If you opt for burial or want ashes buried, you can usually erect a memorial headstone or gravestone.
If you have a woodland burial that’s not likely to be the case but you may be able to put up a small memorial plaque nearby.
In the UK, Councils manage burial grounds and have guidelines on the size, shape, material and format of headstones. Commonly, your Council will have a register of local, approved memorial masons (often called ‘monumental sculptors’) who will provide and erect a headstone and know the local rules. Headstones are usually made of a long-lasting natural stone: eg granite or marble and usually stand between 2 and 5 feet high. All graves and headstones are a matter of public record. It’s the family’s responsibility to maintain a monument.
See Headstone Guide for more details.
The amount of space available for headstones and memorials all over the world is being tested as the population grows – in number and in the super-size-me scale of some individuals. Hong Kong has run out of space: first for burials and now for storage places for urns and ashes. To cope with this, some memorial gardens now offer the chance to go digital: an outdoor touch screen that can call up photos and information to remember a person. In the US, it’s possible to have a barcode added to a gravestone that can be scanned by a smartphone to provide more background information on the deceased.
See our Marketplace for suppliers.
John Harrod, friend of Fling, shares his expertise at GravestonesHQ.
See others’ epitaphs to inspire thinking.
Read this feature about stone cutter Fergus Wessel to appreciate the art of etching letters in stone.