Every cemetery has its own rules and regulations, but few people grasp that headstones are subject to certain rules as well. Before you can place a gravestone above the final resting place of a loved one, it is important that you check with cemetery management to learn more about limitations in material, size, and type of headstone. In this guide, we will explain what kind of questions to ask when speaking to the appropriate personnel and review the paperwork you may need, your rights as a consumer, as well as any myths or misconceptions.
Questions to Ask the Funeral Home or Director
Public cemeteries are typically managed by a state, county, or municipality, but private cemeteries are often cleaned and maintained by individuals, nonprofit organizations, and religious institutions. Depending on the type of cemetery, there are important questions to ask regarding the rules and regulations of cemetery headstones.
- What type of gravestones are allowed? Companion and upright headstones are monuments that indicate the name, birth, and death records of the deceased. Grave markers are either flat, bevel, or slanted. Grave ledgers are used to cover the entire burial site. Your cemetery may restrict the use of some markers based on space.
- Which headstone sizes are allowed? Standard sizes for single graves are usually 24 by 12, 28 by 16, or 18 by 24 inches. Standard sizes for companion graves are usually 36 by 18 inches or 44 by 14 inches. Make sure the size of your headstone is within the range that your cemetery allows. What types of materials are allowed? Bronze and granite are two of the most common materials used to make headstones. Both materials are easy to maintain and will last for centuries.
- What granite colors are allowed? Though uncommon, some cemeteries place restrictions on the granite color you can use for a headstone or the base of a bronze grave marker. Some of the common colors allowed include black, gray, pink, and red, but you should confirm with your funeral provider before deciding to purchase.
- Are flower vases allowed? Some headstones come with bronze or granite flower vases, but you should always double check with your cemetery before making a final decision.
- Are photo memorials allowed? Many people choose to add porcelain photographs of their loved ones, but the cemetery you use may not permit the use of porcelain or other breakable materials due to safety concerns or risk of damage from grounds keeping. These restrictions make the cemetery safe for everyone who comes to visit.
Are there any other restrictions? Some cemeteries regulate the type of headstone edging you can select, with a preference for curved edges to preserve your headstone and keep it safe from lawn mowing equipment.
Rules and Regulations for Cemetery Headstones
As a rule, most cemeteries ask that headstones be made of the highest quality standard bronze or granite, except in areas of the cemetery where all monuments must be made of granite. You might also be asked to provide sketches that define the dimensions, material content, and lettering of your headstone before it is approved. You must comply with all the rules and regulations of your chosen cemetery, especially if you decide to purchase your headstone from an outside vendor. The funeral home or director will need a permit or authorization signed by the lot owner or the next of kin. If the cemetery requires completed paperwork by the monument dealer or manufacturer, it is important to get it completed as quickly as possible. Contrary to popular belief, cemeteries cannot prevent you from choosing a product made by an outside vendor. Many try to discourage outside purchases by imposing installation fees, but this is illegal according to the Federal Trade Commission and should be reported accordingly.
We hope that this information teaches you more about the headstone rules and regulations you may encounter. If you have any questions about this guide or the product selection at Legacy Headstones, please contact us to learn more.