Choosing an Appropriate Urn for a Scattering Ceremony
With so many options available, choosing a scattering urn can feel like an overwhelming process. The decision often involves equal measures of intense emotion and careful consideration. It helps to begin the selection process by looking for urns that fit your specific ceremony plans – every ceremony is different, every family has different needs.
Your funeral director will have plenty of relevant suggestions but this quick guide will help you get started.
There are very few rules regarding the type of urn you have to use for scattering. Some people are content with the default given after cremation while others explore the vast variety of options for something that feels personal. The main difference between a scattering urn and a traditional display quality urn is the closure mechanism – permanent urns are purposefully difficult to open, scattering urns have a more user-friendly design.
Most modern scattering urns are biodegradable, usually made of paper or other natural materials. The designs are often intuitive and allow for easy scattering straight from the vessel without necessitating any actual handling. Some urns transform into vases or candle holders afterward, becoming part of the ceremony.
Many water-based ceremonies use a scattering technique much like the traditional scattering methods mentioned in the above section. Anything that travels well and pours smoothly will work just fine. We suggest avoiding paper models if there will be any spray or excess humidity – there are some cases where paper urns prove perfect for water burials, and we’ll discuss some of those scenarios below.
Some families choose to bury the ashes instead of spreading them. Any biodegradable urn is likely to work for this purpose, making thousands of options available to those who are interested. Some choose urns with integrated tree saplings or flower bulbs to create a powerful living memorial. We love the quality urns at Stardust – all of their scattering urns are biodegradable and environmentally friendly, well suited to scattering ceremonies and burial alike.
The only time that a non-biodegradable urn is used is when burying the urn encased in an urn vault, often requiring a formal funeral plot.
Water burials often utilize paper urns that float gently for several minutes before slowly submerging beneath the water. Make sure to seek out marine-friendly options; most urns intended for water scattering ceremonies work just fine. Coral starters are an inspiring alternative, encasing the ashes in a special concrete form instead of an urn, providing a future habitat for countless species of marine life.
Other Tips to Consider
Depending on the location, local authorities may have specific urn requirements or restrictions. You will often need to obtain a permit in advance if you want to release the cremated remains at a public park, nature reserve, or cemetery. Many waterside jurisdictions only permit scattering ceremonies at a specific distance away from the shore. If unsure, please ask. Cremated remains are completely safe to humans and the environment but obtaining permission is the only way to ensure your ceremony will go off without a hitch.
Start planning as soon as possible. The shopping, sizing, and shipping process can take a while depending on your source. Custom options often have an even longer lead-time. An urn is a highly personal investment – plan well and plan early to make sure you’re able to obtain the design you set your heart on.