Ash Scattering Services


In addition to the more traditional avenues of cremation burial or preservation in a columbarium, the scattering of ashes is a meaningful and time-honored means of memorializing a loved one after cremation.

There are several methods for the release of ashes that can be personalized in any number of ways. Consider your choices carefully; once the ashes are scattered they are gone forever, unless you keep a portion of the remains for remembrance or as part of a keepsake.


There are many reasons why a family may choose to do an ash scattering. A few of the most common reasons are wanting to be environmentally friendly, not identifying with a specific religion, wanting a more personalized sendoff, and being connected to a specific location.


Cremation ashes may be scattered personally or through a service depending on the method of dispersal. However the scattering takes place, it is important to cast the ashes downwind to keep the remains from blowing onto your party. Cremation ashes are not in any way a health risk, but some may find the contact disturbing or disrespectful.

The ashes will consist of dense, sand-like matter and a few bone fragments that will likely fall to the ground quickly, but some will remain airborne in the form of a whitish-gray cloud upon dispersal. There are a variety of creative options for how and where the ashes are scattered. Often, cremated remains are dispersed at a place that had personal or philosophical significance to the deceased.

It can be a favorite destination such as a beach, forest or meadow; or someplace that reflects the person's everyday life such as a park, golf course or even their own home. Keep in mind when choosing a location that there are laws governing the scattering of cremation remains. These laws vary from state to state and will affect how and where the ashes can be scattered, and whether you will need a permit to do so.


You should scatter your loved one’s ashes somewhere that reminds you of them or that they liked to visit. However, there are several rules regarding where you can and cannot scatter ashes. For the most part, you can scatter ashes in places that aren’t private property and on your own property. But you may need a permit, and there are certain rules for different areas, so we’ll go over a few general guidelines: 

  • If someone else owns the land, you need written permission to scatter the ashes there.
  • Check with your local government before scattering ashes in public parks or other public locations.
  • Most U.S. National Parks allow you to scatter ashes, but you need a permit first.
  • You can ask permission to scatter ashes in places such as sports arenas and amusement parks, but they often decline these requests.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows ash scatterings in oceans from a plane or boat. However, you must be at least three nautical miles from the shore and need to contact the EPA within 30 days.

Overall, use your best judgment, ask permission when necessary, and be respectful when scattering ashes. If you’re unsure, our staff is happy to help you find a legal and meaningful ash scattering location.



Depending on the ash scattering method, some ceremony types may be better suited than others. For example, with a casting, you may choose to have a formal ceremony with the releasing of wildflower seeds, biodegradable paper lanterns, or another environmentally friendly option in addition to your loved one’s ashes. Or, if you do a water ash scattering, you can still hold a releasing ceremony with one of the objects mentioned above where everyone can be present. The ceremony agenda can include readings, songs, eulogies, or other personalized elements.


The most common ash scattering methods are casting, trenching, water, and raking. We’ll discuss each of these ash scattering ideas in more detail below.



This is the most typical ash scattering method where the ashes are released into the wind and dispersed across an area of land or water. It’s a symbolic way to say goodbye to your loved one while honoring their memory. It also allows them to explore the special place you chose for the ash scattering. When doing this, make sure you know the wind direction and release the ashes downwind.



For trenching, you dig a trench or hole in the ground and scatter the ashes inside. Then, your family can cover the hole together. Oftentimes, families dig a significant shape, such as a heart or their loved one’s initials. As for the location, it can be under a tree, in a flower bed, or another meaningful location. Another popular form of trenching is a ringing ceremony where a trench is dug in a circle around a tree or something else of significance. Or, you can put a meaningful object in the center of the circle, such as a candle, photo, or memento.



A water ash scattering is exactly what it sounds like; it’s when you scatter the ashes across a body of water. Typically, you place the ashes inside a water-soluble urn that’s placed in the water. Then, the urn begins to dissolve after a few minutes and slowly release the ashes.

Bio degradable urns are available here. This is a great option for families with our proximity to the finger lakes.


Other Unique Sendoffs

If you’re looking for a more unique sendoff to show off your loved one’s personality, then one of these options may be right for you. You can incorporate your loved one's ashes into fireworks, eternal reefs, and other unique tributes. Although our funeral home may or may not have the resources available to assist with these types of ash scatterings, there are many companies throughout the U.S. that specialize in these types of unique sendoffs.



Keepsake Urns

Cremation ashes don't have to be scattered all in one place. If you divide the remains into several small containers you can scatter the ashes wherever you see fit. "Small keepsake" urns are available in many sizes and can be purchased at White Oak Cremation.

Cremation Fine Jewelry by Richards West, East Rochester


“When someone you love becomes a memory, cremation fine jewelry is the most memorable way to commemorate your loved one’s life and keep them close to your heart–always and forever.” At White Oak Cremation we work with Richard West Jewelers in East Rochester, NY . There are many options of types of jewelry. Each handcrafted piece can hold a visible remembrance with special meaning such as a lock of hair, grains of sand, a flower petal or the dirt from a favorite garden. A Precious Vessel can also safely and securely hold the cremains of a loved one who has passed on. Call us at (585) 482-5272 for further details and prices.

White Oak Cremation | (585) 482-5272
495 N Winton Road, Rochester, NY

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