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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.