Plan a Burial

When you need to plan a burial, we are here to assist you. If you are planning a burial for someone who already has rights of interment in a lot or grave at Mount Auburn, please continue reading. If you first need to purchase burial space, please visit our Burial Space page to learn more about our current offerings.    

The Cemetery’s role in the burial process depends on the type of burial but generally will include opening the grave, crypt or niche, handling the casket or other container, use of the lowering device (for casket burials), greens, reseeding of grass or replacement groundcover following the burial, removal of flowers, and the permanent recording of the burial in our records.

Mount Auburn schedules burials Monday through Saturday. We do not offer Sunday burials.

Scheduling A Casket or Natural Burial

If you are looking to schedule a traditional earth burial, outdoor crypt entombment, or a natural burial at Mount Auburn, please contact a local Funeral Home. A funeral director is required to be present for all casket and natural burials. They assist with preparation of the death certificate, selecting the casket, arranging necessary transportation, and will schedule the burial service with the Cemetery.  

At Mount Auburn, conventional caskets placed in the ground must be enclosed in an approved container to prevent future collapse of the grave. In some areas a container has already been pre-installed. When necessary, a container may be purchased from the Cemetery or may be supplied by the funeral home.

Scheduling A Cremated Remains Burial

Cremated Remains Burials can be arranged by a funeral director, family member, or friend. A funeral director is not required to be present for cremated remains burials. To schedule a burial without assistance from a funeral director, please follow the steps outlined below.

For earth burials, the urn holding the remains should not exceed 12” x 12” x 18” in size. In some burial locations, including Spruce Knoll and Hazel Path, cremated remains are poured directly in the earth and cannot be scheduled during winter months. For niche inurnments additional size restrictions will apply.

1. Collect Paperwork

Before you schedule the burial, please make sure you have all required documents:

  • Original Cremation Certificate*
  • Copy of Death Certificate*
  • Signed Interment Order

*A Cremation Certificate and Death Certificate are not required if the cremation took place at Mount Auburn.

2. Reserve A Date and Time

Contact us to reserve a date and time for the burial. One of our Family Services Event Coordinators will help you with the event booking and will answer any questions you have pertaining to the burial arrangements. 

The Coordinator can also assist you with other event services, ranging from an expanded graveside gathering to a memorial service or reception in one of our historic chapels.

You can reach a Family Services Event Coordinator by calling 617-607-1929 or emailing

3. Confirm Event Details

After reserving a date for the burial with our office, complete our Cremation Burial Service Details Form. Our staff will finalize your event booking upon receipt of this form.

Burial Service Fees

Standard burial services include 30 minutes at the graveside and the presence of a Cemetery Representative. Factors including the type of burial and the scheduled date and time for the event will determine the final cost of a burial service. The most common burial fees are outlined below:

Standard Fees for Casket & Natural Burials

  • Grave Opening: $2,600
  • Crypt Opening: $2,400 - $3,100
  • Mausoleum Opening: $3,750
  • Additional Fees:
    • Liner (when required): $1,300
    • Saturday burial fee: $1,600
    • Overtime fees: $800 per hour
    • Extra Deep: $600

Overtime fees apply to any casket or natural burial scheduled after 2:30 PM Monday - Friday or after 12:30 PM on Saturday.

A $200 discount is applied to any casket or natural burial that is scheduled between 9:00 AM and 10:30AM Monday through Friday.

Standard Fees for Cremation Burials

  • Grave or Outdoor Niche Opening: $1,900
  • Indoor Niche Opening: $1,600
  • Additional Fees:
    • Saturday Burial: $750
    • Overtime Fees (M-F): $700 per hour

Mount Auburn offers a $500 discount on any weekday cremation burial scheduled between 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM or between 2:00 and 2:30 PM. The Cemetery also applies a $300 discount to burial where the cremation took place at Mount Auburn's Crematory.

Additional Fees

See our current schedule of Fees for additional common service fees.

What happens on the day of burial?

Arrival at the Cemetery

Our staff will be at the Entrance Gate 15 minutes before the burial to assist guests as they arrive. We ask that guests plan to arrive no more than 15 minutes before the service.

