The Role of Cremation Columbarium in Modern Funeral Practices


In the ever-evolving landscape of funeral practices, cremation columbaria have emerged as specialized structures that play a pivotal role in providing a dignified and personalized resting place for cremated remains. This newer Western trend towards cremation is proving to influence a transition in cemetery landscapes. Columbaria have emerged as specialized structures that play a vital role in today’s funeral practices. This article aims to explore the columbarium’s significance, shedding light on their history, design intricacies, and the expertise of in providing churches, institutions, families, and cemeteries with dignified and personalized resting places for cremated remains. 

A Glimpse into History


The practice of cremation began in Buddhist culture across Asia. The word columbarium comes from the ancient Roman word “columba” meaning doves coves or dove houses which were small niches designed for the storage of birds. One of the first “modern” cremation columbarium structures was built in 1836 in London England, at the iconic Highgate Cemetery. This historical landmark highlighted a significant departure from traditional burial practices at the time. It provided a unique space for the interment of cremated remains that were stacked within an encased structure. Over time, this innovative approach to cremation, interment, and memorialization made its way to North America. Today, cremation columbaria are prevalent across the continent, serving as both a place of interment and a lasting memorial. 

A Place of Interment and Memorialization  

Cremation columbaria are unique in that they seamlessly blend the role of a final resting place with that of a monument. Each niche within a columbarium serves as an individual resting place for urns containing cremated remains. However, these structures not only transcend mere storage; they are thoughtfully designed to provide a space for personalization and remembrance on the granite shutter door as well. The columbarium’s shutters can be either inscribed and adorned with porcelain photographs, bronze appliques or with a specifically designed bronze plaque. At some funeral services, the internal niche space can also sometimes be adorned with photos, letters, relics, or gifts from those they love. Some columbarium niches have reliquary ledges that are designed to set flowers or gifts from family and friends. 


Below is an example of what a reliquary ledge looks like on a columbarium.  


Niche Personalization Through Inscriptions  

What distinguishes cremation columbaria apart from each other is their design, which typically includes individual niches enclosed with a granite shutter. These shutters not only serve a functional purpose by securely holding cremation urns, but they can also offer a canvas for personalization. Where permitted, families can choose to inscribe the shutter with the name, dates, and meaningful messages or epitaphs, adding a deeply personal touch to the memorial. This level of customization ensures that each niche tells a unique story and reflects the personality of the departed.  


Below is an example of a columbarium niche template that can fit two names including birth and death dates with room for two short lines in the epitaph and a vase. 



Couples or Family Members Resting in Peace Together  

In recognition of the deep bonds shared by couples, some cremation columbarium manufacturers design niches specifically for double urn interment. These niches provide a space for the simultaneous interment of the remains of both partners, and even multiple family members allowing them to rest in peace together for eternity. This thoughtful design is a testament to the enduring love and connection between couples.  


At we understand this need for companion interment and a need to allow enough space for 2 upright urns to be set inside. As industry leaders, we have made 12” x 12” x 16” deep niche our standard niche size. This extra depth will allow for 2 urns to be set in place.

For families who wish to be interred together, larger family niches can be built within large commercial columbaria projects. At ColumbariumUSA we have the design capability to create customized larger family niche sizes within our standard columbaria models. In addition, families can purchase custom family columbaria products that can be set along pathways, newly purchased plots, or within a cemetery garden landscape.  


family niches

FAQs About Cremation Columbaria  


Why should I consider a cremation columbarium for my loved one’s final resting place?  

Cremation columbaria plays a crucial role in modern funeral practices by providing a dignified and personalized resting place for cremated remains. Many cemeteries today are developing large scale columbarium gardens to accommodate an above ground interment option for families seeking an alternative to in-ground burial. The Columbarium niche serves as both a memorial and a place of interment, providing families to remember and honor their loved ones in a dignified setting.

How can I personalize a cremation columbarium niche?  

Some cemeteries will allow for personalized text, artwork, and porcelain photography on the granite shutter. Cremation columbarium niches can be personalized through inscriptions on the niche’s granite shutter door or (depending on the cemetery regulations) personalized bronze niche plaques or vases can be added. The amount of personalization will depend on the Cemetery’s vision for the overall design aesthetic and whether a formalized template has already been created. Simply ask your cemetery provider how much detail can be added to the granite niche fronts. Families will need to provide the names, and birth and death dates, and in some cases, they may be allowed to add meaningful messages or epitaphs that reflect the life and personality of the departed, creating a deeply personal and lasting tribute.  


Why choose for cremation columbaria? stands as a leading provider of cremation columbaria, offering unparalleled expertise and a commitment to customer satisfaction. With over 25 years of experience in columbarium design, manufacturing, and installation across the continent, our team can ensure that your vision for a personalized and dignified resting place for families becomes a reality.  



In summary, cremation columbaria have become integral to modern funeral practices, offering a dignified and personalized above ground solution for the interment of cremated remains. These structures honor the memory of loved ones and provide families with a beautiful place for remembrance. Whether you are seeking to develop a site for a future columbarium garden, or you are contemplating a family columbarium for your loved one’s final resting place, is here to assist you every step of the way.  

Take Action Today: Whether you are seeking to understand cremation columbaria or are ready to explore this option for your community or family, is here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us to Get Started, Learn More, call today, or Get a Quote. Your path to a dignified and personalized resting place begins with a choice, and we are here to assist you in making that choice a reality.