After cremating a loved one, families or friends must make a decision: what to do with the cremation ashes. Popular options include storing them in an urn in a loved one’s home or in a mausoleum. Or, they may choose to scatter the cremains in a special place.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Are Cremation Benches?
- How Much Do Cremation Benches Cost?
- How Do Cremation Benches Work?
- How Do You Install a Cremation Bench?
- Cremation Bench Options
- What Message Should You Write on a Cremation Bench?
- Where Can You Buy a Cremation Bench Online?
However, while these are common choices, they are by no means the only options worth knowing about. Maybe a family member has asked you to cremate their body when they pass, and now you’re in the process of deciding what to do with the cremains.
There are plenty of ways to honor a loved one, whether it be with a custom urn from a store like Foreverence, a memorial diamond created from ashes by a company like Eterneva, or cremation stones with Parting Stone. If they haven’t already specified a preference, you may want to discuss the option of a cremation bench.
You might also not know what a cremation bench is. This guide will fill you in, explaining what cremation benches are, how much they might cost, and what types of styles you can choose from.
What Are Cremation Benches?
Again, although storing the cremains of a loved one in an urn or scattering them are popular options after a cremation, they’re not the only options you may consider. For instance, a family might still wish to place some sort of memorial monument in a cemetery for others to visit and see.
This can be difficult if they store cremains in an urn. While a headstone marks a person’s burial spot, you might assume there’s no equivalent for cremated individuals.
That’s not necessarily the case. As the name implies, cremation benches are bench-shaped structures that typically serve the same function that headstones serve, potentially featuring engravings of a deceased person’s name, date of birth, date of death, etc. They're often bronze or granite, though designers can use a range of materials when creating them.
However, cremation benches are different from headstones because they may contain a person’s cremains. Or, if a family chose to bury a loved one’s cremains, they’ll mark the burial spot.
A cremation bench also doesn’t necessarily need to be in a cemetery. Although this is the place where you’ll most likely find a cremation bench, some families keep them on their property or in memorial parks.
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How Much Do Cremation Benches Cost?
The cost of a cremation bench can vary depending on a range of factors. Along with the bench itself, shipping, installation, and other factors can influence the cost.
Some basic stone cremation benches, which may feature little ornamentation and a simple engraving of the deceased’s name, start at around $1300. On the higher end, you might find bronze cremation benches, which include a laser-etched portrait of the deceased and space for lengthier engravings, starting at around $6000. That starting cost also might not include additional fees for such features as laser-etched pictures.
You need to consider your budget when deciding what to do with a loved one’s cremains. If you’re looking for things to do with ashes that aren’t expensive, you probably wouldn’t opt for a highly-decorative cremation bench. However, if a cremation bench does interest you, the following section of this guide will explain the various types of cremation benches you may choose from in greater detail.
How Do Cremation Benches Work?
Cremation benches come in different styles and forms. Thus, there is no one answer to the question "How does a cremation bench work?"
Some cremation benches don't actually hold any human remains. Instead, they may mark the burial spot of a person's body or ashes in a cemetery or cremation garden.
Other types of cremation benches actually do have interior space for urns containing ashes. Sometimes, these spaces consist of niches within the bench platform or legs. These niches are essentially hidden from view within the bench. While loved ones might know the monument contains ashes, passersby may not realize this.
It's important to understand that the niche for an urn within a cremation bench may not be large. You must consider this factor when choosing an urn to store within said niche. Because the urn will not be visible, you may also not find it particularly necessary to choose a visually elaborate urn, as no one will see it.
There are also cremation benches that feature exterior spaces for urns. These urns usually are not separate from the actual bench itself. Instead, they may rise up from a space on or adjacent to the bench's platform. They contain the ashes. Because they are part of the bench structure, there is no need to worry about them falling over or being removed from the bench itself.
Although most cremation benches can serve as functional benches, those who understand their purpose often choose not to sit on them. They may feel this is disrespectful. However, your own personal feelings are the only factor that truly matters when you're making the decision on how to handle a loved one's cremation bench.
How Do You Install a Cremation Bench?
Odds are good you will not install a cremation bench yourself. Suppose you decide you want to memorialize a loved one with a cremation bench. In that case, often, you will install it within a cemetery. Just as you wouldn't install your loved one's headstone in a cemetery without the proper training and permissions, you wouldn't install their cremation bench on your own. Instead, you would leave this job to the experts.
