A cross-shaped grave decorated with a wreath of flowers


Written by Jenny Goldade


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
  • Wreaths
  • 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!