Shopping for a grave marker can be overwhelming, especially if you are making your purchase during a difficult time. But it can also be extremely rewarding since the marker you select will be a lasting memorial to you or your loved one.
The wide range of variety in style, color, and materials can make the process seem complicated. Having many choices is actually a good thing though, since it allows you to create a memorial that truly reflects the personality of the deceased and expresses the impact he or she made on the lives of those who knew and cared about them.
To help guide you through the selection process and make designing a grave marker easier, there are several steps you can follow.
- Determine the requirements of the cemetery.
Each cemetery has its own rules and regulations that govern the size, material and types of head stones that are permitted on their grounds. For example, there may be limitations on the height of the monument or the amount of text that can be included on the stone. Most reputable grave marker companies will contact your cemetery for you to make sure that what you have selected meets with their requirements. But it is always a good idea to check directly with the cemetery you plan to use before you begin shopping. You don’t want to take a chance that the grave marker you select is refused when it is delivered. Your cemetery may also require that you complete a set of forms prior to accepting your grave marker.
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- Set a budget.
The price for grave markers can vary widely. Decide about how much you would like to spend before you begin to shop. This will help you narrow down your choices since you can focus on options that fall within your target price range. In addition to the cost of the grave marker, you may be required to pay a fee for installation, taxes, or delivery charges. Educating yourself on exactly what is included in the price can help you make sure that you are working within your resources.
- Choose the material for the marker.
Grave markers are available in a variety of materials. The most common choices are granite and bronze. Both of these materials are durable, easy to maintain, and reasonably priced. Your cemetery may require that you use one of these materials so you need to check before you begin shopping.
- Choose the style of marker.
Choosing a style for your marker may be as simple as selecting the option your cemetery requires or as complicated as weeding through dozens of shapes and sizes. Here’s where your budget can help. Keep your shopping to those grave markers that fall within the price range you have in mind.
As you get to this stage of the process it’s a good time to start thinking about what the person you are selecting the stone for would like. Were they a flashy person or did they have more simple tastes? Is there something special that you want to be on the stone, like a quote or a saying? If so, you’ll need to think about how much room you need. Do you want the stone to be for two? The answers to these questions will help guide your choice.
- Personalize your marker.
Now that you have decided on the type of marker you would like to purchase, you can begin to design what will be on the stone or plaque. You might want to include a quotation, a photo, or an illustration. The specifics of what you choose will depend on how large your monument is and what it is made of, what your budget is, and what the requirements of the cemetery are.
For more information on designing your grave marker click here.
- Purchasing your grave marker.
In the past the only real option for purchasing a grave marker was to work with a local funeral home, cemetery, or monument company. This is still a popular way to buy. The key advantage to using these firms is that you can be sure they are aware of any special considerations that your cemetery may have. They can provide you with a good range of choices and you will be able to speak with a customer service person face-to-face.
Today’s shoppers also have access to the Internet which opens up a whole new way to buy grave markers. Online shopping for grave markers allows you to browse your options in the comfort of your own home at your convenience. By comparing options and prices online you may also be able to save money.
When shopping for a grave marker online you need to follow the same safety guidelines you would for any purchase. You should check the credibility of the seller and look for red flags such as a lack of contact information on their website.
To learn more about buying a grave marker online, click here.
The last, and most important, thing is to take a deep breath and try to take it one step at a time. Since grave markers are installed after the funeral there is no need to rush.