Death is rarely pleasant or beautiful, but that does not mean a headstone can not reflect those values. Memorial monuments for loved ones should be as magnificent as the soul that it will be representing, not a grim reminder of what death is. This means that choosing a headstone can be a pressure filled task for the individual in charge of making this important decision. Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you are the person in charge of seeing out this crucial headstone.
Not to worry, take a deep breath and realize that we have your back covered. Below, we’ve put together five helpful tips that can assist you in creating the perfect monument to represent your family member, spouse, or dear friend. Don’t add stress to your already dire situation, instead, read the tips below to get you started in accomplishing this urgent task so you can have time to properly mourn the individual who is no longer with us.
Tip #1 – Decide on the material you want to use as the marker
Headstones can be made of sandstone, slate, marble, granite, fieldstone, bronze, and limestone to name a few. Out of all of the many options available, bronze and granite tend to be the more popular choices used. These stones are easy to maintain, durable, can withstand extreme elements, and of course, give the grave a beautiful, clean look.
Granite is available in red, pink, white, grey, blue, black, and green, making it arguably the number one option for most consumers due to its customizable nature (prices vary between colors). Be mindful of using sandstone or slate gravestones since they tend to fade over time as acid rains gradually weathers it down. Everyone has a different opinion on what memorial monuments should look like, so find the option that suits your preferred style best.
Tip #2 – Don’t make the headstone dull
Avoid using ‘In loving memory of’; this phrase has been used on gravestones far too often over time and no longer has the same impact it once had. Instead, try inscribing something like ‘remembered with love’ or do something unique like place a picture of the individual on the headstone to help it stand out more and give it a special appeal.
Another thing that should be avoided is the clutter of words on the headstone. Don’t use bullet points or a list of attributes, instead, sum up key points about the individual in a few sentences. When it comes to dates, write them in numbers or only list them as years. Writing the entire month out can clog up space on the gravestone and limit the length of the message you really want to portray. An epitaph with an inspirational quote or quote from a poem is a great way to leave a lasting impact on anyone who reads it, not just relatives and close friends. Spend some time looking into what you want your message to be, it is arguably more important than the image of the headstone itself.
Tip #3 – Pick a shape for the gravestone that makes it stand out
Traditional rectangular tombstones are not terrible, but they are a bit unoriginal and boring. Remember, you want this tombstone to represent the image of the person it represents, so don’t be afraid to be creative. Headstones are mostly available in eight different shapes: capped stone, stele, plaque, tablet, nameplate, pedestal with surmount, block, and sculptured cross.
If these options don’t interest you and you are looking for something more simple, try a slate, flat, or bevel grave marker instead. Straight to the point and easy to maintain, these options can often be less expensive than a traditional headstone. If you are looking for something more bold that truly stands out, consider placing a monument on the grave site as the marker. Little things like this can drive up the cost of the headstone, so be sure to weigh out all of your options before coming to a conclusion.
Tip #4 – Check the rules of the cemetery
Before you purchase a headstone, make sure you are well informed of the rules and regulations of the cemetery. Each cemetery tends to have their own preferences of uniformity or lack thereof when it comes to headstones, and are within their right to refuse the delivery of your marker.
Find out whether the grave slot you are trying to mark is a single, couples, cremation or baby plot. Does the cemetery require you to put a cross on the gravestone, or not? These are all important things to consider that will give you a peace of mind down the road.
Tip #5 – Stay within your budget
You may need to sacrifice some details you want or the type of material you will end up using on the headstone, the cost of business for dealing with cemeteries can be quite unreasonable. Don’t put yourself into debt just to give the deceased the exact tombstone you prefer, they wouldn’t want that type of burden on you. Of course, a beautiful tomb is important, but at the end of the day, what is most important is that you cherish the memory of the deceased after they have passed away. Be as reasonable and sensible as possible when it comes to expenses.
If finances become too much to bear, consider asking for donations or support from family and friends. Some people consider cremation as an option to save money, it all comes down to personal preference and how you want the individual to be presented.
I know there is a lot of things to consider in this article, but if you follow these tips, chances are the perfect headstone and grave spot will be chosen in no time. If you feel like this is too much information to handle, be sure to ask for assistance from the location where the deceased will be placed. Chances are, they can help.
Do your best to place a memorial monument that will reflect the core values of the deceased individual, that is the most that anyone can ask for. Whether it be future generations or passerbys at the grave site, help your loved one leave an everlasting impact on our society even after they have moved on.