.
The church has always allowed some cremation – especially at times like during the plague. However, they disallowed it for a time as a general practice based on the biblical principles of reverence for the dead, and care we owe to the mortal remains (See the scriptures on how well Jesus’ body was cared for after he was crucified) . The Church lifted the restriction in the late 60’s as cremations became more available, the industry was more regulated, and ashes were more properly cared for etc. These things are what Catholics call “little ‘t’ traditions,” meaning they change over time. Caring for the dead, on the other hand, is a “big ‘T’ Tradition,” and it can not change. Catholics are obligated to give the most reverence possible to mortal remains, which is why we are not allowed to spread ashes over sea or land.
These quotes are low.. I live in GA & the least amount quote I got was $2500 in an outside niche . He was already cremated in FL & I asked to have him buried on my mothers plot was told $ 12,000 + addtl $4000 for just using the same plot because they have to dig & make sure nothing is disturbed ( she’s 6 ft under) & my mother was buried in 1988 . I don’t think much is there except the concrete cript . He may end up at the Daytona 500 speedway . He always talked about ashes being spread there. At least it would be a fun place
My mom just died November 21 2022. She wanted to be cremated and after cremation what can do next please help thank you.
I lost my younger brother in October of 2022 and when going through his personal things, I found the ashes to two of his beloved pets. My brother was cremated, and we are urging my parents to make their arrangements and choose a plot so my brother can be buried there. He had no wife or children. His pets were his children.
Can the urns containing his pets’ ashes be buried there as well? Will there be an additional cost? I know I could simply call the funeral home we have dealt with, they are wonderful, but I’m not sure I want them to know any of this just yet.