If you are working with a Funeral Home, please contact them directly to inquire about a procession being led to the Cemetery.

Mount Auburn staff will instruct guests on where to park and wait until all attendees arrive. Public Restrooms are available next to Story Chapel near the Entrance Gate.

When all guests have arrived, a Mount Auburn Cemetery staff member will escort the group to the gravesite in procession.

At the Grave: Conventional and Natural Burials

A lowering device will be set up around all edges of the grave. This device will be removed prior to closing the grave.

Pall bearers will transfer the shrouded body or casket to a rolling bier. While on the bier, family and friends may escort the body by walking alongside the bier as it rolls. Cemetery staff will transfer the body from the bier to the lowering device once at the grave.

Mount Auburn allows a family member or friend to turn the handle that begins the lowering process.

Families may place single stem flowers in the grave and if requested, soil, shovels and spades will be provided allowing the family and friends to place soil over the casket or shroud.

In some locations a lowering device is not able to be placed over the grave. In these rare cases, we will place the casket next to the open grave and then will use alternate equipment to lower the casket into the grave once the service concludes. 

At the Grave: Cremated Remains Burials

A small table is set up at the grave to display the urn during the graveside service. The party in possession of the cremated remains will place them on the urn table.

A small green decorative board covers the grave until the actual interment of the remains.

The Cemetery Interment Representative will initiate and carry out the burial according to the Cremation Burial Service Details questionnaire submitted in advance of the service.

Additional Guidelines for Cremated Remains Burials

To ensure proper chain of custody, Mount Auburn follows strict protocols with cremated remains burials:

  • If the family (or funeral director) has the cremated remains, the family (or funeral director) will transport the remains to the grave.
  • If Mount Auburn has the cremated remains, the staff will carry the remains to the grave.
  • If Mount Auburn has the cremated remains and the family wants to transport the remains to the grave, please contact the office in advance. The Cemetery can accommodate these requests following additional set protocols.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we scatter cremated remains at Mount Auburn Cemetery?

No, we do not permit the scattering of cremated remains on Cemetery grounds. If you are interested in burying cremated remains, please review our available burial spaces options.

Do you allow pets to be buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery?

No, we do not permit the burial of any pet on Cemetery grounds.

Who signs the interment order?

The interment order requires 2 signatures.

  • The first signature required is the Legal Custodian of the decedent which most commonly is a spouse. If there is no living spouse, then a parent or adult child will perform the role as legal custodian.
  • The second signature required is the Authorizing Owner for the grave or lot where the interment is taking place. The Authorizing Owner is the original owner of the grave or a direct heir of the original owner if the original owner is no longer living.

Can the same person sign as legal custodian and authorizing owner?

Yes, in some cases the legal custodian is the authorizing owner. Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Do I need to involve a Funeral Home?

For casket and natural burials, a Funeral Director is required. For cremated remains burials, the presence of a Funeral Director is voluntary.

When can I schedule a burial?

Burials can be scheduled Monday-Saturday except on Cemetery-observed holidays when we do not schedule services.

Can I schedule a burial for cremated remains in advance of the cremation?

No, we recommend waiting until the cremation has taken place to schedule the burial.

Do you offer livestreaming for guests who cannot attend?

Yes, Mount Auburn offers livestreaming services for an additional fee. Please contact a Family Services Event Coordinator for more details.

Do you schedule an officiant?

No, the Cemetery does not have any onsite officiant or clergy to perform a graveside ceremony. You are welcome to bring an officiant in of your choosing.

Can we play music during the graveside ceremony?

Yes, live or recorded music is permitted to be played at the graveside. Any audio equipment set up at the grave must be approved in advance by cemetery staff. We do offer a microphone and speaker option with Bluetooth capabilities for an additional fee.

Who do I contact with additional questions?

Please contact our office by emailing if you have additional questions regarding burial services at Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Burial Space

Burial Space

Learn more about our current offerings for casket, cremation, and natural burial space.

Burial Space

Host An Event

Host An Event

Our Family Services Event Coordinators can help you plan a memorial gathering.

Host An Event

Cremation Services

Cremation Services

Mount Auburn’s on-site Crematory offers additional end-of-life services for those choosing cremation.