Decorating a loved one’s gravesite is a part of personalizing their memorial and remembering them.
It provides many families comfort knowing their loved one’s grave has fresh flowers or another beautiful tribute decoration. However, many families aren’t aware of the rules that come with grave decorations.
That’s why we created this grave decoration guide so families can worry less and focus on personalizing their loved one’s grave. Note, this is a general guide and families should speak with their cemetery to find out their specific rules.
Decorations That Are Typically Allowed
Although it depends on the cemetery, these are usually acceptable grave decorations:
- Fresh flowers
- Fake flowers — especially if in a monument vase
- Small flags during the holidays
- Wind chimes, crosses, or bird feeders — especially if in a monument vase
- Grave blankets
- Notes or photos — make sure to secure them down
Some cemeteries may ask that families remove items such as flags after the holidays. Cemetery staff usually removes flowers after they become wilted.
Decorations That Are Typically Not Allowed
Some cemeteries may not allow the following decorations:
- Fencing or any borders around the grave
- Glass ornaments, candles, or jars
- Decorations with stakes stuck into the ground
- Stuffed animals
- Free-standing decorations or vases
- Large flags or banners
- Light-up decorations
Some exceptions may be if it’s a holiday season or if the family agrees to remove the items before their maintenance care. Also, don’t plant any trees, bushes, or other plants by the gravesite without checking with the cemetery rules.
The reasons these items may not be allowed could be the following circumstances:
- The items interfere with the cemetery’s lawn care or other maintenance procedures.
- They may be inappropriate or distracting to other cemetery goers.
- They could cause a safety hazard to cemetery goers and maintenance staff.
Decorating Tips to Remember
The weather is another thing to consider when choosing gravesite decorations. Don’t decorate with any items that may be damaged by rain, wind, or other weather elements. Also, families shouldn’t decorate with any items they want to keep in case of removal for safety or maintenance reasons.
Overall, the best practice is to check with the cemetery beforehand to avoid any mishaps. They also should be able to inform you about their maintenance procedures and any special decoration rules around the holidays. Also, keep in mind possible weather conditions, other cemetery goers, and if the decorations have any sentimental value.
What tips do you have for personalizing gravesites? Share them with us in the comments!
I like how you said that the weather is another thing to consider when choosing gravesite decorations. I am designing a custom grave plaque for my aunt. Thanks for the tips for personalizing gravesites.
It’s good to know that flowers are typically allowed on headstones. My grandma passes away recently, and we want to decorate her headstone. We’ll be sure to look further into our options for bringing flowers to her grave in the future.
You made a great point about making sure that you choose a site that has weather that you can deal with when decorating. My mom asked me to design her headstone for her and to make sure that it is good for her. My husband and I will be sure to use these tips after we find a professional to order the marker from.
I thought it was interesting when you mentioned that stuffed animals are generally not allowed when decorating gravesites. I would imagine that this is because they might obstruct the view of the headstones and monuments. Speaking of headstones, I think it would be interesting to learn more about how the engraving process of granite works.
I totally agree with you when you said that the weather is another thing to consider when choosing gravesite decorations. My friend lost a relative and he is very sad because of that and now he told me that he would like to put something in his relative’s grave to honor him. I will recommend him to check for headstones and see if he likes that idea.
It’s good to know that flowers are some of the most common and acceptable gifts to leave on headstones. My brother has been telling me about how a friend of his passed away recently, and he wants to visit their grave. I’ll share this information with him so that he knows what he can leave.
Thank you for your tip to secure notes and photos when you’re leaving them on gravestones. My mother is trying to pre-plan her funeral and she needs to pick out her grave marker. I’ll be sure to help her find a professional business that does custom grave markers.
I really loved that you said that notes and photos will usually be allowed as decorations in a gravesite, and I need to keep this in mind. My mom recently passed away and my siblings and I are trying to find the right headstone monument to honor and remember her life, so this article has been very helpful. It helped me to read about the photos because it gave me the idea of adding a photo to the headstone itself, to make sure that she in immortalized and she is always there for future generations to see.
Thanks for explaining that cemeteries usually won’t allow gravesite decorations that interfere with their lawn care practices. My family and I are currently trying to choose a headstone engraving for my aunt who passed away in a car accident last week. I’m glad I read your article so I can avoid issues when I come to visit the gravesite in the future.
My husband passed away three years ago while I was 8 months pregnant. His brother and his family keep leaving tacky decorations knowing I(his wife who paid for the gravesite and tombstone) and my husbands papaw(whom pretty much raised him) are not okay with it. Every time I go I end up in tears because my husbands gravesite doesn’t look beautifully decorated but cluttered and trashed.