Headstones are a relatively personal thing. They are designed to commemorate the person that has passed and keep their memory alive. That being said, though they are incredibly personal, some general rules of etiquette help make headstones easier to read and understand.
What Should Go on a Headstone
There are a few things that need to be put on a headstone in order to properly identify the person that is laid to rest under it. Generally, a headstone has the name of the deceased person, the date of birth, and the date of death. Those are the only things that are required, per se, on a tombstone.
You can put anything you want on a tombstone to commemorate the person who has passed away. You can put a favorite quote, a religious prayer, a recipe, a saying or a nickname even. You can even have pictures put on the tombstone that commemorate the person that has passed and the life that they lived. You can put nearly anything you want on the tombstone to help reflect the personality of the deceased.
Proper Headstone Layout
Though you can put anything you want on a headstone, there is a proper order or layout that is widely accepted by the community in terms of the name and dates that are put on the stone to help identify the grave. The layout that is widely accepted is the first name, the middle name or initial, and the last name or maiden name if applicable. If you have a nickname you can put that on the tombstone as well.
The date of birth is on the left while the date of death is on the right. The last name of the person that has passed is often on the headstone’s reverse so that anyone walking on either side of the headstone can identify information on either side. The reverse is also where most prayers, sayings, and any extras that make the stone very personal are placed.
The way you end up designing the headstone is very personal and you should take the time to consider how to honor the deceased. It can be a great experience to design a stone that means a lot and to really create something special. Though some pieces of information are generally required, you can find some great extras that make a stone something personal and truly special.