How to Choose a Cremation Urn
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A Consumer's Guide
One of the main things to keep in mind when choosing a cremation urn is that rushing to make a choice is usually not necessary. Many people assume that an urn has been available immediately after the cremation has been completed, but that is not the case. Crematories typically will package remains in a temporary container that is suitable for storage for a long time. In fact, stories are common in which families have left the ashes in their temporary container for years before finally transferring them to an urn.
So, when you are shopping for an urn, you can rest assured that time is – usually – not a factor. Choosing a cremation urn is a deeply personal task, and there are an ever-growing number of options. It’s important that this decision, when possible, not be made lightly or quickly. This is one reason why more and more people today are choosing their own urns – sometimes even while they are in middle age – and even displaying them in their homes for years before their death; doing that can be a great service to family members. (We have been careful to note that time is “usually” not a factor in urn selection: one case in which time can be a factor occurs when an urn has not been pre-selected but family members want to have an urn on display during a traditional memorial service a few days after the death. Pre-purchased urns can certainly help with this scenario.)
The internet and low cost long distance services of today have made choosing a cremation urn a simple and even pleasant, experience for many families. It is common today for several family members to collaborate on an urn choice by using email and the telephone to explore together the myriad of choices available.
One great way to decide on an urn is to determine fairly quickly what your budget is. A large number of great-looking urns are available for under $100, but even more elegant designs are available at prices up to $2,000. The more expensive urns are typically made from rarer materials and are usually more meticulously crafted. But that is not to say that many beautiful urns are available in the lower prices. In fact, it is often the case that families who originally plan to spend $1,000 on an urn often end up finding the perfect urn for their loved-one for far less. Because the selection is so large, establishing a budget can help you narrow the choices to a manageable size. You will certainly find plenty of urns to choose from no matter what your price range.
After you have decided on a price range, you should make sure your urn choice is suitable for the display method. If you intend to permanently display the urn in a climate controlled environment, then almost any one would be a good choice. If you intend to eventually bury the urn or display it outdoors, however, you will probably need a marble urn or a metal urn (brass urns are typically not recommended for burial, however). It should be noted that any urn will be suitable for burial if it is encased in an urn vault which cost $100 to $420 depending upon the style and materials. Some families include the urn vault as part of a burial ceremony and, therefore, require a more elegantly designed vault than those who place the urn in a simple-looking vault after any memorial services.
No one relishes the idea of shopping for an urn, of course, but the selection and pricing available from today’s memorial industry can make selecting the perfect urn a pleasant, maybe even uplifting, experience for your entire family.