They will typically install a cremation bench on a cement foundation. This is to ensure the bench remains level. For aesthetic reasons, they may cover the cement with a granite base.
Additionally, the team installing your loved one's cremation bench will usually have the surrounding grass run up to the edge of the base upon which the bench sits. This further adds to the visual appeal of the bench by making it almost appear as though the bench rises naturally from the ground beneath it.
That said, some cremation benches have one large "leg" supporting the entire bench platform. In contrast, others have separate legs, resembling traditional benches. Often, when the legs of a cremation bench are separate, there is no grass in the space between the legs, leaving the cement or granite base visible.
That might not be a matter of concern for you. It's simply a fact worth keeping in mind when choosing a style of cremation bench for your loved one's ashes.
The main point to remember is that installing a cremation bench is not a DIY job. If you would not feel comfortable installing your loved one's own headstone or other such monument, you should not attempt to install their cremation bench yourself. Even if you choose to install a cremation bench on your own property, where you may technically have the right to handle this task, it's best to enlist the help of experts who can perform the installation correctly.
Cremation Bench Options
Consider these different materials and shapes as you choose the best cremation bench to memorialize your loved one.
A relatively inexpensive cremation bench could resemble a basic stone slab with two columns supporting it. The front lip of the stone slab may include space for an engraving of the deceased’s name.
Don’t let the fact that this is an inexpensive option make you assume it’s not as respectful to a loved one’s memory as something “fancier.” In many cases, this type of modest cremation bench is actually the ideal choice, regardless of price.
For instance, basic stone cremation benches tend to visually mesh with just about any natural surroundings. If you’re planning on installing a loved one’s cremation bench in this type of setting, and they weren’t the type of individual who wouldn’t have wanted their memorial bench calling more attention to itself than is appropriate in this type of setting, this may be a perfect style.
Granite or bronze (with space for engravings)
A basic granite or bronze cremation bench may very closely resemble a wide headstone. These benches often include space on the front for engravings, pictures, and similar features.
They also come in a variety of sizes. A small cremation bench might only have enough space to store a single average-sized urn. However, someone who wants to store multiple urns in one cremation bench can usually order the same style in a larger size.
These benches will typically feature doors that allow loved ones to access the urns inside of them should they ever wish.
Benches with accompanying features
The space for pictures and engravings on a cremation bench doesn’t need to be on the front “bench” section of the monument itself. Many cremation benches also come with attached headstone-like features that may offer more space for additional pictures or engravings.
Someone might choose this type of cremation bench if, for example, they wanted to engrave a long poem and a simple bench design didn’t provide them with enough space.
That said, this option is particularly common when families want to store their urns together in the same cremation bench. The accompanying headstone-shaped feature ensures there’s enough space to include the names of all family members whose cremains the bench might store.
Minimalist granite or bronze
A granite or bronze cremation bench doesn’t need to feature relatively large areas of space for engravings, pictures, or similar features. Like the basic stone cremation bench described earlier, you can still get a simple bronze or granite cremation bench consisting of a flat seating area and two columns for support.
This may be a more affordable option if you like the appearance of these materials but don’t have the budget for something more elaborate. Again, even if your budget isn’t a concern, you may still opt for this choice anyway if you believe the proper way to honor a loved one is to install a monument that easily fits in with its surroundings.
Any type of burial marker or memorial should represent the personality of the deceased. A modest person who didn’t ask for more attention than they thought necessary in life might feel a simple, minimalist cremation bench would be a perfect match for their character. Keep these factors in mind when deciding which style of cremation bench is right for your loved one.
The average cremation bench will resemble a bench in that it will be a relatively wide rectangular object with enough flat space on top that someone could theoretically sit on it.
However, some suppliers offer cremation benches that resemble furniture to an even greater degree. For example, there are cremation benches that, aside from clearly being stone, granite, or bronze, look very much like the kind of chair you might find in someone’s living room.
Additionally, although the average cremation bench usually won’t look like a traditional park bench, complete with a backing and ample seating space, some cremation benches come in this shape.
This may not be the type of design style that will appeal to everyone, particularly if the bench’s unique appearance prevents it from blending in with the other monuments in a cemetery. That said, it’s an option worth being aware of, as it illustrates how cremation benches come in many different styles and designs.
