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Building the Perfect Headstone For Your Loved One
By Joseph Mccabe

Purchasing a headstone for a loved one who has recently passed can be a daunting task especially given the nature of this type of purchase and the lack of experience one may have. Where does one go to find more information about buying a headstone and designing one? Well look no further because herein lies the answers to these and more questions.

What Will the Cemetery Allow?

STOP! Before reading anything else, at least read this section before purchasing a headstone. You don't want to get stuck with a headstone the cemetery will not accept because the correct procedures were not followed.

Cemeteries typically regulate the kind of headstones or monuments allowed in their cemetery by a set of rules and regulations. It is within these rules that a cemetery will stipulate the particulars of the gravestone such as:

Type of grave headstone allowed - upright headstone, flat grave marker, Stone grave marker, cremation marker, etc.
The size of the headstone - usually followed by the minimum and maximum sizes allowed
Headstone coloring - granite colors allowed, Stone marker coloring
Vase option - whether or not a vase is allowed and what type of materials are required

Additionally the cemetery may require a document to be submitted such as a 'Memorialization Authorization' form in which the lot owner authorizes the placement of a memorial headstone on the grave space. Once you know what the cemetery will allow you are ready to proceed to shopping around.

Types of Cemetery Headstones Available

There are many styles of headstones available, but they typically fall into a 4 major groups. Within these groups are several specific styles of grave headstones.

Upright headstones - This type of headstone consists of an upright monument tablet that rests on a base normally made of granite.

Slant markers - Shaped like a wedge with the narrow edge pointing upward, these markers can be purchased with or without a granite base that sets under the marker.

Flat grave markers - Usually made from granite or marble these set flush with the ground and are an economical choice because of their small size.

Flat Stone grave markers - Consisting of a Stone Upright mounted to a granite base (in most cases), Stone grave markers are required by many of the modern memorial park cemeteries in the country.

Finding the Best Headstone Prices

When shopping around for the best price on a cemetery headstone make sure you have the exact particulars for the headstone you want to by so you can compare apples with apples. You will want to have:

The size of the headstone and all of its components
The granite color, example colors: Sunset Red, Dakota Mahogany, Georgia Gray, Barre Gray, etc.
The finish of the headstone, example finish terms: Polish 2, polish 5, all steeled, balance rock pitch, penciled edges, etc.
The design and exact lettering, if possible have a drawing of the design and layout you want for the headstone
Any other particular items such as vases, a statue or a ceramic picture

Having these exact details will enable you to accurately compare prices between different companies.

Here are a few tips to consider when seeking the best price.

Cemeteries typically have the highest prices for grave headstones
Monument dealers usually have the best selection and widest variety of offerings
Internet retailers commonly have the best prices for headstones

Personalizing the Memorial Headstone

Once you have found the right dealer and type of headstone to buy, now comes the task of personalizing it with your loved one's information. Aside from the individual's name and life dates you may want to consider the following:

Headstone designs and artwork
An epitaph for the headstone
Emblems or symbols which will accent the headstone design
Adding a ceramic portrait in the likeness of your loved one

Headstone Accessories

Some cemeteries allow accessories to be added to a headstone such as a ceramic picture or the addition of a flower vase. If the grave headstone is in a veteran's section the cemetery may allow a flag holder which will accommodate a small American flag. Still some may accept a Stone, granite or marble statue to accent the headstone.

In closing, make sure to do your homework and don't rush to get a cemetery headstone in place just for the sake of marking the grave. You can take your time and educate yourself so when it comes time to shopping around you will have a good chance at getting the best value for your purchase.


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