It’s been 10 years since his grandfather passed away. But before the old man bit the big one, he named Charles’ little boy – Jason.
Now Jason is all grown and eager to pay his respect to the man that gave him such a beautiful name. So, Charles and mini Charles set out to Papa’s grave.
Unfortunately, on getting to the old man’s cemetery, here’s what they found.
Grandpa’s cemetery headstone in shambles. What a wreck! 'What happened here? The little boy asked. Charles reluctantly replied, “I wish I knew.”
"Some low lives must have come to vandalize this place.”
Indeed, that may have been the case. But you know what else could cause cemetery headstones to collapse so remarkably? When you don’t buy a headstone of good quality in the first place.
Like your clothes, sunglasses, car, and other life luxuries, your cemetery headstones are just as good as the quality you purchase.
If you invest poorly because you're trying to cut burial costs, it’s only a matter of time before you experience something similar to Charles’ story.
Your best bet to a lasting preservation of your loved one's memory is a proper, well-guided headstone purchase. And to help with that, we’ve created this wonderful piece. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about buying a gravestone.
Here’s a little bonus for you:
We know this is not within the scope of the article today, but it's come to our notice that people make wrong decisions about casket purchasing just as they do with headstones. So to ensure you give that special someone a befitting all-round funeral service, we suggest getting your caskets from Trusted Casket. They are partners with several large manufacturers. As such, they always provide their customers with the most affordable price, and you can save thousands of dollars on funeral costs.
What is a gravestone?
Who remembers Silas' tombstone from that morbid show, Vampire Diaries? Well, that's a real-time description of what a tombstone looks like. Mind you; some people prefer to call them gravestones, headstones, memorial stones, or what have you. They all mean the same thing.
And they represent those large, flat, inscribed stones erected over graves at cemeteries.
Sounds familiar? I bet you can relate.
Ok, now that you know what gravestones represent. Let's talk about why you MUST get one for your loved one's funeral service.
Gravestones are an integral part of the funeral procedure
Most people lay their loved ones to rest without planting a headstone over their cemetery grave. That’s not really a good way to bid someone special goodbye.
That’s to tell you buying a headstone is an integral part of the process. But in case you need further convincing, here’s why you need to buy a headstone for your loved one’s funeral.
Grave marking identification: Finding your grandma’s grave in a cemetery or a graveyard is like searching for a needle in a haystack. But with a perfectly carved headstone hanging over her grave, you can quickly identify which is hers.
- Lasting remembrance: A headstone is the lasting marker of remembrance after a person dies.
- Symbolization: Did your loved one utter some last words before passing on? Did they have some dying wishes? Did they embody some concepts, beliefs, or notions in their lifetime? A headstone is a way to carve their words/beliefs in stones.
- A symbol of affluence: Since cemetery headstones cost money, they are sometimes viewed as a symbol of wealth in most communities.
- Memory preservation: Gravestones are a way to ensure that someone is remembered for generations to come
- Set a tone of peace: Headstones can help create an atmosphere of peace, love, and joy around the grave of a loved one.
- A representation of personality: Say your dad is an affluent person in the society while alive; you may want his grave to reflect this, too. A good way to ensure that is to plant a bronze memorial headstone over his head instead of the regular granite headstone like everyone else.
How to buy a gravestone: 8 Tips about Headstones You Need to Know
With all we’ve said, I believe you’re now convinced you need to buy a headstone as part of your loved one’s funeral procedure.
So, how do you go about it?
1) Obtain the cemetery rules and regulations
Firstly, you need to know all about the cemetery’s rules and regulations regarding gravestones. Some cemeteries may accept bronze memorial headstones with granite bases, while some may insist on an all-bronze setting. The cemetery's rulebook will also help you understand the max and min headstone size so you can know what to go for.
Furthermore, the cemetery will also tell you whether or not they allow emblems and engravings. If they do, they will tell you what type of engraving it has to be. For example, some cemeteries may insist on cross-type engraving only.
Also, will they allow you to add photographs to your bronze memorials or not?
Finally, you need to ask for information regarding the legal documentation. Usually, most cemeteries will require you to fill paperwork such as marker authorization forms, setting forms, photo release forms, etc.
2) Choosing your headstone type
Flat Marker: Grave markers can be flat – i.e., at grass-level and flush with the ground. People choose this option because it’s the cheapest to make, as it doesn’t require any elaborate design or expenses. It also makes for larger headstone designs, as you have a ton of space on the ground to use. Finally, it’s also easier to add accessories like flower vases to flat headstones.
