How to Choose a Burial Site & Final Resting Place

How to Choose a Burial Site

When you pass away, do you have a plan for how you want to be laid to rest?

Do you know what your partner wants?

What about your closest family members, who may have entrusted you with choosing a resting place for them? 

Ideally, it’s best to choose a burial site in advance; deaths can happen suddenly, and leave families wondering what their loved one would have wanted.

Would they prefer a burial, or a cremation? What did they have in mind? 

Each option has its own pros and cons, and choices can be difficult to make during a time where everything seems overwhelming and there are so many arrangements to consider. 

Whether you’re planning for yourself in advance or trying to decide between options for a loved one who has recently passed away, there are many places a body may be laid to rest. Let’s take a look at the available options. 

Cremation and Burials 

The major burial site choices come down to whether you choose to be cremated or buried. You have plenty of options, but first let’s take a look at the pros and cons of cremation versus burial. 


Cremation involves a body being incinerated and turned to ash after death. When a deceased person is cremated, their ashes may be given to the family or entombed. A person can be cremated either before or after an open-casket funeral service. 

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of cremation, along with a viewing and funeral service, was $5,150 in 2019. This cost didn’t include service fees or other miscellaneous related expenses. 

Pros and Cons of Cremation 

Cremation is less expensive than burial and may help families to feel as though they’re not obligated to live near the area where a body is buried. Your family may keep your ashes if they wish to, or scatter them in your favorite place.

Generally speaking, cremation also has a low environmental impact. 

However, for some individuals and families, the idea of cremation is incredibly difficult to bear, and they would prefer a burial for closure and a place to visit (although burial is an option with cremation, which we’ll explain below). Additionally, some spiritual practices and religious beliefs prohibit cremation. 


When a body is buried, it remains intact. The deceased person is often embalmed (though this is not always the case) and buried either in a burial vault above or below ground. Some religions prohibit cremation, requiring that believers choose burial.

The average cost of a burial, plus viewing and funeral service, was $7,640. With a burial vault included, the price increased to $9,135. This price is significantly higher than cremation, and does not include additional fees or expenses associated with the funeral or burial. 

how to choose a burial site

Pros and Cons of Burial 

Burial gives loved ones a place to visit long after a person’s death.

People of some faiths also believe that burial is more respectful for the body, so choosing to be buried may give your family more peace of mind.

However, burial isn’t always eco-friendly. There are now options to avoid embalming the body, which can help with this.

Burying a body after a funeral service is also more expensive than cremation. 

Determining Where to Rest 

Burial and cremation each have multiple options when it comes to choosing a burial site. Let’s take a look at what those are.

Burial in an Traditional Cemetery or Aboveground Vault

Your casket may be buried in a traditional cemetery vault below ground, or in a mausoleum above ground. This gives your loved ones a physical location they can visit when they’re thinking of you. Placing a memorial bench near a gravesite can give loved ones a place to rest when they visit the cemetery.

how to choose a burial site

Store Ashes in a Columbarium 

A columbarium, also known as a cemetery niche, is a vault where a cremated person’s ashes may be buried. This, like a grave site, gives loved ones a place to visit.

Keep Ashes in an Urn or Vault

Cremated remains may be kept in an urn or miniature vault and kept with one or more members of the family. A family may choose to keep all a loved one’s ashes in one container, with one family member. Or, they may choose to distribute the ashes among several members of the family. 

There are plenty of types of urns to consider, too, including options like our wind chime urns.

wind chime urn  

Scatter Ashes 

If you choose to be cremated, you may want your ashes to be scattered in a significant place. Your loved ones might take your ashes to a favorite travel destination.

Alternatively, you may wish to have your ashes scattered on your own land. If you choose this option, your loved ones may choose to place a memorial bench or marker in the yard in your memory.

Turn Ashes Into a Tree

An excellent, eco-friendly option is to turn cremated remains into a tree. Services such as The Living Urn can assist your family with the process. 

Donate Your Body to Science

Some individuals choose to donate their body to science after death, in order to contribute to future medical and scientific advancement. It’s possible to have a traditional viewing and funeral prior to body donation. In the end, this practice reduces overall funeral and burial costs.

Choosing What’s Right for You 

How do you know what resting place is right for you? Should you choose cremation or burial? It really comes down to your personal beliefs, your comfort level, and what your living family members might want. Consider what you (or your loved one) might prefer, and take into account your family’s beliefs and preferences, as well.

What would be most meaningful to you, or to the person who passed away? What kind of budget will your family have for your final expenses? What other factors might come into play? Take your time as you consider your options before you make a final decision.

Final Thoughts 

Choosing a burial site is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your family after you’ve passed away. There are many factors to consider when it comes to selecting your burial site, including whether a traditional burial or cremation is right for you. Once you’ve decided which is best, you have a variety of options to choose from, in terms of where your remains are laid to rest. 

Comfort Company provides memorial urns, benches, and gifts to remember loved ones after they’ve passed away. Click here to shop our selection of gifts and memorial items.