Epitaphs, or the brief phrase that is inscribed on a person's tombstone have been in use since the era of Ancient Greece. It's often hard for families and loved ones to choose the exact right words or know how and where to place their epitaph on a tombstone. If you're struggling to determine the right words for your loved one, use this guide to learn more about epitaphs.

What is the standard size for a grave marker?

Grave markers don't have a uniform allowable or standard size, but there are some general rules to follow when picking the size of a grave marker. To start, check with the cemetery and ask about restrictions. Rules can vary quite a bit between facilities.

The size of the grave marker can be as large or as small as you want it, as long as it meets these requirements. Make sure that it is large enough to include all of the information that you want on it. Keep in mind that this could include pictures, birth and death information, and the epitaph.

How do I choose a grave marker?

Choosing a grave marker is highly personal, and there are no "rules" about what to choose. To help you decide, start by thinking about what was most important to your loved one. Choose something that reflects who your family member was.

Don't fall into the trap of believing that a fancier grave marker will reflect better upon your loved one. Simple grave markers can be beautiful, and they're often a wonderful way to remember a person who was special to you. For many people who will be visiting the grave, the memories they have of this person and the epitaph will be much more important than the size or shape of the headstone.

Because of this, it is worth noting that if you do have the opportunity to choose your gravestone and epitaph before you pass, make your wishes known. This can be a very difficult decision for the people left behind when someone passes, and even having a small amount of guidance can help immeasurably.  Even providing some partial instructions, such as favorite religious verses or quotes for an epitaph can be incredibly helpful.

If you just don't know what to choose, ask your funeral director for assistance. These trained professionals have years of experience in helping families and friends through the process of selecting and designing a grave marker. They're experts at knowing what's appropriate and they can help you to select a grave marker that will honor your loved one for years to come.

What is the difference between a headstone and a marker?

In modern times, it is common for the terms headstone and grave marker to be used interchangeably. Traditionally, however, there is a difference between these two types of memorials.
Headstones have historically been raised or vertical markers placed at the head of a grave. They are almost always made of granite or a similar type of rock, and they are placed at a ninety-degree angle to the ground.  

A grave marker is technically any type of item that is used to mark the location of a grave. Historically, this could have been a wooden cross or even a small pile of rocks. The term could also be used to refer to a headstone. Essentially, while all headstones are grave markers, not all grave markers are headstones.

Today, however, grave markers are typically thought of as flat monuments or headstones. These types of markers are occasionally referred to as flat headstones because they lie on the ground at the head of the grave. Modern grave markers are not usually elevated, but instead are usually partially buried so that only the top part of the stone is visible. 

It is possible to include pictures, relevant information, and an epitaph on either type of marker. Both types of markers will come in a lot of different shapes and sizes.
Be sure to check the rules of your cometary before placing an order for your headstone or grave marker. In addition to rules about size and placement, there may also be restrictions on which type of grave markers are allowed in certain areas. 

Which side of the man is the wife buried on?

As people become immersed in the process of planning their grave markers, especially when making long term arrangements for family groups. It's not uncommon to have a lot of questions about how family members should be placed or how a shared headstone should be inscribed.  

Because it can be difficult to know what is proper, don't hesitate to consult with your funeral director. These professionals have years of experience planning memorial services and burials. There are a lot of small rules and customs regarding end-of-life arrangements, and your funeral director can gently direct and guide you through the planning process.

For example, few people realize that it is customary for a wife to be buried on her husband's right side. The custom is believed to be a reflection of the couple's wedding day, when brides would typically stand to the right of the groom.  Shared headstones typically display information on both members of a couple, but it's up to personal preference if they would like to share an epitaph.
Of course, in today's society it's perfectly permissible to arrange your memorial, headstone, epitaph, and any other final arrangements to match the wishes of you and your loved ones. If you're looking for help with any part of the planning process, give us a call.