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A memorial urn is a container that holds the cremated remains of someone who’s died. Traditionally they’re shaped like a vase with a lid. But they can come in different shapes and sizes. And they can be made from various materials such as metal, glass, wood, ceramic or stone. Some people choose to have a memorial urn engraved with the name of the person who died or with a message that’s important to them.

Different types of memorial urn

There are different types of memorial urn. The one you choose might depend on the wishes of the person who passed away and what family would like to do with their ashes. Read our list below to see what the options are.

Memorial urns for display

If a loved one has passed away you may want to keep them close. Lots of people choose to have a memorial urn that can be displayed somewhere at home. You can choose to have a decorative urn made to be displayed on a shelf or mantel. Or you can get a personal message engraved. There are many options available. But ultimately you can choose what best suits the person who passed away and what you’d like to see when you display the urn at home.

Memorial urns for graves

Some families choose to bury a loved one’s ashes instead of scattering them or keeping them at home. If you want to do this you’ll need to find an urn that’s suitable for burial. Some graveyards will ask for an urn made from biodegradable materials so that nothing’s left behind. So you’ll need an urn made from something like cardboard for example. But if you’d like to have the urn buried in a columbarium it’s better to choose an urn made from a material that’ll last such as metal or stone.

Keepsake memorial urns

Some families decide to share out the ashes of their loved one so that they can each keep them close by in a keepsake urn. These types of memorial urn are usually a little smaller because they only hold a small amount of the person’s ashes. But they can still be decorative and made from the material you’d prefer.

Eco-friendly urns

Some people choose an eco-friendly urn so that their loved one can be buried in a natural burial ground. These types of memorial urn are usually completely biodegradable. And they can also feature things like seeds or tree saplings so that the person who died returns to nature after their death.

Scatter tubes

Also known as a scattering urn, a scatter tube is usually a container that’s much smaller than a standard memorial urn. This is because they’re used to transport the ashes so that they can be scattered in a location that was special to the person who’s died. They’re typically made from cardboard. But they can still be decorative and colourful if that’s what you’d like.

Choosing a memorial urn

If you’re looking at memorial urns and are having trouble deciding which is best you can ask for help from your funeral director. They’ll be able to advise you on the options that are most suitable for you.

Keep in mind that you can often choose another memorial as well as the memorial urn. For example, if you choose to have the ashes buried, you could also have a headstone dedicated to your loved one. Or you could scatter the ashes but also have a memorial bench dedicated to their memory. Learn more about choosing memorials.


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