Planning A Beautiful Service

When my grandmother passed away, I was astonished to learn that I had been named the executor of her estate. After splitting up her belongings amongst my aunts and uncles, I turned my attention to planning her funeral. I didn't know where to start. Fortunately, I was able to find an excellent funeral home that understood how to help people plan beautiful memorial services. It was amazing to go through the process of planning the music, the speakers, and even the set-up of the room. This blog is all about planning gorgeous memorial services for the people that you love so that you aren't left grappling with difficult decisions.

Choosing A Headstone For Your Recently Deceased Loved One


When it's time to find an appropriate memorial for your loved one, you'll be faced with a number of materials, sizes and shapes. The headstone may be unique, to match the personality of the deceased, or may have to be a style consistent with the cemetery regulations. Here is how to begin your search for the perfect headstone and the options you'll encounter.

Understand the Cemetery Restrictions

Your first step is to get a copy of the headstone restrictions from the cemetery. They will specify such items as:

  • materials allowed for the gravestones
  • shapes and sizes allowed
  • inscriptions allowed

The cemetery may be open to all types of headstones, or it may require adherence to strict guidelines. Some cemeteries may only allow a rectangular slab placed horizontally on the grave site so none of the memorials stand upright. Once you understand the restrictions, you can begin looking for the desired headstone material.

Common Memorial Materials

Marble - This has been a traditional memorial material for decades. It comes in a variety of colors and can be carved into a number of standard shapes, such as squares and rectangles. Over time, weather can wear down marble and make the inscriptions difficult to read, although this will take several years to notice.

Granite - This has become a popular material because of its durability and resistance to weather. It can also be carved into standard shapes. The stone can be polished to a shine or left with its matte appearance.

Bronze - This is a favorite metal used in headstones. The bronze is poured into molds so it can be used to create shapes challenging to do with stone. Bronze needs to be polished periodically to retain a shine.

Concrete - This material is also poured into molds to create the desired shape. Concrete can be tinted and textured to look like other stone material and even wood.

Glass - This material can also be cast into molds to create unique shapes. Inscriptions are etched into the glass. The glass can be tinted to create a variety of colors or left transparent.

Typical Memorial Shapes and Placement

Slab - This style of memorial is a flat square or rectangular marker which lies on the ground with the inscription facing up. One can only read the inscription when standing over the marker.

Vertical - This is a headstone which sits upright on the grave site. One can read the inscriptions from several feet away when passing through the cemetery. Shapes could vary and include squares, rectangles, circles, ovals and heart-shapes.

Wedge - This memorial is often a square or rectangle erected vertically where the base is wider than the top. This provides more stability than the standard vertical headstone. This style resists being knocked over by accident or an act of vandalism.

Memorial Accessories  

You can also add features to the memorial to enhance its appearance and functionality. These include:

  • vases mounted into the base of the memorial for flowers
  • frames to hold photos of the loved one
  • statuary attached to the base or the headstone itself
  • plaques which include a QR (quick response) code which, when accessed by a smartphone, take the visitor to a memorial website or play a recorded message by or about the loved one

Click here to learn more about gravestones.


17 May 2016