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An Introduction to Headstone Decorations

Headstone decorations can be placed into two categories:

  • Those usually allowed.
  • Those not usually allowed.

Keep in mind all cemeteries have regulations. Check with your cemetery to determine what is allowed. See this article related to headstone decorations: Headstone Accessories. Also see our headstone design article.

Usually Allowed

Cemetery Flowers

Flowers are probably used more than any other headstone decoration. The white lily and arum lily in particular are very popular because they have traditionally been used in funerals and have symbolic meaning. Poinsettias are popular around Christmas.

Other types of floral decorations:

  • Sympathy Bouquets
  • Sympathy Baskets
  • Floral Hearts
  • Floral Sprays (a small branch with flowers)
  • Floral Sheave (a bundle of cut stalks arranged with flowers and bound with twine)
  • Flowers in the shape of a toy or prized possession of the deceased.
See Headstone Decorations for examples of the above.

Memorial Banners

Memorial banners have been used to decorate headstones since Adam and Eve. In recent times banners are draped over headstones, flown like a flag at the cemetery and even pulled across the sky by a small plane (I'm not kidding). Apparently the sky is the limit when it comes to memorial banners. Anything you would like to say or show to memorialize your loved one is possible.

Solar Lighted Memorials

Solar lighted memorials are figures, statues, and crosses etc that are powered by batteries that are charged by solar "panels." The memorials give off a pleasant glow at night that is almost calming. Crosses and angels are the most popular of these decorations.

Grave Blankets

Grave blankets are used for decoration and to keep the snow off the grave during the winter months. Grave blankets are woven evergreen boughs, for example blue spruce, and are often decorated with ribbons and pinecones. They look much like an oversized wreath but they are not circular in shape. Grave blankets do give a more "comfortable" look and feel to a grave.

Usually Not Allowed

You should probably not plan on using the following:

  • Pinwheels
  • Large flags and banners
  • Candles in glass jars
  • Stuffed animals
  • Decorative fences

As always check your cemetery rules and regulations. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. If you live in the greater Philadelphia area or South Jersey or if your chosen cemetery is in this area we would be honored to be your headstone service company.


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