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Tips for Buying a Cemetery Headstone or Memorial

Tips for Buying a Cemetery Headstone or Memorial

Selecting a cemetery headstone or marker is a profoundly personal decision that represents a lasting tribute to a loved one. Whether it's an elegantly engraved stone or a uniquely designed marker, the choice carries a weight of significance. How you buy your tribute is also important. In recent years, savvy consumers are increasingly comfortable expanding their headstone shopping from only local cemeteries and monument dealers to include reputable online retailers.

It may seem strange to shop for funeral products online. Still, it was just a short time ago that buying anything other than books and compact discs online was unheard of. These days, consumers shop online confidently for clothes, groceries, consumer electronics, furniture, and even cars and houses. The digital age has brought significant shifts in how we make purchases, including even such sensitive items as headstones. While local monument retailers have been the traditional go-to, buying headstones online presents several advantages.

Online retailers like Signature Headstones offer a much broader range of styles, materials, and customization options than a local retailer can manage. This helps ensure shoppers find a fitting tribute for their loved one or themselves if they are preplanning- their own funeral. Shopping online also reduces the emotional stress associated with funeral products. Shoppers can browse options, customize, and make decisions from the comfort of their homes without the pressure of traveling to a physical store or enduring high-pressure sales tactics.

Online retailers are also more apt to have transparent pricing, facilitating easier comparison shopping. Due to overhead costs, local retailers often charge more for the same product. The transparency in online pricing ensures buyers can budget accurately and find options within their means.

In addition to more comprehensive selections and the ability to comparison shop, online shoppers can benefit from other shoppers' experiences. Most reputable online retailers have extensive customer reviews that offer a glimpse into how they operate and whether they can be trusted. Online reviews can offer insights into product quality, delivery times, and customer service, assisting in making an informed decision.

Some online retailers like Signature Headstones offer virtual product configurators that empower buyers to create and visualize the final product. This interactive feature allows for real-time design tweaks, ensuring the headstone aligns perfectly with the buyer's vision.

Selecting a cemetery headstone or marker transcends a mere purchase; it's a testament to memories, love, and respect. Shopping online for headstones and grave markers can streamline decision-making by conveniently comparing multiple options, assessing customer reviews, and gauging price points from home, which can simplify a thoughtful decision-making process.

Buying Tips

Preplan: Relieve your survivors the emotional stress of planning your funeral by preplanning your arrangements yourself. Preplanning ensures your wishes are respected and reduces the emotional and financial strain on grieving loved ones. Headstones can be purchased at any time. Our sister site, Overnight Caskets, offers an preplanning package.

Set a Budget: Setting a clear budget can guide your choices. Apart from the initial cost, factor in potential expenses like installation. Signature Headstone also offers easy financing to eliminate the cash outlay associated with funeral expenses.

Consider the Maintenance: Your chosen memorial, irrespective of material, will require care. Regular cleaning, using non-abrasive materials, can prevent grime buildup. Avoiding harsh chemicals ensures the material's integrity is maintained. Periodic professional cleanings can help retain the monument's original beauty.

What info do I need from the cemetery? Chances are you know the cemetery where the monument will be placed. Whether you're preplanning or purchasing at the time of need, you should call the cemetery to understand all their relevant requirements, guidelines, and installation process. Inquire about the monument size, materials, and style your cemetery allows. Refer to our cemetery checklist.

What types of gravestones are allowed? Companion and upright headstones are monuments that indicate the name, birth, and death records of the deceased. Grave markers are either flat, beveled, or slanted. Grave ledgers are used to cover the entire burial site. Your cemetery may restrict the use of some markers based on space.

Which headstone sizes are allowed? Standard sizes for single graves are usually 24 by 12, 28 by 16, or 18 by 24 inches. Standard sizes for companion graves are generally 36 by 18 inches or 44 by 14 inches. Make sure the size of your headstone is within the range that your cemetery allows. What types of materials are permitted? Bronze and granite are the most common materials used to make headstones. Both materials are easy to maintain and will last for centuries.

What granite colors are allowed? Though uncommon, some cemeteries place restrictions on the granite color you can use for a headstone or the base of a bronze grave marker. Some standard colors allowed include black, gray, pink, and red. Still, you should confirm with your funeral provider before deciding to purchase.

Are flower vases allowed? Some headstones come with bronze or granite flower vases. Still, it would help if you always double-checked with your cemetery before making a final decision.

Are photo memorials allowed? Many people choose to add porcelain photographs of their loved ones. Still, your cemetery may not permit using porcelain or other breakable materials due to safety concerns or the risk of damage from groundskeeping. These restrictions make the cemetery safe for everyone who comes to visit.

How long does it take? How long your memorial takes depends on the design, engraving, type, and any other headstone customizations you add. As a starting point, a flat grass marker takes around a month to put together. An upright headstone will take around three months because it's larger and has more moving parts. Remember that these are estimates for the most basic headstone; any extra design changes will take longer.

Should I add a photo? Adding a photo is up to you, as long as the cemetery allows it. Some only allow black and white as opposed to full color. Photos are a nice touch and create a good visual for visitors.

Can I add to an already existing headstone? Yes, you can! There are lots of occasions where adding to an existing monument makes sense. For example, if two people share a headstone, but they passed away at different times. Or maybe you want to add to the design after it's been made. Most companies will require that the headstone be cleaned before engraving it again.

How long do I have to purchase a headstone? Cemeteries don't give a time limit for when you need to have a headstone put in. But you do have a waiting period of four to eight months where the ground needs to settle. You have at least five months to collaborate with your monument builder and create the best design for your loved one.

Some religions have rules for how and when headstones can be set, as well as specific ceremonies that go along with them.

What documents do I need? It can be hard to think about paperwork when you're grieving. But to get your headstone created as quickly as possible, it's best to get your paperwork ready before you go to your monument dealer. You'll need:

  • Concrete border release forms
  • Setting forms
  • Photo release forms
  • Marker authorization forms

Does it come with a warranty? This is one of the most vital questions you should ask. Companies should always have a warranty (written) that is given to you when you purchase your headstone. Signature Headstones has a 500-year warranty. 

Clearly, there's a lot to think about when you're buying a headstone in Littleton. And they aren't all intuitive questions to ask! We advise asking these questions sooner rather than later to save yourself the headache and heartache. It's vital to have everything squared away as quickly as possible so things can be taken care of before too much pressure, stress, or grief is involved.

Signature Headstones strives to deliver the highest-quality customer service and funeral products at fair prices. Please do not hesitate to contact us for personalized guidance, questions, or feedback. Our funeral experts are here to help!

>>> Download our free Headstone Buyer's Guide e-book