Interment of Ashes: How to Bury Cremated Remains

You’ve received your loved one’s cremated remains back. Now, what do you do with them?

You might be planning to bury them. Or are you placing them in a niche? Are you thinking of keeping them at home?

Read on and learn what solution is best for you.

What Does Interment Mean?

The meaning of interment is where a person is laid to rest permanently, whether buried or cremated.

Interment, once upon a time, specifically referred to burial. But now that cremation has become so prevalent, the term has come to include the disposition of ashes as well.

Inter and interring are both ways to refer to interment. These words – and the practice of interment – can be applied to a human or a beloved pet.

Interment vs. Inurnment

As discussed above, interment refers to burial or cremated remains being placed in the ground. It is the act of leaving the remains in the final resting place.

Inurnment is the placing of cremated remains in an urn followed by placement in a niche or some other permanent location. Inurnment refers only to cremated remains going into the urn.

Read more about inurnment here.

Interment vs Burial

Interment can mean burial in the earth, or placement in a mausoleum or crypt. Burial is just that, ground burial in the earth.

Where Can Ashes Be Interred?

There are many places to choose for interment of ashes. You just need to decide how you would like to lay your loved one to rest.


Interment of cremated remains in a cemetery can happen in different sections, depending on the cemetery and what they offer.

Cemeteries will allow the burial of ashes in the same grave space as a full casket burial. A cemetery will usually allow two sets of cremated remains to be placed in the same space. Remember, before making your plans, you must check with the sexton of the cemetery. He/she will let you know the rules.

Related: The 20 Best Cremation Urns for Burial

Urn Garden

An urn garden is a landscaped area for the burial of cremated remains in a cemetery. Some urn gardens are small plots. However, some gardens are more refined.

In the more elaborate gardens, cremated remains can be incorporated into the landscape. The cremains may be placed in a bench, in a fountain, or other landscape pieces.


A columbarium is a wall, room, or even a whole building designed to hold cremation urns. The walls have “niches” in them. You place the urn inside the niche (assuming it fits). The columbarium niche is a permanent resting place where you can go to visit your loved one.

Some of these niches, especially in a building, will have glass fronts. This way you can see the urn when you come to visit.

Private Property

You can bury an urn on your private property. You can use any type of urn you would like to. Many people choose one that will stand the test of time, like marble, or go the opposite route with an eco-friendly one that is biodegradable.

You don’t have to place the urn in a vault if you don’t want to. It’s your land to do with as you please.

Related: Home Burials: How to (legally) bury a body in your backyard

Public Land

Public land cannot be used for burial or scattering of cremated remains unless otherwise stated.

An example of a public place that you can scatter at would be Yosemite National Park. They have a specially designated area for the scattering of cremains. You must fill out and submit an application.

Disneyland strictly prohibits any scattering of cremated remains. Sports stadiums prohibit scattering as well.

It is always wise to ask first. You would hate to have your loved one’s cremated remains swept or vacuumed up, only to be placed in a trash can.

In the Ocean

When you wish to scatter cremated remains in the ocean, you must go out three nautical miles from the coast.

You can choose to scatter cremains or place them in a biodegradable urn.

You also have the option of placing your loved one in a man-made reef. The workers will mix cremated remains with concrete into your chosen design; the team will place the ornament into the reef.

These are a few of the companies that offer this beautiful option.

Urns for Interment

Urns come in different sizes and numerous designs. You can decide on urns designed for burial, niches, or even burial at sea. Cremation offers many alternatives for you and your loved one.

Here are a few popular and beautiful examples.

Cremation urns that can be buried directly in the ground

You can highly personalize our black cultured granite urn. Engraving is included, so you can add a picture, name and dates, and even a saying. This urn will not degrade and will stand the test of time. You do not need to place this in an urn vault.

For photo engraving, you will need to upload a high-quality picture. Our engravers will reproduce an astonishing replica in black and white detail.

More: Shop our complete collection of stone urns here. Our collection includes genuine, authentic marble urns along with more affordable (but just as durable) cultured marble options.

Cremation urns that can be buried in a vault

The Soft Breezes Sailing Urn is a memorial to be treasured! Our beautifully lasered urn is 3D cut and features a boat sailing out to sea. You can choose to have this urn made from walnut, solid oak, mahogany, or maple.

You will typically need to place a wooden urn like this into a vault when buried. The vault will protect the wood from breaking down over the years.

More: Find many more of our 3-dimensional wood inlay designs here.

Cremation urns that can be interred in a columbarium niche

Designed to fit any niche at Arlington National Cemetery, you can purchase this American-made niche urn with confidence. Our solid wood urn measures 8.5″ tall by 8.5″ wide and 4.25″ deep. You can choose to have it crafted from mahogany, natural cherry, or oak.

You can personalize the urn with a military medallion, the name of your loved one, dates, and an epitaph.

Our solid wood urn has a capacity of 218 cubic inches. One inch is equal to one pound; this means that a person that weighs 218 pounds will fit in this urn.

Biodegradable burial urns

Our Biodegradable Oceane Urn has a sand finish with a “footprints in the sand” motif. The USA-based company uses a combination of beach sand and natural, vegetable-based gelatin; this urn is 100% biodegradable.

Being biodegradable, this urn does not require a vault. Upon placing it in the ground, it will be completely disintegrated in just a few months. It is also suitable for ocean burial.