Heart bench (or similar options)
It’s important to keep in mind that the types of cremation benches listed here simply represent some of the more common options suppliers offer. Various designers and suppliers may create many other unique types of benches as well. You can also hire a designer to create a personalized cremation bench.
Sometimes, they include decorative features you may find appealing. For example, some designers offer cremation benches with the shape of a heart rising perfectly from the middle of the bench. They might also offer a similar option with different shapes, such as crosses.
You can also find cremation benches with statues of angels or other common cemetery statues adjacent to the bench itself.
What Message Should You Write on a Cremation Bench?
The message you include on a cremation bench can be very similar to the type of message you might include on a traditional headstone. The following are a few options that may serve as inspiration when you choose your own message:
A favorite quote or poem
Although the message you include on a cremation bench can be the same as what you'd have on a headstone, cremation benches offer a unique advantage. They're usually larger than headstones.
That means you have more flexibility when considering the type of message to include on a cremation bench. For example, if there is a poem or a somewhat lengthy quote you associate with your deceased loved one. At the same time, you might not be able to fit the entirety of it on a headstone, but a cremation bench may offer enough space for you.
A religious message
A popular style of cremation bench is one featuring a sculpture or statue of an angel sitting on the bench. Given the overtly religious nature of such a cremation bench, you might decide to include a Bible verse or other religious message on the cremation bench to accompany the angel.
‘In loving memory’
Don't stress if you have trouble coming up with an idea for a message to include on a cremation bench. The fact that you have a lot of space to work doesn't mean you need to use all that space.
Sometimes, it's best to keep a cremation bench's message simple. For example, you could inscribe "In loving memory" on a cremation bench along with the deceased's name. You can also include any information about who they were (such as "devoted husband" or "loving mother"). A basic message such as this allows the monument's beauty to speak for itself.
‘For a faithful companion’
Cremation benches are not exclusively for human ashes. If you have chosen to cremate a beloved pet, you might also want to celebrate their life with a cremation bench. If so, you could include a message such as this, emphasizing how a non-human friend could touch your heart deeply during their time here.
Cremation benches often hold the ashes of more than one person. Thus, the message on a cremation bench could touch on the idea of two people being with one another even after death.
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Where Can You Buy a Cremation Bench Online?
Numerous online retailers and platforms offer cremation benches for sale. Options to consider include the following:
Cremation Solutions is an online retailer offering items such as urns, jewelry, and cremation benches. The cremation benches this retailer sells come in a reasonably wide range of styles and materials. Some of the cremation benches here cost just over $1,000, while others are more expensive, costing closer to $7,000. Browse the selection to see if you find one that fits your budget and preferences.
Mohawk Valley Monuments is a company you might choose to order a cremation bench from if you want to customize your bench thoroughly. Instead of offering set prices for their cremation benches, the team at Mohawk Valley Monuments requests that customers get in touch with them directly to discuss their ideas.
This might not be an ideal option for someone who has a strict budget from which they are unwilling to deviate. However, if your budget is flexible and you want to make critical decisions about the bench, contact Mohawk Valley Monuments to learn more about what they offer.
Like Mohawk Valley Monuments, Rome Monuments does not offer cremation benches at set prices. This is another company that asks customers to reach out directly with their ideas so they can generate a quote.
It’s always wise to shop around when purchasing an important item like a cremation bench. Strongly consider approaching multiple suppliers to find a reputable one that can deliver the type of cremation bench you have in mind at a price you can afford.
Oakview Memorials is another option to keep when purchasing a cremation bench online. They earn a spot here thanks to the various styles of cremation benches they offer. Some are very simple, resembling traditional park benches. Others are more ornate, with large sculptures of angels seated in the middle of the bench platform.
Clear Stream Monuments offers a basic selection of cremation benches. This is a company you might order a cremation bench from if you wish to simplify the process. Instead of sorting through an overwhelming assortment of options, you can choose from a few popular styles. Then you can decide the color of the bench, how you would like to personalize it, and more.
Cremation Benches: An Option to Consider
Like the best memorial trees, best urns, best headstones, and best memorials in general, the right cremation bench can serve as the ideal storage space for a loved one’s cremains.
If you still haven’t decided what to do with someone’s cremains, this is an option worth thinking about.