The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Cemetery: How to Find the Perfect Final Resting Place


If you have been tasked with choosing a cemetery property, you may be unsure where to begin.


There are endless options, and no two properties are exactly alike, so it’s wise to enter the process as informed as possible. Here are six essential considerations for choosing a cemetery that meets your specific needs.


A traditional public cemetery isn’t your only option.


Many types of cemeteries exist, each with its own unique atmosphere, rules, and regulations. Alternatives include memorial parks, green cemeteries, religious burial sites, and veteran’s cemeteries. Memorial parks offer a natural atmosphere that’s evocative of an outdoor sanctuary. A green cemetery might be a good fit if environmental concerns are a factor. Religious cemeteries are designed for believers of a certain faith, while veteran cemeteries are operated by the government and are reserved for military veterans and their families.


The burial place you choose may depend on a number of factors.


Common considerations include the price and availability of burial plots, ground maintenance and other applicable fees, the overall appeal of the cemetery and its location, religious considerations, and the departed’s military background.


Funeral homes and cemeteries have separate rules and regulations.


These firms often work together but are subject to different regulations. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires funeral homes to provide consumers with a price list upfront but they do not require cemeteries to do the same. Therefore, there may be some hidden costs in a cemetery burial that you may not be made aware of in the planning process. Be prepared to advocate for yourself and ask questions. A quality cemetery company will gladly offer the information you request and address any concerns.


The restrictions can vary widely.


Just as every cemetery has its own price sheet, they each have their own rules and requirements as well. For example, some cemeteries have rules about what types of headstones are allowed and how large they can be. Some only allow flat markers rather than headstones that protrude from the ground. Many cemeteries do not permit the scattering of ashes. In these properties, remains must be buried or placed in a columbarium niche. Many other types of rules vary by cemetery, such as those regarding the type and placement of flowers or decorations on the grave. It’s important to get a list of rules and regulations from any burial place you are considering and review them carefully.


Supplemental costs can add up quickly.


If you are opting for earth burial, you will need to consider the cost of a grave liner. The liner is a structure that sits in the ground and serves to protect the coffin. Additionally, you will need to pay for opening and closing the gravesite. The total cost will vary depending on how involved the ceremony will be, such as whether you want to be present as the casket is lowered into the ground. Future costs like perpetual care should also be factored in. Purchasing burial plots in advance offers the benefit of avoiding potential price increases down the road.


Location and convenience are paramount.


Where cemetery plots are situated and their accessibility are important considerations. They may be determined by your loved one’s last residence, where they grew up, a place they loved to visit, one that houses other departed family members, or one that is convenient for surviving family and friends to visit. Another consideration is the accessibility of the gravesite itself within the cemetery property. Hills and remote locations can make it challenging for the grieving to pay their respects, especially if they are elderly or infirmed. If having a specific location for burial plots is important to you, be sure to check the availability and the cemetery’s policy. In some cases, the exact location is based on availability at the time of the burial.


Here are some more helpful pointers:


  • You can purchase a headstone or grave marker from any vendor and the cemetery is required by law to accept it, as long as it conforms to their aesthetic standards.
  • Prepaying burial expenses can save you money in the long run.
  • You may want to consider purchasing additional plots for family members if you wish to be buried in proximity.
  • Before purchasing a gravesite, visit the cemetery to see the location of the plot and assess the standard of maintenance.


We hope you find this guide helpful as you sort through your options. If you need additional assistance choosing a cemetery property or wish to make funeral arrangements, please reach out to us anytime.


About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, grief counseling, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit

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