More: Discover all sorts of eco-friendly urns here, including our memorial tree urns that allow you to plant a loved one’s ashes and grow a tree.

Ocean burial urns

Made from the bark of mulberry trees, our Journey Earthurn is a 100% biodegradable urn.

Called a “pillow” urn due to its shape, once placed in the water, it will drift for a while and then slowly sink. The urn will start to dissolve and gently release the cremated remains into the depths of the ocean. The urn will completely biodegrade in about 24 hours.

You can choose from two sizes. The miniature urn holds 60 cubic inches, and the standard urn holds 220 cubic inches.

More: We have many types of scattering urns – for ocean and land – available here.

Interment of Ashes FAQ

You have so many questions at the time of death. We have answered some of the most asked questions below.

How much does it cost to bury cremated ashes?

The cost of burying cremains differs from one cemetery to another cemetery. The charge will depend on if you have to purchase a plot or if you already have one.

The cost can vary from $350.00 to $2500.00. You can get the exact price by getting in touch with the cemetery. Let the cemetery know what you need; they will calculate all costs for you.

How much does it cost to bury ashes in an existing grave?

Burying cremated remains in an existing grave will cost anywhere from $350.00 to $1000.00. Again, since prices vary by time and location, it is best to call the cemetery and get the exact cost from them. They will set everything up for you.

Can cremated remains be buried with another person?

You can bury cremated remains with another person. Cremated remains don’t take up very much space. Most cemeteries will allow three or maybe four sets of cremated remains to be buried together.

There may be an additional charge depending on their policies. It is best to check with your cemetery of choice before making solid plans.

Can you put ashes in a coffin?

Yes, you can. Make sure to tell your funeral director that you would like to place the cremains in the casket. The funeral director will take care of the rest. There is certain paperwork that will need to be filled out with the cemetery. The funeral home will handle it for you.

Can you bury an urn on top of a casket?

Placing the urn at the foot or the head of the grave is typical.

You shouldn’t dig over 12″ deep if you have decided to bury the urn on top of the casket. You don’t want to disturb the grave. It shouldn’t be a problem to bury the urn on top of a casket but check with the cemetery.

How many urns can be buried in a plot?

The number of urns placed in one plot will depend on the state and cemetery laws. Cremation plots will usually allow from one to six urns. Traditional graves will usually allow one to four urns.

Can you bury cremated remains in your backyard?

Yes, you can bury cremated remains in your backyard if you own the property. Urn, no urn, no vault, it doesn’t matter. It is your property to do as you wish.

What is the procedure for burying an urn?

You can bury an urn anyway you choose if it is on your own property.

You will have to call the cemetery if you are burying there. The cemetery has a schedule they have to follow. They will do their very best to fit you into the day and time that works best for you.

  • Pick a plot at the cemetery.
  • Pay for the plot.
  • Choose a date for the burial.
  • Hire an officiant if needed.
  • Let friends and family know the date and time.
  • Arrive a few minutes early with the urn so the cemetery personnel can place it.
  • The ceremony will take place.
  • The sexton will place the urn in the ground.
  • The funeral director will dismiss everyone.

Interment Service Ideas

An interment service is much like a committal, which is the burial service for a full body in a casket or cremated remains.

The interment service will consist of friends and family gathering at the place of interment. This could be burial of a full-body, burial of cremains in the earth, placing the urn in a niche, or burial at sea.

An officiant will say a few words. Offering prayers, singing songs, sharing memories, and reading Scriptures or poetry can all be a part of the interment service.

Here is a list of ways to make your interment service unique:

  • Release butterflies
  • Distribute a small trinket in memory of your loved one: a keychain, a silicone bracelet, or a pin
  • Give out seed packets
  • Pass out flowers for everyone to place in the grave
  • Have children or grandchildren participate in the service

Children and adults alike could take turns reading Scripture, a poem, or singing.

You can ask everyone to throw a handful of dirt into the grave after the casket or urn has been lowered.

What do you say at an interment of ashes?

You can say the same thing at an interment of ashes as you would say at a full-body burial. You can read Scripture, recite poems or share memories.

Popular Scripture readings at interments

  • Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
  • John 3:25 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”
  • Philippians 1:21-23 – For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

More: 50 Best Funeral Scripture Readings

Popular funeral prayers

  • The Lord’s Prayer – Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, Amen.
  • Comfort Prayer – Lord, we thank you for enabling us to gather here today so that we can celebrate a life well-lived. As we start this funeral service, we ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit in this place. May He bring comfort to every one of us so that we can mourn as believers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
  • Peace of Mind Prayer – Dear Father, there is a season and time for everything in this world. Today you have granted us a chance to celebrate the life of our loved one, and we want to say thank you. Even though we find it hard to accept what has happened, we know that everything works out together for good. Father, give us the peace that surpasses all understanding as we start this funeral. Amen.

More: 10 Biblical Prayers for a Christian’s Funeral

Share memories

  • You can make a photo collage. You would set up the photo collage beside the cremains.
  • Make a Memory Jar – Set up a small table at the graveside. Place a paper and pen next to your memory jar and let people share their fondest memories!
  • Create a memorial hashtag – (e.g., #RememberJamesSmith) People can share their favorite stories, memories, photos, and videos on social media.

Now that you have finished reading, you can plan how and where to inter your loved one’s cremated remains.


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Interment of Ashes

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