17 Ideas on What To Do With Ashes After Cremation

Oct 26, 2023

You can choose to have your loved one buried or cremated. If you choose to have them cremated, which is a popular choice, then you will also need to choose what to do with the ashes after the cremation. You may not need to decide straight away what you do with the cremation ashes, and you can simply keep them in an ashes’ urn until a later date. However, it can be helpful to know that there are many options for ways that you can incorporate your loved ones’ cremated remains into something deeply personal and meaningful.

Understanding Cremation Ashes

The ashes will be returned to you after the cremation in an urn. You can then choose what to do with them. Cremation ashes can be divided up between family members or into different memorial items, as you wish. If you wish to scatter ashes, you need to be aware of any legalities surrounding scattering ashes, but here at NC Funerals, we can advise you on this.

Traditional Options for Cremation Ashes

Whilst there are many modern options for turning cremation ashes into keepsakes, such as ashes jewellery or a cremation sculpture, some people prefer the traditional ways of keeping or displaying their loved one’s ashes after cremation. There are several more traditional options for what to do with your loved one’s ashes.


If you would like your loved one buried, but have chosen cremation, for a particular reason, then you can simply bury the ashes. Your crematorium may offer a burial service for ashes, or you can choose to bury the ashes in your own garden. Keep in mind that if you choose to bury the ashes at home, you may sell your home in the future. You could choose to bury the ashes loose or to bury the ashes inside a memorial urn.


Ashes can be scattered at the beach, or the countryside, but you need to check with local laws regarding the scattering of ashes. Often families choose to do this at a later date and invite friends and family to join with them to do so.

Keeping Ashes in an Urn

Keeping the ashes in an urn is still a popular choice. Some people enjoy being able to chat with their loved one, and you can take the ashes with you if you move house in the future.

Interment in a Columbarium

A columbarium is a structure that allows multiple ashes to be stored within it. It consists of many niches, where the urns sit. It can be popular with families, as it allows family members to be laid to rest together. It gives you a dedicated place where you can go and visit your loved one.

Interment in a Family Plot

If you have a family plot, you can bury the ashes in the family plot. Space for burial can be limited, but choosing to bury ashes, may mean that you can keep loved ones together. Your loved one may have wanted this as their final resting place, so check if they have mentioned any particular requests in their funeral plans.

Scattering or Burial in a Memorial Garden

Many crematoriums have memorial gardens. These are often planted with flowers or trees and can contain benches for people to sit on when they visit. It can be a lovely place to lay your loved one to rest so that you can visit them.

Repatriation or International Options

Repatriation can be a difficult process, but we can advise you on this. You can repatriate your loved one’s remains from across the world, bringing them home. Certain paperwork and documentation will be required, but it is possible to bring them safely back home.

Religious and Cultural Practices

Different religions have different views on cremation. Some religions do not accept cremation and will always choose burial as the preferred option. You can always discuss the religious aspects of cremation with your faith leader, and seek their advice if you are unsure.

Alternative and Creative Ideas

Whilst traditional ways of keeping ashes have been around for many years, recently, people have turned to more alternative, unique and creative ideas for keeping their loved one’s ashes and celebrating their life. It is possible to have your loved one’s ashes made into a range of different, unique memorial keepsakes. These ideas can give you something deeply meaningful and reflective of their life, which can be a comfort during your loss.

Memorial Jewellery

There are many companies that can turn your ashes into memorial jewellery. Whether this is physically turning the ashes into something else, like a unique diamond, or creating beautiful handmade jewellery, such as a pendant, with a compartment that holds a small amount of cremated ashes. This way, your loved one can always be with you.

Artwork and Keepsakes

Pieces of art can incorporate ashes, whether, in a memorial glasswork or sculpture, there are many creative options for you to explore. For those who have lost a child, or a young child who has lost a parent, a memorial teddy bear can have a small urn inside containing ashes.

Planting a Memorial Tree or Garden

You can plant a tree, or flowers with ashes in the soil, so that beauty will grow from your loved one. If your loved one enjoyed their garden, nature, or the countryside, this can be a touching and significant memorial. There are woodland burial sites where you can do this if you would rather not do it in your own garden.

Casting Ashes into Fireworks

Going out with a bang could be the perfect memorial for your loved one. You can host a memorial celebration, and specialist companies can include your loved one’s ashes in the fireworks. This can create a unique send-off for your loved one.

Creating Memorial Artefacts

Always spend time researching and speaking with your chosen company for your memorial artefacts. Often they will only need a very small amount of the ashes to incorporate into the unique keepsake. You may choose to create more than one memorial keepsake with your loved one’s ashes.

Vinyl Records with Ashes

One creative memorial that is growing in popularity is a vinyl record created with ashes. You can choose a special, or favourite song, and enjoy listening to the record and remembering your loved one.

Scattering at Meaningful Locations

We all have places that are special to us. Family holiday locations, engagement spots, or simply somewhere that you enjoyed spending time together. Scattering ashes at meaningful locations can give you a simple way of remembering your loved one.

Bespoke Memorial Ceremonies

It can be nice to gather your friends and family for a memorial ceremony. This is often a more relaxed and less formal event than the funeral. You can hire a boat and scatter ashes on the water, invite your friends and family for a picnic or a walk to scatter ashes in the countryside. Whatever you want to make this moment significant and meaningful, you can do.

Exploring Unconventional Ideas

There are always more unconventional ideas, and you may want to embrace something different, such as having a tattoo that includes some of your loved ones’ ashes. The tattoo will be a constant visual reminder of your love.

Legal and Environmental Considerations

There are laws surrounding the scattering and burial of cremation ashes. It is important that you adhere to these laws, and always seek advice if you are unsure. Many of these laws are designed to protect the environment, and you would not want your ashes to cause problems to others.

The Role of Family and Friends

You are not alone, even in this difficult time. Discuss with your friends and family any idea that you may have for your loved one’s cremation ashes. They may have other ideas or wishes. It is important that other family members are considered in your choice. You may wish to scatter the cremated ashes on a mountain, but this could make other people feel excluded if they are not keen walkers. You can split the ashes if people want different things, thereby allowing others to mourn in their own way. We are all very different, and we all mourn in different ways.

The time after the loss of a loved one can be stressful for families, and choosing what to do with the cremation ashes can add to this stress. You don’t need to decide straight away, you may find that waiting allows you all the chance to grieve before deciding what to do next, and then you can plan a reflective memorial for your loved one.

Need Additional Details Before Making a Decision Regarding the Disposition of the Cremation Ashes?

Here at NC Funerals, we have helped many families during this difficult time. The death of a loved one is a stressful and sad time, and you can feel overwhelmed by the decisions that need to be made. Planning a funeral can be tricky and complex, without the added complications of what to do with the ashes after the funeral. We are here for you, whether you want advice or support. Our family will be there for your family.

Discussing different options with us can be beneficial, and we are always happy to listen and talk to you and your family. If you are looking for funeral directors in Lancashire, our doors are always open, simply contact us today.

Transform cherished memories into beautiful keepsakes.