Preparing for the loss of a loved one is a task few of us even want to think about, much less prepare for. For many of us, navigating what you must do once a loved one passes or what you can do now so that your family is not left scrambling is heartbreaking. During this time of grief or preparation, we would like to help in any way we can.
Before shopping for or purchasing a headstone, you should know a few things that will make this difficult time as easy as possible. Here at Legacy Headstones, we hope that, by sharing our knowledge, our customers will be well informed and avoid making an investment or decision they may regret—which is the last thing we or anyone needs when making a permanent decision on a memorial.
Some families attempt to purchase a headstone immediately following a funeral, and most families do not have the right frame of mind to make that decision. Therefore, we caution our clients to wait at least three to six months before purchasing a headstone for a grave. Everyone experiences the grieving process differently, but it is best not to rush when choosing a memorial monument, as these are precious markers to remember your loved one. Choosing the headstone and words that will be carved upon it should be done thoughtfully and carefully when you and your family are as ready to do so as possible.
Figuring Out Where to Start
Do you know where your loved one will be buried? Have you picked out and purchased a plot for yourself somewhere? To begin your journey toward finding the fitting headstone, we encourage you to visit the graveyard you or a loved one may be buried within. Though it seems a strange idea at first, by visiting, you can see the various shapes, colors, and designs of other headstones and begin to decipher what you or your loved one would like.
If you feel comfortable, respectfully take photos of the headstone shapes that speak to you, looking at the colors, fonts, etching, or carvings that you like. Having many examples to show the headstone maker you eventually work with is an immense help to your monument creator.
Collecting a few examples of what you do not like is also important, as you will be able to give a clear and precise measure of what to avoid when it comes to your memorial monument.
What You Need From The Cemetery
Once you outline what you like and don't like and have a rough idea for a headstone, you'll need critical information from the cemetery before researching for a reputable monument maker.
Whether you have purchased a plot or not, these essential items of information should be known and on hand:
- A printed or written copy of the cemetery's rules and regulations. If you have purchased a plot already, you can freely request a copy at any time for your records as, by law, a cemetery must provide you with this when you ask for it.
- Know whether the grave plot you have purchased or are about to purchase is a single, companion, baby, or cremation plot. Know which section the plot is in to help determine the required size allowance for a marker.
- Ask the cemetery if there are restrictions on granite or bronze colors, if photos are allowed on the memorial and if the marker will need a particular type of edge.
- Check and make sure you know about any setting fees.
- Collect any paperwork that may need to be filled out before you choose and have a memorial monument purchased and delivered.
When Ready: Research
You've got a head start in research as you're now doing it by reading this. We encourage you to read many articles, blogs, and more that will make you feel more knowledgeable and comfortable with the process.
Next, if you know or have friends and family that may have gone through this process before, and if you think they are up to it, reach out to them for their thoughts and opinions on the process. As you look at online or local monument dealers, ask these essential questions about each store:
- How many years has the monument dealer been in business? What's their experience?
- Does the monument dealer display their headstones online? Reputable headstone creators will show their inventory online so that you can see their quality of work.
Reputable dealers will also ask you questions to help create a memorial monument ideal for a loved one. It's a good idea to be prepared to answer these questions, such as:
- What was the person like in life? The more information you can give to your memorial dealer, the better they can paint a picture of them in their head as to what your loved one might have wanted in a headstone.
- What is the sizing requirement for the headstone as specified by the cemetery?
- What color will it be?
- What shape will it be?
- What will text and or artwork be on the headstone?
- What is your budget?
At Legacy, helping our customers understand the process of purchasing memorial monuments is an important part of what we do. We are here to help you make an informed decision and leave you with a monument that will best represent your loved ones. Should you be reading this guide due to the loss of someone loved, we wish to express our deepest condolences and empathy. As a team of monument creators working in the business for generations, we have worked with many grieving families and know how difficult this time is. Should you need any help, we're here to answer any questions you may have.