Upright headstone: Upright headstones are the most common designs we see nowadays. They are the most common designs specified by cemeteries’ rules. Additionally, upright headstones also give room for inscriptions on two sides (back and front).
Slant headstones: families choose this to represent historically-strong persons. If the deceased is a very strong person, you can choose a slant headstone as it allows you to make thicker and shorter grave markers.
Bevel markers: a lot like slant markers, but they're more pronounced and easy to spot in the cemetery. They're slightly raised above the other tombstones around. Makes sense if you want your loved one's memorial to stand out from the crowd.
Ledger Marker: These grave markers are designed to cover the entire plot. Usually, people opt for ledger markers to create a distinctive impression and engrave unforgettable memories. You won’t find many cemetery headstones like yours if you go with a ledger marker.
3) Choosing the headstone material
Granite: Granite is the most popular headstone design material. And the reason isn’t hard to guess. It is an excellently durable material. With it, a headstone can live for hundreds of years.
Aesthetics-wise, it is also a great option as it can be polished into as many colors as you can imagine.
Marble: Was a great choice in the 90s, but not anymore. This is mainly because of its moisture-unfriendliness. Over time, rain and snow tend to gradually erode details from the stone, blurring any details you may have carved in.
However, in terms of polishing, marble is still the best option.
Bronze: Bronze can be regarded as the iPhone of the pack. It’s often the most expensive option. But people love it because of the elegance and sophistication it gives to headstone detailing. Like granite, it is also durable against harsh weather conditions.
Concrete/cement: This is the best material to use if you’re planning to be ingenious with your cemetery headstone. It makes for easy shaping and molding, thus allowing you to mold your grave marker into just about any form. The only downside is that it requires lots of regular cleaning.
Iron: Back in the Victorian era, lots of families opted for iron headstones. And even today, they’re still a reasonable option. However, if you want to beat rust, your best bet would be cast iron.
Other popular options include sandstone, fieldstone, and limestone. Don’t forget to check the cemetery rules to know what kind of material to choose.
4) Budget consideration
With the cemetery rules and regulations in mind, you now know what you need to shop for.
But to proceed, you need to consider your purse. Usually, it's advisable to first check with every grave marker outlets one can find.
Search online: You can begin with an online search, checking out sites that sell gravestones on the internet. When researching, be sure to look out for important details like site reputation, contact address, and product warranty.
Speak with your funeral service provider: most funeral service providers like Trusted Casket are able to connect you with reputable, budget-friendly grave marker makers. Having handled so many funeral proceedings in the past, they might be able to offer you an insight.
Speak with your local cemetery: local cemeteries have the names of grave marker makers they can link you up with. Remember, you’re not the first to lay their loved one to rest there.
5) Decide on the engravings
Engravings refer to the markings, carvings, and inscriptions you have on the headstones. At the most basic level, you may have just the deceased name, as well as the date of their passing.
However, some people go a little over the top with other important engravings. The choice is really up to you. But you must bear in mind that engravings can cause your headstone cost to run from, say, $500 to as high as $2,000.
Mind you, they all fade with time – even those marked on granites.
So, ask yourself, do you really want to spend thousands of dollars on something that will erode after a few years? Don’t think so!
But if you’re that RICH, why not?
6) Making custom headstone designs
In some families, it is a tradition to keep their dead loved ones close to one another.
For example, in a cemetery in New Orleans, a granite grave plaque sits on top of every headstone erected in the cemetery. It is said that the cemetery is a family plot and that it only houses the dead from specific families.
In that scenario, the families could customize their gravestones the way they see fit because they own the plots.
If you'd like to have a specific design for your loved one's gravestone, but which the cemetery doesn't allow, you may have to look elsewhere or speak with the authorities in charge if you can get special privileges.
7) Accessorizing your headstone
It is true cemeteries don’t allow plant/flower growth in the ground because of space maintenance. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t beautify your loved one’s resting place.
For starters, you could light up the area with exciting pieces like flower vases, flowerpots, flag holders, ceramic pictures, or memorial lighting.
8) Pricing: How much do headstones cost?
Based on all we've said so far, it's clear your headstone cost will depend on several factors, including cemetery location, size of marker, material type, and the extent of customization.
But if you want a speculative range, I’d say,
Basic Upright Gravestones can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $4,000
Premium Upright Gravestones can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000
Basic Flat Markers can cost anywhere between $500 and $2,500
Premium Flat Markers can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000
So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about gravestones.
Bear in mind that the final resting place of a person is the only place you can visit them and relive your best memories of them. Therefore, do your utmost to make this place look its best.
May the spirits be with you!
Blog Author: Tim